Round of More Edits, 80 Days

I’m back on the editing train via Round 4 of ROW80! I’ve decided I like balance in my writing and reading activities. So I’ve honed my goals accordingly. I’m primarily a writer, and my WIP, after many moons of battiness, is finally starting to look respectable. (The key word here is “starting.”) So amping the editing sounds reasonable to me. And of course, every writer is a reader, and I love to read both fiction and nonfiction. Sometimes I read one to the exclusion of another. So I’ll be striking a balance in my reading material.

My goals from October 3 – October 31, and from December 1 – December 22:

1. two hours of editing five times per week

2. one hour of nonfiction reading (internet surfing doesn’t count) five times per week

3. one hour of fiction reading five times per week

4. two French lessons five times per week

My goal for November: at least 50000 words for NaNoWriMo!

Now it’s time to shoo the bats* out of my WIP:

*Disclaimer: No bats will be stressed during the duration of this challenge. I may even leave a few bats in my manuscript- for balance. Aren’t they adorable?


10-05  After spending the last 2 days getting to and from 2 dentist appointments, I need to catch-up on my editing and French. But at least I have another (temporary) crown. I get my permanent crown on Halloween. I’m feeling quite royal. Other than that, I’m ahead in the fiction /non-fiction reading balance, reading Stephen King’s “Full Dark, No Stars,” and James Scott Bell’s “The Art of War for Writers.” I should be completely up to speed for my weekly goals by the next check-in.

10-09  I’m up to speed with my editing and French. Editing- I’m fixing odd punctuation and syntax which popped up after using “find / replace” for a number of words. French- I’m doing fairly well with vocabulary. Still planning about audio supplementation. Ahead on my Full Dark book, King has a way of tapping into gut emotion. Steady on my War for Writers book, I find the interaction particularly useful.

10-12  Allergy season is in full swing. Thus, my allergies are in full swing. The good news is my symptoms this fall aren’t as bad as my symptoms last fall. So far. So maybe the shots are working. But it’s still a struggle, and Zyrtec makes me foggy and exhausted. Ha. Just like my allergies. I always breathe a sigh of relief with the first hard frost. Playing a bit of catch-up, but plowing forward. I expanded my “search and replace” mission in my WIP. Took a break from my War for Writers book to read non-fiction by K.M. Weiland. I’m in my last story in my Full Dark book. And French is foggy. I blame my allergies. Seems convenient enough. Nighty-night.

10-16  I’ve had a rough last few days with my endo, and my hubby has a bad cold. I expect I’ll have his symptoms in a day or so. I’ve been struggling with French, as it’s hard to concentrate with the pain. I might have even skipped a couple days, I don’t remember. My dry-erase board says I skipped, so I’ll go with that. But I’m actually ahead on editing- my character’s voices are now clearly distinct. And I’m ahead on fiction reading- I finished Stephen King’s “Full Dark, No Stars.” I think I’m holding steady with my agent research; I forgot to keep track my of agency book reading time this weekend. Overall, a rough first 2 weeks of Round 4, but I’m still more or less on track.

10-19  Predictably, I caught the cold my hubby brought home from the airport. The last 2 days have been very Sneezy, Sleepy and Dopey. Snotty and Achy even. No Doc. But I’m still managing to flail away at my goals, somewhat. I finally figured out I need to re-number my chapters. This will help me flesh out some skeletal scenes later. Reading “NaNo for the New and Insane” by Lazette Gifford, in preparation for next month’s NaNo (I’m “insane,” as this will be my second NaNo). Trying to read “Crimes in Southern Indiana” by Frank Bill. Not my usual genre. Will try again. Other than that, I’m reading some flash fiction on the Flash Fiction Friday website. I discovered “Coffee Break French” in the iTunes store and am doing 2 of those lessons per day, instead of my usual Rosetta, for a chance of pace. I’m still about a day behind in my goals, but I think I’ll feel better tomorrow.

10-23  I spent the weekend carving Jack-o-lanterns and visiting my in-laws to celebrate my MIL’s B-Day early (it’s on Halloween). But I’m still slowly catching up with my goals. I did another search / replace for more words in my WIP. Still reading the NaNo guide, good stuff. I feel confident in my rough NaNo outline, even though I haven’t actually typed it out yet. (Note to self- actually type out rough NaNo outline.) I decided to plow ahead with my violent Crimes book. The writing style is a bit jarring, but I know that’s to fit the subject. Loads of violence- that’s the genre. Lots of guns and blood. Did I mention how violent it is? Coffee Break French is getting more complicated, but I’m taking notes on all the lessons.

10-26  The week before Halloween is always busy for me. I have several Halloween-themed projects, including cooking and party planning. Not to mention the Jack-o-lantern carvings and pumpkin pulp frapping. So while I’m treading water, I still have a slight schedule backlog. But my regular ROW80 goals will be put on hold during NaNo, and I’ll be using the first week of NaNo to eliminate the backlog, as well as write 1667 NaNo words per day. So . . I’m still picking through my WIP, and finding picky words. But I promise I’m not being overly picky. I’m alternating between my NaNo guide and my literary agents book. I hope to finish reading my Crime book before Halloween. French continues to increase in perplexing complexity. The feminine and masculine word forms are wacky. (But what did I expect?) With one week until NaNo, I’m happy with my ROW80 progress, and confident I’ll complete my goals.

10-30  Holding steady on my fiction and non-fiction reading balance, and I even made a sizeable dent in my editing. I’m giving Coffee Break French a break, and picking up Rosetta French again. I’m also thinking about spending some time on Google translator to decipher my . . “French” notes. Tomorrow, after my crowning, I’ll dive back into my War for Writers book. I’ll also start reading “Light on Snow,” by Anita Shreve (a MIL book). We’ll see how that goes. Oh yeah, tomorrow’s Halloween. I’ll be “Somebody with Another Crown,” and that “character” will be permanently integrated into my persona . . at least until the Singularity. Happy Halloween . .

11-2  On the second day of NaNo I check-in with 3729 words so far! Hooray!

11-6  I have 10917 words to date. A nice start to my story. But things are about to get really creepy (in mood, not speed).

11-9  Very pleased with the unfolding of my story so far! Having an outline absolutely helps. 15,970 words and counting.

11-13  My protag is cracking under the pressure, and my antag is moving in for the win. Ramped it up with 23,702 words.

11-16  I wrote a “protag breaks down” scene, and for the first time, I actually felt a twinge of distress for one of my protags. Quickly followed by obligatory glee. 29,932 words, baby!

11-20  My protag and antag are about to marry- each other. (My protag’s mind is cracking.) 37,996 words written before the nuptials.

11-23  Going easier on the word count for the week of Thanksgiving, but still writing every day. 41,185 words of domestic despair. Oh yeah- Happy Thanksgiving!

11-27  In the home stretch, and my protag is about to see a faint, flickering light at the end of his long, dark tunnel. Or what he perceives as light. HARDY-HAR-HAR! 47,224 words of marital mind-mashing.

11-30  50,495 words for another NaNo win, baby!

12-04  I’m back in the regular grind of ROW80. During NaNo, I managed to play a bit of catch-up with my regular goals. By the end of this month, my WIP will be ready for its beta-read début. In the meantime, I’m reading Carolyn Kaufman’s “The Writer’s Guide to Psychology.” A good reference for non-professionals who nevertheless think they know it all. Also reading Anne Brontë’s “Agnes Grey.” And I thought my babysitting charges were demons. Holy crap. Picking up where I left off in Coffee Break French. I might have to actually teleport myself to France. Will decide later.

12-07  Steadily editing, and loving the process again. NaNo was a good break. Still reading my psychology book and the book about governing hellions. Though I’m starting to pick out the obviously fictional parts, I do sympathize with Grey / Brontë. Ah, the memories . . Doing numbers onze to mille in Coffee Break French, and after a happenstance “onze mille” googling, wondering if  l’enseignant is a Guillaume Apollinaire fan.

12-11  I might finally be done with my word-substitution in my WIP (again). Still need to flesh out some descriptions, though. I finished “Agnes Grey.” I highly recommend this story to anybody who’s ever taught or babysat children, especially demon seed children. Toward the end, Brontë departs entirely from what happened in her actual life and writes a fairytale ending. I don’t blame her, but I would’ve found a continuation of the realism more satisfying. Next I’ll tap into my ebook fiction backlog. Plowing through my psychology book- lots of “what real therapists / patients do” examples. Taking a break from Coffee Break French and diving back into my Rosetta French. I like to mix it up.

12-14  Fleshing out some previously sparse scenes in my WIP. I expect it to be finished by next month, and ready to be shredded again constructively criticized by my first beta reader. Reading some great, thought-provoking fiction by C. S. McClellan. Also reading some great non-fiction by my favorite Senator from Minnesota, Stuart Smalley Al Franken. French is at an ebb. Still pounding away at the lessons, though. The pounding just hasn’t reached my brain yet.

12-18  I’m looking over some character questionnaires I filled out a while back and finding some fortunate revelations. My WIP will benefit- now I just have to weave the benefits into my novel. I finished reading McClellan’s story. I was disturbed by it, from start to finish. Actually felt a bit queasy. 5 stars, and looking forward to reading more of McClellan’s stories. Enjoying Franken, though some parts of the book are confoundingly political. But then again, it’s supposed to be *political* satire. French pronunciation is coming easier- I’m not tripping over the words as much as I used too. There’s hope for me yet!

12-22  I’ll be doing my final ROW80 edits, readings, and French lessons tonight, and am happy to report MY ROW80 GOALS = MET! My writing goals for the new year are still in the “simmer and stew” stage. In the next couple months I will be re-evaluating my goals as a career writer, getting feedback on my WIP, and moving onto the next stage (not sure what that will be yet) in my development as a writer. ROW80 was a great learning experience and I am grateful and honored to have been a part of it. Thank you to everyone who encouraged me this past year, I really appreciated every comment. I did my best to visit and reciprocate with comments on other participants’ blogs- sometimes my comments showed up, sometimes they didn’t. Apparently my comments are delicious to SPAM filters. (Check your SPAM filters.) Best of luck to those who will be continuing ROW80 in 2012. Happy New Year and happy writing!


Round of 3 Rs…80 Days

I’m back again for more self-flaggelation structured writing progress via ROW80.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned from editing my WIP is I have so much more to learn about editing. Going in, I kinda thought I kinda knew how to edit, but . . no. Yes, my WIP is much better than it was as a first draft, but after several edits, there’s still a lot that needs correcting. So I am relieved I have the time and patience to not rush into querying or publishing. With luck, by the end of this round, my WIP will be ready to send out to a beta reader, an editor, a critiquer, or whomever.

For Round 3, in a chunk-measure-blog format, I will be . .

1. Reviewing (readin’)

Painstakingly and critically reading (again) my WIP, and

2. Revising (‘ritin’)

slashing and burning and rebuilding from the charred wreckage making adjustments as necessary, and

3. Researching (‘rithmatic)

researching potential agent / agency / publishing options.

I’ll combine goals 1 and 2 for one hour of editing 6 times per week. For goal 3, I’ll do 1/2 hour of research per week.

You want more? I’ve got more!

1. My email inbox is overflowing, and it’s been overflowing for a loooong time. Each day, process (delete or read and copy to a permanent file) that day’s email, plus at least the next previous day’s email every day until my inbox is clear.

2. Also gonna ramp up the French even more. 2 French lessons 6 times per week.

3. And find even more time for fiction reading. An average of at least 1/2 hour of fiction reading every day.

Now, after traipsing from Massachusetts to the Wild West and back, it’s time for me to SIT DOWN



First check-in–  I started my Round 3 on July 6, so I’m two days into it. Dove back into editing. I love that I’m still laughing (in appropriate places) as I read my WIP aloud. Still fresh. (But then again, if I think a joke is funny, I will genuinely laugh at it *every* time I hear it. I’ll laugh at it when I hear myself tell it.) The email thing- so far- is easier than I thought it would be. French is back to kicking my derrière, but I’m keeping up with the lessons. And I started reading yet another novel. My MIL is fond of giving me books to read, and I’m fond of reading. So I have many novels I’ve started to read, and as many novels I need to finish reading. Just like the novels I’m writing. Go figure.

Second check-in–  Still playing catch-up and trying to get back into my routine since returning from my Wild West adventure. Managing to keep my head above water. I finished the aloud editing, now I need to make the corrections on my master copy. Yes, I didn’t correct on my master copy as I read aloud- I wrote out the corrections by hand, as I was reading from printed pages. It really does make a difference in what you see. In other news, I’m Frenching* through my email, pounding away at the French, and becoming engrossed in my French-Canadian MIL’s novel (one she let me borrow, not one she wrote herself). And I researched agents / agencies for about an hour.

*Not French kissing. French glove-slapping.

7-13  Kinda caught up now. Making my editing corrections to my master copy is easy when I can read my scrawl. My handwriting looks like that of an intoxicated chicken. Zipping through email, though I’ve started to put a few links into a “read later” folder. Maybe I’m interested in too many things. French is un step back, deux steps forward, or something like that. Almost finished reading one novel, and about to start another MIL-lent novel.

7-17  Steady progress. Discovering I still need to shuffle some scenes as I make corrections to my master copy. I need to figure out how to process my email faster- I’m saving too much to read later. French is a rollercoaster. The highs are the vocabulary lessons and the lows are the pronunciation lessons. I wonder if that’s related to my comprehension of music- I recognize notes, but am tone-deaf when it comes to singing them. Ahead on fiction reading. Current book is a novel written from a dog’s perspective- the third book I’ve read written from a dog’s POV. Dogs- like cats, dolphins, whales, birds, and apes- are people too, right?  And . . I researched agents / agencies for about an hour. I’ve found researching your potential future is easy, oddly enough.

7-20  Rolling along with editing. I’m so glad I’m taking my time with my debut novel. I more I learn about editing, the more I learn I need to learn more. Does that make sense? It’s late. Email- argh. I’m doing it. But still saving way too much for later, which kinda defeats the purposes of clearing my email. I need to take a slash and burn approach. No mercy. Slash and burn progress will be my goal for the next check-in. French- pretty good. I’m not obsessing over the tricky lessons, I’m just moving on. I can alway go back to the hard ones after doing a bunch of easy ones. Fiction reading- read half-way through IMO a trite, clichéd, lackluster book. Not going to finish it. Inner-critiqued the heck out of it. And it’s a best-seller. So I’m either getting good at critiquing or bad at critiquing. Or maybe a lot of people want trite, clichéd, lackluster stories.

7-24  Editing is nightmare, again. I’ve read this WIP so many times, my brain no longer sees it as a lineal story. It’s circular. When I originally wrote it, I didn’t have an outline, and I wrote some scenes out of order. I thought I had fixed that issue, but now I’m reading some passages that seem out of place, and some passages that seem familiar, as if I’ve repeated myself. It’s hard to explain to someone who doesn’t have dyscalculia. “Steep learning curve.” That’s my motto. Anyway, my email elimination is marching along, and so is my French. I started to do my 1/2 hour agent research, and it morphed into a 1/2 hour “things I have to add to my WIP research.” But I gave myself permission. This *is* my debut novel. “Steep learning curve.” Hmm . . did I say that before? Oh yeah- fiction reading is on schedule, thanks to Chuck Wendig’s flash fiction challenges.

7-27  I *think* I’ve worked through the editing nightmare . . for now. Finished making the corrections to my master copy, and now I’m doing a silent read-through to add technological detail (this is a futuristic novel). Email is so very slowly being eliminated, but is on schedule. It’s amazing what you can find in your email from months ago. French is so very slowly being drilled into my brain, but is on track. I might consider a brain implant at some future point. Fiction reading is on target. Anticipating a round of “dysfunctional” flash fiction from Dan O’Shea’s latest challenge.

7-31  Having a great time editing again! I spent the last 2 days of editing developing a Sensory Psychology Character Chart and applying it to my WIP. The chart helps fiction writers develop psychological interactions between their characters via the 5 senses. My chart will debut on Manon Eileen’s blog next month as a guest post. Up to date on the email, though I’m still filing some of it. But my goal is to eliminate emails, not files, right? Surging ahead on French, and absorbing what I can while shrugging my shoulders at what trips me up. I’ve decided I prefer to roll-with-it method to the obsess-over-it method. Read some delightfully and disturbingly dysfunctional flash fiction, thanks to Dan O’Shea’s last challenge. And I started researching a specific literary agent via an instructional book he’s written . . hmm . .

8-3  I’m now working on filling in yet another character survey for each of my main characters. I have already done this with previous worksheets, but I want to go really deep, so I’m using Manon Eileen’s “Main Character Survey.” My own “Sensory Psychology Chart”- which helps uncover and develop sensory-based psychology between characters- debuts on Manon’s blog Friday. Doing great on the email, but I seem to be getting less email per day. I recently signed up for a Gmail account, and opted to have my email forwarded. The glitch was confirmed when an email buddy told me his emails weren’t getting through. In any case, less email to wade through is nice, I guess. As usual with me, French vocabulary is a snap, and French pronunciation is kicking my derrière, especially long sentences where the words seem to run together. Read some Moon-inspired flash fiction in the fantasy genre that completely went over my head. If the story doesn’t “ground” me, I get lost.

8-7  Lately my editing consists of doing Manon Eileen’s Manon Character Surveys and my own Sensory Psychology Charts. My basic story is already written, but these tools are helping me develop much-needed width and depth. I’m up to date on my email, even as I’m transitioning to a new email address. Crashing and burning in French, but I’m still doing the lessons on schedule. When I can pronounce a sentence, I don’t know what I’ve just said. When I know the meaning of a sentence, I struggle with typing it correctly. I guess I can only get better from here. Still reading a particular literary agent’s instructional book. The book has some fiction passages, so I’m also including that in my fiction reading quota for the past few days. It’s been a busy weekend.

8-10  Pounding out the Main Character Surveys. They are in-depth, and so they take awhile, which is a good thing. I can see where and how my WIP will be fuller and richer. Email is A-OK. Still working on the transition, though. I’ve gone back to repeat a few lessons in French, and my scores are slowly improving. I’m also back to reading “The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress.” It’s not an easy read, and it’s definitely stretching my sensibilities, which is a good thing. So all in all, this check-in is good.

8-14  I’ve completed the surveying and the sensory psychoanalizing of my WIP characters, and have moved to reading about ways to strengthen my novel even more, thanks to my book authored by a literary agent. So I’m editing and researching this agent at the same time. Convenient! Still slowly but surely clearing out the email. My latest French lesson was “reading comprehension.” I did very well. I read a bunch of Wendig-inspired flash fiction in which the protagonist gets beaten . . and then beaten again, and then gets a beating as a climax, and then again as a denouement. Perplexing.

8-17  I’m going to a wedding this weekend, so I’ll be off-line and in another state for a few days starting Friday morning. So in the meantime, I’ve been cramming in extra editing sessions, French lessons, and fiction reading time. By the end of tomorrow, I’ll have a good “goals accomplished” padding. Of course the email will have to wait, but blasting through my email has proven easy. My French is taking a gradual upswing. And I read through the first turning-point in Heinlein’s Moon book. I actually care about this book now. It’s such a relief.

8-21  I spent the last few days out of state for a wedding, so I’ve really nothing to report for this check-in. I’ve done nothing but sight-see, shop, eat, drink, party, and dance since last Friday. Still recovering. But the week before I left, I fit in extra editing, French, and fiction. So I’m still basically on top of my goals. Right now I’m trying to catch up on eliminating my accumulated email.

8-22  Back to my routine. Editing is going great- I’m learning even more about how to write a strong novel, and incorporating that info into my WIP. Struggling with French sentence comprehension at the moment, but I don’t mind, because that means I’ll be breezing through something French for the next check-in (French-pressed coffee, most likely). Reading out of my comfort zone- “gun” flash fiction- thanks to Wendig. I even wrote a “gun” story, inspired by the Spector-Clarkson case of a few years ago. Bamming out my email. Finished reading my specific literary agent-written book (served double duty as an editing tool). Next I’ll be researching literary agents in general, and in-depth.

8-28 IRE(of)NE 8-29 ‘Twas an exciting weekend on the east coast of the USA. I mostly kept my desktop computer off and my iPad on. But I do my French lessons on my desktop, and when I was about to do them yesterday, the lights started flickering. So I turned off the desktop computer to save it from potential power spikes. (Happy to report there’s no damage to my abode and FJ. Plus my hub unit gets to stay home today, before leaving on another business trip tomorrow.) So I’m checking in on a Monday, having just now caught up on my French. In other news, I found several mysterious characters questionnaire sheets I had printed several months ago and had misplaced. So now I’m filling those out as “editing,” and gaining even more insight into my characters. (I’m hoping all this insight-gaining will be second-nature be the time I start working on the edits of my second novel.) Doing great in French listening comprehension and French writing, but still not so great in French pronunciation. Still reading the Moon book. Email clearing is steady.

8-31  I’m thinking of even more crazy questions to ask my characters. I’m going deep, deeper than I’ve ever gone before. Whatever I find, I’m gonna grab and pull up and expose to the light of day. My characters will be left gasping and clutching their abdomens. Speaking of abdomen-clutching, I’m churning out the French lessons, and wondering how many répète it takes to get to Épiphanie. Nearing the end of the Moon book. Email is on course. I dove into a literary agent guidebook. Still so much to learn. Lucky for me, I love learning. Hmm, that sounds familiar.

9-4  I’m realizing my WIP, as a futuristic novel, needs futuristic language, thanks to Heinlein’s Moon book. So I’m editing it to subtract and add as required. Lucky for me I know how American English will look and sound in the year 2045. I’m at another plateau in French, which is fine, because after plateaus come peaks, right? Or maybe valleys? Either would be acceptable, as long as I get off this plateau. The Moon book is nearly done. My email is nearly obliterated. I’m pretty pleased with myself, overall.

9-7 “Dude, where’s my internet service?” 9-8  My Verizon internet service crapped out, and I won’t have Comcast service until Friday. So in the meantime, I’m using “free” internet, courtesy an unsecured network. Yes, I know I’m a heathen. But the virtuous among you can take comfort in the fact that the signal is spotty at best, hence the late check-in. Moving on- 1 step backward, 2 steps forward with figuring out my futuristic language edits. My WIP is set in 2045, so the language needs to be tweaked just a little. That’s something I learned from the Moon book. BTW I finished the Moon book, and I highly recommend it to science fiction authors, speculative fiction authors, and cyberpunk authors. I recommend it to writers and readers in general. In other news, I’m doing better with my French pronunciation. Maybe that’s because I skipped ahead a bit. Now I can say a phrase and guess at its meaning. So for the next check-in I’ll be back to knowing the meaning of what I’m *attempting* to say. Like a see-saw. Still clearing my email backlog, though the more recent email will have to wait until I get “official” internet back. Lastly, I’m reading the “dos and don’ts” of querying. Giddy stuff.

9-11  Still no official internet service, but I’m lucky tonight. Still fine-tuning the language in my WIP. French is all over the place. I’m thinking about supplementation. If nobody has any suggestions, I’ll resort to supplementary French-English audio. Back to reading Stephen King’s full-length “The Stand.” The more I read of this novel, the more I think I’m reading his mind circa 1978. According to King’s book “On Writing,” I am. Email is accumulating, though not as fast as it had been before this round. I’ll have some catching-up to do after I get official service- hopefully tomorrow.

9-14  My internet service is back on! Faster than ever. I’m still combing through my WIP, adjusting the language. Funny how if you change one thing, you have to change a related thing. And if you change the related thing, you have to change another related thing. Patience, Grasshopper, the writer must strike a fine balance. As for email- I’m now focused on transferring what’s left of my MSN (going bye-bye) backlog to my Gmail (you can’t stop the Google). I discovered whatever the Comcast technician did to my computer blew out my French lessons. And my French lessons-shove-back-in-er AKA hub-unit is away on business. So I’ll be taking a wee break from French (Thank you Adi Parashakti!) and catching up later. Still reading “The Stand,” and nearing the end. (“Can’t you see Lauder is evil?! He’s evil!!” I mentally scream at the good guys, throwing my hands up in the air for emphasis.) And after a couple of days dealing with severe endo, I’ll be catching up on reading more of my literary agent advice book tonight.

9-18  Yep, still in WIP comb-mode. Fixing all those pesky little syntax glitches- but not too much. This is still futuristic language here. Kinda like Heinlein’s Moon book. Now where have I heard that before? Oh yeah . . Moving on, I cleared out my MSN email- all of it. Praise Mithra! But of course now my Gmail is overflowing. heh heh One dubious step at a time, OK? All caught up in French. I’m going to order some French-English translation . . whatever’s-the-latest-technology-they-have-nows . . is it still spinny things? Can you tell I OD-ed on French lessons? Ha! I even OD-ed on Sweet Potato French Fries. Couldn’t help it- I was on a roll. Oh yeah- by the next check-in, I’ll have the complete, unabridged conclusion of “The Stand” steeping in my mind.

9-22  Hooray! Tom Cullen made it! He was my fav. Oh yeah- I finished this round strong with an editing and fiction reading marathon. Also met my french lesson, email, and literary agent research goals. I’ll see you in Round 4!

Round of Editing – 80 Days

After meeting my goals in the first round, I’m back for Round 2 of ROW80! As before, each Round has 3 challenges- measure, chunk, and blog. For Round 2, my personal challenges are:*

1. Measure- finish editing my novel draft (from last year’s NaNoWriMo).

2. Chunk- At least an hour of editing per day, except on Saturdays.

3. Blog- check-in with ROW80 regularly.

*My ROW80 Round 2 ends on June 15. I will be vacationing from June 16 – July 5, and will not be editing, checking-in, or otherwise online during that time.

But wait, there’s more!

I’m also listing other goals and including them in my ROW80 progress:*

1. I’d like to balance my fiction reading with my non-fiction reading. Lately I’m reading *a lot* of non-fiction. I still want to do that, but I also want to fit more fiction in there somewhere. At least five 15-minute fiction-reading sessions per week.

2. My computer files and paper files are a mess. Plus I have boxes of books, photos, notes, mementos, notes, poetry, who-knows-whats all mixed together. No more. Progress on organizing my files or boxes every week. What constitutes “progress” will be up to me as I go.

3. Ramp up my French lessons. At least five French lessons per week.

4. Do “The Artist’s Way Workbook” by Julia Cameron. I’ve had this workbook for a while, and it’s been a good dust-collector, but now I want to use it as a workbook. Glancing through, it looks like there’s 12 weeks of exercises, with each week having 4 – 10 tasks, plus spaces for weekly check-ins throughout. One week’s worth of exercises per week, (including check-ins) according to the workbook, for 12 weeks, except for the exercise about getting up 1/2 hour early.

*Vacation time is exempt.

So now that I’ve mixed all my words together, baked them, and even frosted them, is my word cake ready to serve? No way! Blow it up first! (I’m a horror writer. There’s nothing like the horror of a blown-up birthday cake.)

OK I’m off to blow-up . . er, edit my novel.


4-6  So far so good . . editing over an hour every day- currently tidying my draft.

  1. Diving back into Stephen King’s complete & uncut “The Stand” every night. Hopefully it will give me nightmares- I’ll use them in my writing.
  2. Recovered and sorting through important “hidden file” emails.
  3. French- check.
  4. Doing the Morning Pages in the workbook every day, first-ish thing. 

4-10  Edited over an hour daily, M – F.

  1. Exceeded my fiction reading goals.
  2. I made some (very little) progress with my files. *Technically* met the goal.
  3. French- check.
  4. Still have Morning Pages to do this morning / afternoon. I’m kinda not doing them the first thing in the morning- just don’t feel like it. I usually do them by the afternoon, and I do them everyday. Also need to do 3 additional workbook exercises today to meet my goal for this week (M- M). Will do. 

4-12  An hour of editing every scheduled day. I’ve been doing it in the wee hours, and toward the end, I start to fall asleep. I need to figure out how to manage my time more effectively.

  1. Fiction reading completed so far this week. Now I need to catch-up on my non-fiction. There’s a mountain of it.
  2. Again, *technically* met the file-organizing goal.
  3. French- check.
  4. On schedule with the workbook. So far there’s a lot of exercises in which you flip back and review previous exercises- I like that. It’s good to review. There’s also a lot of repitition of affirmations. I’m skipping the overly repititious repititions, as I find repititious repititions repititiously irritating. See what I mean? 

4-17  So far so good with editing at least an hour 6 days per week. I was struggling with the story flow until I decided to go with an unusual format. A futuristic stream-of-consciousness in a futuristic book calls for a futuristic format.

  1. On schedule with my fiction reading. I doubled and tripled the reading on some days to keep up.
  2. My computer desk and my coffee table aren’t (as) cluttered.  S  l  o  w  progress.
  3. French- check, though the pronunciations are giving me the smack-down.
  4. On schedule with the workbook for the most part. A couple of the exercises I started, but decided to finish later, because they call for traveling and borrowing or buying a sewing machine and buying some specialized tartan. Yes- kilts!

4-20  On target with editing. Slow but steady, by the hour.

  1. Way ahead on my fiction reading. I love to read fiction.
  2. Cleared some more computer files.  S  l  o  w  on this one,  as usual. I guess I hate being organized I’m pre-disposed to disorganization.
  3. Some easy French lessons lately. Confidence is boosted. I’ll enjoy it while I can.
  4. Right on schedule with the workbook. I abbreviated a few of the repetitious exercises. In some places the workbook goes a bit over the top with cultish chanting IMO. I do a step above what is reasonable to me and move on. 

4- 24  Almost completed finding the weak areas in my WIP. This week I will strengthen my WIP and print it to facilitate scene shuffling.

  1. Way ahead on fiction reading- mostly responses to Chuck Wendig’s flash fiction challenges, and Stephen King’s “The Stand.”
  2. Managed to get a little bit more organizing done thing week than last week. The key word is “little.”
  3. French- check. Though now I’m gettting the double smack-down on spelling and audio word recognition. The last lesson was brutal.
  4. Pretty much caught up on this week’s workbook exercises. One of the exercises was to list dead people you wish you had met, and dead people you’d like to hang out with, (assuming they’d somehow not be dead) and why. Nobody came to mind. So I listed “good traits in friends” instead.

4-27  Decided I need to isolate my scenes so I can easily shuffle them. They were written out of order. Now I’m going to put them in order. In the meantime, still working on strengthening the weak areas. In other news, on Monday I had a bad reaction to my monthly allergy shots. I still managed to keep up with my editing, but I’m one or two days behind everything else. Hope to catch up by the end of the week.

  1. A small amount of fiction reading so far this week. Need to catch up.
  2. Converted a bunch of files which were previously lost in a computer crash. Still have a bunch more to go.
  3. A day behind in French. Also repeating a lesson until I get it right (normal for me).
  4. A day behind in my workbook exercises. Need to catch up.   

5-1  Going strong with my editing. I’ve identified the weak areas and so far re-written a few scenes stronger. Plowing ahead.

  1. On schedule with my fiction reading.
  2. Still struggling with organization, but making *some* progress.
  3. Caught up in French. Trying to hammer in a few new phrases.
  4. Did most of this week’s workbook exercises (a couple didn’t apply to me, so I skipped them). This is where I’m still behind from my allergy shots reaction last Monday. I need to do 2 “artist date” activities- one modest one and one day-long one. I expect to catch up on Monday.

5-4  On track with my editing. Re-wrote and embellished a few more scenes, slow but steady.

  1. Ahead on my fiction reading. Easy to do once I open the book.
  2. Got a nice chunk of computer files converted. Another slow but steady progression.
  3. I’m actually remembering how to spell most of my French vocabulary words. Pounding out the lessons.
  4. I managed to catch up on my workbook exercises, though this week I have to find pictures in magazines of things I like- lots of pictures. Luckily, I have stacks of magazines I haven’t organized donated yet. Some of the religious wording in the exercises are ponderous, (my only criticism of the workbook so far) as I’m not a religious person. But I just work around it.

5-8  Just about ready to print my WIP. I’ll be scene-shuffling this week. I need to see it all in front of me on page instead of scrollling up and down and up . .

  1. Fiction reading going great. Reading a lot of flash fiction lately.
  2. Got even more computer files converted. Still haven’t tackled my paper files yet, though.
  3. Excelling in French vocabulary. Still need to work on sentence structure.
  4. A bit behind on my workbook exercises, and I also need to pick out the magazine pictures- so far I flipped through a couple magazines but didn’t find anything. I’m picky. But the “morning pages” (“morning” in name only) are going faster for me. Now I only take an hour to write 3 pages- filling the entire page- longhand. The trick is no interruptions and no distractions.

5-11 I discovered a new (to me) method of looking at relationships between characters using the 5 senses. I’m quite pleased with myself, and this method will be a future blog post. Tonight I am cutting and pasting my WIP (literally). I need to shuffle scenes by hand on the floor to get the continuity correct.

  1. Chugging along with my fiction reading. Lots of great flash fiction on the web!
  2. As for my organizing . . I put all my “look at later” book notes in one place (except for the ones buried in a box in the closet). But that took  less than a minute.  So I had to think of something else to “organize.” Finally, I recycled some magazines and processed a stack of mail that had been piling up. This weekend I’ll start processing my consolidated “look at later” book notes. Yikes.
  3. French is on the upswing again. Sentences are flowing (somewhat) easier now.
  4. I completed last week’s picture-finding exercises in the workbook as best I could, and decided to match 1 picture to each exercise. Outdoor scenes. They represent harmonious environments, nature, beauty, vitality, excitement- all the good, important stuff. Now I just need to catch up on this week. Again.

5-15  I printed my WIP. I started reading it. Right off the bat I’m finding things I didn’t see looking at it on the computer screen. Lots of things. Argh. I thought I would be mostly just shuffling scenes, but I still have a lot of line editing to do. So I’m still experiencing a steep learning curve. Learning is good, I can work with this.

  1. Reading flash fiction and loving it!
  2. Wow! I sorted through the whole box of stuff I said I was going to sort through- woo-hoo! So the contents are organized. Next step- processing.
  3. Repeating my latest French lessons- speaking French sentences is proving to be more difficult than simply speaking French words. I am diligent, though.
  4. Most of the workbook exercises were a breeze this week, though I still have a bit of catching up to do. One exercise necessitates collecting leaves outside, and it’s been raining all week, so I’m going to do that one when it’s drier. I’m combining a couple other exercises as I type- baking focaccia and having a drinky-poo (artist date).

5-18  Chugging along with my editing. I’m in the last few chapters of my draft- either that or I forgot to number a bunch of chapters at the end. (I think it’s the later.) I’m wondering how I’m going to get this done by June 15. Argh.

  1. Breezing through my fiction reading.
  2. Went back to converting files. I’d say I’ve converted about half of them so far.
  3. French is giving me the double smack-down. I’m having trouble with pronunciations and phrases this time. But I keep getting back up and taking my lessons.
  4. Still rainy here and I still haven’t done the leaf-collecting exercise from last week. Now I’m supposed to be half-way through this week and I’m not quite there. And this week’s exercises are long and involved. Argh indeed.

5-22  Now that I’ve made my corrections to my printed WIP, I’m making the corrections to my computer file WIP. I’m still amazed at what I see on the printed page that I don’t see on the computer screen.

  1. I’m reading “The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress” by Robert A. Heinlein. Amazing stuff, and I’m in awe that it was written in 1965. It’s futuristic in every sense of the word, even today. The style was a bit jarring at first, but I’ve adapted. It’s making me re-think my own futuristic WIP.
  2. Converted another hunka-chunka burnin’ computer files. I see the light at the end of the tunnel on these.
  3. I faithfully continue to flagellate myself with my French lessons. Some phrases are starting to sink in.
  4. Still have a few workbook exercises from last week that I need to complete. Some of these exercises aren’t easy to do in rainy weather. And It’s supposed to rain all this week too. So I’ll do what I can.

5-25  An hour of editing every Sunday through Friday. I’m actually enjoying the editing and correcting process.

  1. Still reading Heinlein’s Moon novel. Also reading “Transition” by Chaz Bono, which isn’t fiction, but I mention it anyway because it’s so interesting I kind of lost track of how much time I’ve spent reading Moon. But I’m pretty sure I met my goal for fiction these past few days.
  2. Hubby needed to do some programming on the desktop computer during my “prime file converting time” these past few days, but I still managed to converted a small amount. Technically on track.
  3. I’m reviewing French vocabulary, which is quite a bit easier than struggling with sentence structure.
  4. Finished a big workbook exercise for this week. At the same time, I’m still working on catching up a bit from last week.

5-29  I’m nearing the end of my computer file corrections to my WIP. I’m wondering how many more times I’ll have to print it.

  1. Finished “Transition,” by Chaz Bono (non-fiction) and now I’m back to reading Heinlein’s Moon novel. On track.
  2. I got another chunk of computer files converted. By the time I check in again, the rest will be converted!
  3. Pounding away on my French lessons, and trying to work through a plateau. I’m wondering when the cursive French lessons will come. I might have to do some outside research for a few choice French words.
  4. Oddly enough, I got a little ahead of schedule on my workbook exercises, (not counting the delayed exercises) and so I took a few days off from doing these to enjoy the Memorial Day weekend.

6-1  Finished the edits to my paper WIP. Now onto the scene-shuffling. As I lack the chronology gene, I predict this will be a teeth-gnashing steep learning experience.

  1. Chugging along with Heinlein’s Moon. CHUG-A-CHUG-A-CHUG-A
  2. Chunked out another chunk o’ computer files. By the next check-in, they will be all chunked out.
  3. Still trying to pound French phrases into my brain. They seem to be half in and half out at this point. Makes my head look funny. May have to wear a beret, even though it’s now summer.
  4. Trying to catch up on my collaging workbook exercises. Finding acceptable pictures in magazines is more time-consuming than I thought. 1 hour = 2 pictures. Too picky?

6-5  I started to read my WIP aloud for the first time. Holy crap. Will this editing process ever end? It’s black marker time. Again. But I figure as long as I edit 6 days per week as my goals state, I will have technically met that goal by June 15. I’ll have an “edited” WIP. Not “completely edited,” but edited nonetheless.

  1. A-OK on the fiction reading. The Moon book isn’t an easy read IMO, but it’s a very worthwhile read.
  2. Computer files- DONE! WHOO-HOO!
  3. French? Yes, I use my French Press to make coffee. It’s fun. French lessons? Yep, they’re still French-frying my brain. Yum, coffee-flavored french fries . .
  4. As far as those damned enlightening workbook exercises go, since the last check-in I’ve managed to find some more magazine pictures for my collages, and I spent most of the day last Saturday being a socialite. (This was for an “alternate life” workbook exercise, and I dressed up in floaty skirt set and mincing heels and went to a fancy-shmancy bridal shower. I was even invited. It was a lot of fun, though by the end of the day, my feet were killing me. How the heck do those socialites do it?)

6-8 Still steadily editing aloud. Still rolling my eyes at what I find. But as long as I’m making progress, I’m happy.

  1. I dove back into reading flash fiction online. I love the variety of writing styles, and I bet a few of these authors will become successful career authors.
  2. Dug out my papers in my file drawer. Scary. Time to sort.
  3. Ditched the beret idea. Too hot. And it’s supposed to be even hotter on Thursday. In the meantime, I’m still French-pressing my brain. I’m stubborn that way.
  4. Slow going on the workbook exercises. These last few weeks of the workbook are difficult. Maybe I’m just ready for the exercises to be over. Either way, at the end of the workbook, there’s another contract you’re expected to sign, promising to do “Morning Pages” for another 90 days. I’m not going to think about that too much, I’m just going keep scrawling incoherently filling pages with soul-stretching insights writing 3 pages longhand daily until it’s over. One day at a time.

6-12  I might be a day off on my editing, but none of my 3 calendars (1 calendar isn’t big enough) say I am. Just a weird feeling. But I’m not going to fret it, because I’ll simply do an extra hour of editing before I blast off on my vacation after my last ROW80 check-in this round. Still on the aloud edits. Still slashing away with my big black marker.

  1. Devouring online flash fiction and smacking my lips. YUM
  2. Finally organized my paper files. Funny how quick and easy it is once you just sit down and do it.
  3. If I knew any French curse words I’d type those here. But I don’t (yet) so I’ll just say I’m back to repeating a single lesson over and over . . and over again until I get it 100% right.
  4. According to the last hocus-pocus workbook exercise I did, I guess I’m supposed to be a drug addict, or have drug addict tendencies. I drew the “drugs” slip 3 times out of 7 draws. I’ll go with the “drug addict tendencies” and admit, at times, I do tend to go heavy on the Advil when my Cousin Flo visits. She parties way too hard for me.

6-15  The end of my ROW80 Round 2.

Measure goal- OK how about this- I finished a KIND of editing, wherein “a KIND of” is a modifier, and “editing” is the overall goal. What kind of editing did I finish? The kind where I go through and and fix typos and put scenes in order. And when is editing ever done, really? I guess when you send your manuscript to an agent. And I’ve got to find an agent before I send my script!

Chunk goal- 1 hour per day, six days per week- check! And I even threw in an extra hour of editing, just to be on the safe side.

Blog goal- Checked in with this post at every check-in!

But wait, there’s more!

  1. Fiction reading- met the goal.
  2. French lessons- met the goal.
  3. Organizing- met the goal.
  4. Workbook exercises- Though I’m not done with the workbook yet, I did do 1 week’s worth (more or less) or exercises per week. There are parts of a few exercises I need to finish, and I will finish them, along with the rest of the workbook, including the extra 90 days of Morning Pages, without skipping a day. The workbook exercises are about nurturing your artist, not stressing out your artist, so I’m not going to fret about needing to wrap up loose ends. I’ll wrap up when it’s convenient, and at the same time recognize that finishing the workbook is a priority.

    As of today I am on vacation until July 6. See you in Round 3. Happy summer!


Round Of Words / 80 Days

Back in November I successfully completed the National Novel Writing Month challenge. I wrote a 50,002-word (as yet unedited) novel in 1 month. That experience was so stressful such an empowering accomplishment, I decided I can’t wait for next November to sign up for another timed group writing project. A depressing helpful lesson I learned from NaNoWriMo is I am more likely to accomplish personal goals if I’m accountable to other people- even if those other people are virtual strangers online.

A Round of Words in 80 Days will happen 4 times during the year. Round 1 begins January 3 and ends . . 80 days later. (You do the math, I’m more of a word person.)

Each Round has 3 challenges- measure, chunk, and blog. For Round 1, my personal challenges are:

1.  Measure- write a draft of a new novel in 80 days.

2. Chunk- write at least 700 words of my new novel per day.

3. Blog- as you see from this post, I already have that part nailed.

Now to sit down and pick up my tools:

Happy New Year, and Happy Writing!

Daily Check-Ins:

Date  Words

1-3     715

1-4     712

1-5     765

1-6     808

1-7     897

1-8     768

1-9     752

1-10   775

1-11   845

1-12   875

1-13   793

1-14   727

1-15   710

1-16   773

1-17   704

1-18   784

1-19   704

1-20   743

1-21   765

1-22   748

1-23   762

1-24   713

1-25   737

1-26   715

1-27   736

1-28   760

1-29   745

1-30   767

1-31   778

2-1    727

2-2    738

2-3    780

2-4    707

2-5    707   (again!)

2-6    746

2-7    727

2-8    720

2-9    733

2-10  728

2-11  792

2-12  767

2-13  710

2-14  990

2-15  765

2-16  855

2-17  758

2-18  806

2-19  882

2-20  708

2-21  745

2-22  718

2-23  763

2-24  710

2-25  710   (again!)

2-26  725

2-27  748

2-28  720

3-1   732

3-2   725

3-3   728

3-4   810

3-5   802

3-6   718

3-7   750

3-8   838

3-9   725

3-10  825

3-11  797

3-12  735

3-13  868

3-14  805

3-15  715

3-16  722   (brief novel outline- I do things backwards)

As the draft of my novel is basically done, the remaining word counts will be from “character profile worksheets.” The word counts will include the pre-written questions.

3-17  715

3-18  736

3-19  707

3-20  713

3-21  705

3-22  708

3-23  722   DONE!

One Novel, One Month, One Pain in the Task

Me: I have a 50,000-word novel due at the end of the month.

Sigo: What happens if you don’t get it done?

Me: That’s not gonna happen.

Sigo: But what happens if you don’t get it done?

Me: Well, that’s not gonna happen, but if it did, let’s just say the universe would end at that point. So I’ve gotta make sure that doesn’t happen.

November is National Novel Writing Month. Participants commit to starting, finishing, and submitting (for an official word count) an original novel of at least 50,000 words during the month of November. It doesn’t have to be a good novel, or even a properly written novel with clean spelling, punctuation, and structure. It just has to be at least 50,000 words of “novel.”

On the first of the month I put my current novel-in-the-works on the back burner and signed up as a NaNoWriMo neophyte. I hoped to use the pressure of NaNoWriMo to finally bust out of my self-editing OCD. And writing a novel in one month would be pretty incredible too.

My first couple weeks were full of procrastination, and I adapted this Three Stooges skit:

Pal: Hiya, Pal!

Me: You call me pal?  Why, I haven’t heard that word for years. You know bub, I once was a naïve author like you.

P: Oh congratulations!

M: Ah, but it wasn’t always thus; I can look back to the days of yore when I was a very happy naïve writer. Then one day, that rat came and destroyed forever the all the naïvety I’d ever known. I’ll never forget that day, I just sat down at my computer after a full day of not writing, and there was an open invitation in my inbox. 

P: What did it say?

M: Oh it was one of those cold-blooded invitations: “Dear Writer: Write a novel in one month.” I was obsessed with the idea that I could do it. The trail led me to Twitter; I found I missed starting by three days when I got there. And I swore right there on Twitter I’d do it and have my glory; now on with the chase. Wikipedia, Facebook, WordPress. And then I came face to face with the rat that had taken over my life, it was in “NANOWRIMO,” “NANOWRIMO!” Slowly I wrote, and step by step, inch by inch, I walked up to it, and I smashed it, I hit it, I bonked it, I bopped it, I mashed its face and I wrote the words down!

P: Ooh, ooh! Take it easy bud, take it easy!

M: Excuse me kid, it’s that word, “NANOWRIMO,” Every time I hear it tears me apart!


So what have I learned at the half-way mark? . .

1. Writing 1,667 cohesively sensible words a day is hard.

2. After not writing 1,667 words a day, writing 2,000 cohesively sensible words a day is even harder.

3. Sub-plots set in bars and night clubs are fun and easy to pound out.

4. A 50,000+ word novel written in one month is the same as a 50,000+ word cartoon written in one month, but also includes weariness-induced spelling, grammatical, continuity, and logic errors.

5. Heed T. S. Eliot’s advice.


And now I must NaNoWriMo . .


11-30-10: I’m a WINNER with 50,002 words!