NaNoEdMo Eve (again?)

February 28, 2014

Well, it’s the last day of February, so tomorrow will be March 1st, and NaNoEdMo is starting all over again. My approach to revision and editing has changed a lot in the last year, (mostly on account of Odyssey,) but I’m still looking forward to getting 50 hours worth of editing in over the month.

So far, my revision possibilities list is fairly brief:

  • The Angel’s Charlie. I started working on the Holly Lisle HTRYN program with this manuscript last March, and then never really got back to it. It’ll be nice to get back to that.
  • “Gotta have that look.” Hopefully I can get the revision of this to a place where I’m happy enough with it to submit it to Team Ambitious by mid-month. (It’ll need to be good, since they all saw a draft back in the summer.) Then maybe I can submit it in the spring, get it working for my Race Score.
  • Expand “Orpheus and the Cameraman” for the Abyss anthology. Since the anthology call is for novellas of at least 10k, and my current draft is just over four thousand words, (from a first draft of 2k,) that’ll be a lot of expansion and new words, but I think the premise has enough to support that, and it’ll be nice to get to write some new scenes while still technically editing for March.

I just finished the last of my modest goals for Feburary, dreaming up some story ideas that I’ll be tossing out when the A to Z challenge starts in April! Of course, I still have to figure out some of the trickiest letters in the alphabet, but there’s time for that.

My month of editing draws nigh

February 26, 2013

It isn’t as if I haven’t been working hard on editing for months now – rewriting The Storm Mirror, getting stories and gnome sample chapters ready to submit to workshops, and powering through the last few lessons in ‘How to Revise your Novel.’ But as you may know if you’ve been following this blog for longer than 11 months, March is a different beast.

I’ve been doing ‘National Novel Editing Month’ in March since 2007, I think. It’s not the most popular of Nanowrimo spinoffs, and the online community tends to be terse at best. Maybe this says something about the level of challenge involved. If you’re pushing yourself to spend 50 hours on revision and editing in 31 days, (and especially if you’ve also got a job, family, or classes to keep up with,) you don’t have that much time to chatter about it on a message board.

But I still find that my March editing is worthwhile for me, and even if you’re not crazy enough to commit to 50 hours, I’d like to make the following three-part challenge to all writers out there:

  • Do some editing in March.
  • Talk to other writers about it.
  • Make a list of what you’ve accomplished with editing. Not a to-do list you cross things off from. A done list.

That third element is something that I may have come up with myself. I’m a big fan of to-do lists in general, but somehow when I’m really challenging myself in editing, they don’t seem to fit the bill, at least not in the traditional sense. Maybe that’s because my ‘to-do list’ for editing is always so long that trying to cross everything off would be disheartening instead of encouraging.

The way I do my lists in March the past few years is, I do sort of have a to-do list, but it’s an ideas/possibilities list, and nothing gets crossed off. I finish something, and I write it on the Done list. And it’s really encouraging to see that Done list grow over the month.

So, is anybody else with me?

Calendar of Goal Tracking 2012 wrap-up

December 31, 2012


Happy New Year’s Eve!

Since it’s the last day of 2012, I thought I’d take down my Big Bang ‘Calendar of Goal Tracking’ to see how I did. (I took pictures of every page, though, to share with you, though it’s a little hard to make out the letters from the photos.)

Some overall thoughts:

  1. Counting hundreds of little letters from a calendar is hard! I’m sure I’ve made some counting errors, but I’m not worrying about 100% accuracy tonight.
  2. This has really been a good experiment for me, and a great way to motivate myself to do time-slices, especially for things like exercise and cleaning that I have a hard time motivating myself for otherwise.
  3. There were quite a few letters missing that I was able to work out from other evidence, including several R’s, one E in March, a D on a Sunday in November when I know I went to a write-in, and so on.
  4. I’m definitely going to try something of the sort for 2013. Since I’m trying to save money where I can, and I got a decent looking ‘Muscle cars’ calendar free from the oil change shop, I guess that’s my goal tracking calendar for next year!

Details about the goals I tracked:

  • B for Blogging: I marked a B to indicate a day that I posted a new blog post 297 times. This seems low compared to my annual report, even taking into account that I never went back and updated the calendar for the 2 weeks I spent in Kansas (and at Polaris, the weekend after I got back from Kansas.) I suspect that several times, I did a blog post last thing in the evening, went to bed, and never went back and marked my B.
  • C for Cleaning: I got 166 Cs for a timeslice of at least 20 minutes cleaning, tidying, or organizing things around my apartment. Occasionally this was a double C in a single day, if I was feeling exceptionally cleanergetic.
  • D for Driving. 197 days got the letter D for days that I drove, either driving practice before I passed my licence, borrowing a family car, or just driving in Ghost once I’d bought my own car.
  • E for Editing. I have 251 of the letter E marked in the calendar for working on my own editing. 50 of them are in March, where I was using one E to indicate one hour logged for National Novel Editing Month. Otherwise, it’s any significant amount of time, at least 20 minutes or so, one E per day.
  • L for Losing.  Each letter L represents a half-hour time slice of walking around outside or other cardio exercise. Could be double Ls in a day. I got 335.
  • Read the rest of this entry »

Nanowrimo Spotlight #4: Monica C., Teen Blogger from Living Homeschooled

October 20, 2012

Well, the Nanowrimo Spotlight train just keeps on rolling, and today I’m happy to shine the spotlight on Monica:

What’s the most unusual part of your writing process?
The most unusual part is probably how I edit. I hate editing, and generally put it off as long as possible, meaning that I usually end up spending hours doing it all at once. After a basic spell check, I try to go and divide my work into sections, or chapters, depending on the length. I do not usually divide it up as I write, so that part comes later. Then, I edit one chapter at a time, usually attempting to do five or six in a day. This way, I can do a basic edit in a week or less. At this point, I decide whether or not a re-write is worth while, or if I should abandon the work, at least for the time being.

Where are your backup files?
I have my writing in two places: in a text file on my computer, and in Google Drive. I know it is probably not the most secure way to save them, but it works for now. I intend to get a USB flash drive before November so that I have another way to back up my novel,

What advice would you give to all your fellow Wrimos?
Set goals. When ever I start a new writing project, I set goals of how many words I should get done each day, week, or month. In NaNo, some goals are set for you (such as 1667 words a day), but I find it helpful to be even more specific. Such as, I should try to get 1,000 words written before lunch, and another 700 done in the evening after my homework is done. I often try to set goals just a bit higher then I then I need to, so that if it does not all get done I am not too far behind. Also, if I do get ahead that leaves a little more wiggle room for Thanksgiving, or another day when not much gets done.

Sneaky Ninja Question! If you went missing, who would notice that something was wrong first?
Probably my younger sister. We spend a lot of time together, and she would likely notice within a few hours if I was missing.


I am Monica, homeschooled high school student, blogger, reader, and dancer. I blog about homeschooling, writing, and pretty much anything else at I love to writing, and do it a lot. My first experience with writing came when I was seven, when I began publishing a four page ‘newsletter’ each month for my family and friends. I kept it up until I was eleven, and school started taking up a lot more time. It was a great experience, and one that really convinced me that writing was something I was meant to do.

I started NaNoWriMo last year with a few friends. I finished with 50,002 words, and loved it. I had always loved writing, but I had never really finished anything of that magnitude before. NaNo really boosted my confidence as a writer, and I have spent the last year working on various fictional projects (mostly short stories) in preparation for this November. I can not wait to start!

You can also find me on NaNo, and on Google Plus.

Thanks for stepping into my spotlight, Monica!

Polishing prose takes time…

September 27, 2012

Well, I’ve been working hard at my remaining goals, including polishing one of my old Roswell fanfics, ‘Husk Funeral’, to get it posted up on the website. Actually, I published the first chapter this evening, and I’m working on chapter 6 of 9 for the ‘polishing’ draft. But even though I’m fairly pleased with this story overall, my target to shoot for isn’t incredibly high, and I’ve already been a few times over these chapters to proofread and tweak them, I still find that really getting into it takes up so much time. I can work away at editing for an hour in the evening and find out that I’ve managed to finish two scenes perhaps – if I’m lucky.

Maybe my expectations for how quickly I should be able to do this kind of editing are just way out of whack, I dunno. I may not reach this goal, but I’m going to do the best I can, and I’m really pretty pleased with the progress I’m making, and this chance to return to my fanfic roots.

On a slightly off-topic note, I discovered that now allows book cover images – but they have to be taller than they are wide, by a factor of 3:2, so that all the banners I made for Roswell Fanatics, (which are generally just a bit wider than tall, something like 10:11,) are no good. Sigh.

Nanoedmo update – week 2

March 14, 2012

Well, it looks like the NaNoEdMo forums are back up, and hours logging should be online soon. As for myself, I’ve been plowing along pretty well, counting my time for the Holly Lisle course work and any other editing that I’ve done. I’m up at 23 hours now, which is pretty good for day 14.

One trick that has really helped has been my calendar. For March, I decided to do something a little bit different to keep track of EdMo stuff – I write an E on teh calendar whenever the hours tracker ‘ticks over’ to a new hour, and try to mark at least one E every day. Sometimes that isn’t a full hour per day – I had some odd minutes heading into Comicon weekend that I used up, because I didn’t take a netbook with me on the bus to Toronto and didn’t have that much time to edit after I got home.

But it’s been great to see multiple Es on some days, including the first weekend, and Wednesday a week ago, when I went to the Monastery.

Aside from the Holly Lisle stuff, I’ve been working on chapter 1 of The Scroll, on a revision of The Storm Mirror, and some of my old Roswell fanfics, which I just wanted to polish up a little before posting on — that makes them ideal for when I don’t want to work on editing anything that I feel might be high pressure.

Are there any other EdMo’s out there among my followers? How’s it going? If not, what’s been keeping you busy in March?

National Novel Editing Month preparation

February 28, 2012

It’s only a few days until the arrival of March, and as I have for many years now, I’m going to join in the NaNoEdMo challenge – completing fifty hours of editing work within March. It’s not a very popular event, but I find that taking this time as winter turns into spring to concentrate on the tough work of revision and rewriting is one of my favorite markers on the year-long writer’s calendar.

So, as February winds to its close, I’m putting together a list of editing tasks that I can work out my fifty hours of self-imposed hard labor on. It helps to have a reasonable variety, so that if I get blocked on one project or simply sick of it, I can switch to another one.

Here’s some of what I’ve got lined up:

  • Rewriting the sample chapters of ‘The Scroll’ to send in to Kij at the CSSF – I want to have this ready to go by March 9th, before I head off to the HobbyStar Toronto March Comiccon.
  • ‘How to Revise your Novel’ coursework and exercises on “Won’t somebody think of the Children.” I’ve nearly finished the triage phase of HTRYN, and so the ‘Major Surgery’ lessons are coming up just in time for Edmo!
  • First rewrite of ‘The Storm Mirror’ – I liked a lot of things about the first draft, but it was very rambly, coming in at over 8000 words, and I think that a lot of them can be cut.
  • Third draft of ‘Father Ismay,’ which I’ve been procrastinating on all month. Maybe that was just my subconscious telling me that it was a NaNoEdMo job.
  • Doing quick cleanup on some fanfic so that it’s fit to be posted up on (which isn’t a terribly high bar. 😉 )
  • Doing a critique for, and possibly other feedback for other writers. Good critiquer karma is definitely a part of Edmo!
  • Possibly rewrites of ‘Shuttle Fidelity’ or ‘Project Fast Track’.

Do you have anything particular planned for March? If you’ve got editing work to be done, I do recommend checking out the NaNoEdMo home page. The forums are a bit ghostly and spammy at the moment. I need to try to generate a little good chatter over there. Editors don’t always have time to gabble at each other online, though.

Critique tracking via spreadsheet

May 15, 2011

Well, the new draft of “The Landing” has been finalized, and sent off both to Chris McKitterick at the CSSF in Kansas, but also to Lightspeed magazine.

I was more than a little daunted by the prospect of going through the seventeen different critiques I received on the story from, ranging from one short paragraph all the way up to one critique approximately three-quarters the word count of the submitted story! I copied them all from my gmail into a single text file on Thursday night, and tried to go over some of them Friday night at Runnymede, but didn’t really get that far.

So, yesterday night, I finally got systematic. I set up an Excel spreadsheet file, starting one tab with a list of the different critiques, including the origin email, the starting and ending position in my text file, and working out how long each critique was in lines. This was then sorted in ascending order of length, so that I could start with the shorter critiques and work up progressively through longer and longer ones.

(I formatted the email addresses in white on a white background, to preserve the anonymity of critters.)

Read the rest of this entry »

Reading aloud and adding extra pages.

May 8, 2011

Well, it’s late, and I’ve spent a lot of the evening reading my Script Frenzy screenplay aloud to myself, which is a really good way of doing editing I usually find – a lot of simple changes and alternate phrasings just seem to come to me when I’m reading my own words out. But it does take some time.

I wanted to get the script in good shape to print a full copy out and show it off at the writers’ circles this week, maybe even give it to somebody else to review for a few weeks before giving it back to me. There was a gentleman at the New Writing Workshop last time who seemed very interested and knowledgeable about screenwriting.

So I’ve finished editing the entire project, (very casually, but that’s okay for a first printing I think,) and sent it off to Staples. This is the first time I’ve used a print shop since getting my Brother laser printer on boxing day, because I really wanted to get the full professional treatment on this – double-sided pages, spiral binding, stiff cardboard covers, and the whole thing. So I guess I’ll be heading over to the Staples on Barton street after work tomorrow to pick it up.

Interestingly enough, Staples printing price structure gives you a noticeable price break at 100 pages – you’d pay nearly two dollars more to print only ninety-nine. And after making a few of my changes and deleting some extraneous dialog, I was down to ninety-nine pages. Looked around in the Celtx options for anything that would take up another page, and found the choice to add a few extra lines before each scene header. Good enough, back to one hundred pages.

Except I realized that the price was going up quite a lot when I picked the option to actually have the title page printed out on the cover, and then realized that was because it didn’t count the title page as one of the hundred anymore. I was down to ninety-nine, and Celtx doesn’t let you just type in blank lines at the end of the project and print them off.

I actually tried typing in a lot of lines with just a . after each, but that didn’t look too good, and I thought of something else.

Hard page breaks!

I inserted hard page breaks around my act breaks, and that got me back up. 101 pages out of Celtx, which goes down to 100 after the title page is diverted to the cover. Excellent stuff.

I’m off to sleep now.

National Novel Editing Month update, week 2

March 14, 2011

Total time logged so far: 23 hours, 38 minutes

I guess EdMo is still going fairly well for me, though I’d hoped to be already past the halfway point, especially as I probably won’t be able to do much catchup this coming weekend, as I’m going to the Wizard World Toronto Comic Con Convention! But still, I’ll figure out some way I’m sure.

Being able to go back and forth between several different projects helps to keep my energy levels up for editing, I’ve noticed. Over the past seven days, I have:

  1. Finished reading ‘The Chosen’ Novel manuscript.
  2. Put together my overall critique comments ‘The Chosen’ to accompany the inline notes I made as I was reading.
  3. Also wrote some overall thoughts for a fanfic that I finished reading through in February, “A Kiss to build a dream on.”
  4. Completed a short story critique for critters, and read through another critters entry making notes as I went.
  5. Spell-checked and proofread 6 chapters of my Nanowrimo 2010 manuscript, ‘The Angel’s Charlie’.
  6. Made a few more tweaks and revisions to ‘The Landing’ in preparation to submit it for Odyssey.
  7. Went through a critique of ‘The Long Way Home,’ made most of the minor changes, and started thinking about the issues raised that would take more serious reworking.

The thought of making more serious changes to ‘Long Way Home’ is somewhat daunting – this critique has brought up several items that I think could really make the book better, including:

  • Revising certain scenes to make sure that the characters all have unique voices and the dialog flows with style.
  • Changing the way I handle some of the flashbacks – the reader thought that the way I was always going into flashback when my MC was knocked out or went to sleep was confusing.
  • Raising the dramatic stakes by torturing my main characters a little and having them go through more hardships, because the current storyline actually has a lot of breaks going their way from the start.

I do want to tackle some of this before March is over, so maybe I should be careful to not spend all of my time on the more minor revisions and critiquing other people’s work.

I know that there are a few of you crusaders out there editing – any updates from your part of the world?

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