NaNoEdMo week 1 progress update

March 8, 2013

Total time logged: 14 hours, 58 minutes. I stopped short of the hour, so that I can easily get one more E on my calendar of goal tracking tomorrow, no matter how busy I am with Toronto ComiCon stuff. 🙂

So, let’s see. I finished the manuscript cut of ‘Won’t Somebody think of the Children’ by tweaking the production a little, and I’ve finished my post-revision review document, which I think has some good notes for whenever I start this up again. I’ve counted some time reading for the “James Gunn’s Ad Astra” slushpile and critters.org critiquing for NaNoEdMo hours, and time I spent reading Holly Lisle revision lessons that I haven’t put into practice yet; query letters, writing one-page synopsis, and seven-day Crash Revision.

I’ll share about the Crash Revision stuff, because I was wondering if I’d actually try that during March. After reading the lesson, it sounds like it’s something I’m glad I’ve read so I could start to let it percolate, and I’m really glad I have the instructions for when I need them, but that a seven day Crash Revision is something that I don’t want to tackle until I have to; like when an editor is asking me for it. It’ll also help if I don’t need to go to the office that week. Trying to do it in seven days just for the practice sounds like it would be incredibly masochistic.

Since finishing that stuff, I looked at my 2013 list of goals for anything editing that didn’t seem too stressful, and I’ve been working at polishing my first Roswell/Smallville fanfic crossover, Arrow through my soul. I always feel like ‘polishing’ fanfic will go quickly, and it never really does, but I’ve made some good progress, and it’s a short piece, around 27k.

One thing I’ve noticed is that even though I’m not trying to follow the Holly Lisle process in any way, what I’ve learned from those lessons is informing what I’m doing, from the way I look at commas and sentence flow, to cutting out wide swathes of text because they don’t add anything to the story I really wanted to tell. 🙂 That’s actually pretty cool.

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A revision pass on the Kindle

February 15, 2013

So, I’m in the middle of my last read-through for the How to Revise your Novel course by Holly Lisle. I’m actually a little off the track of the standard lessons at this point, because of how much working with paper and pen saps my creative energy. The standard plan is to do four passes with pen and paper:

  1. Block revision (Lesson 17)
  2. Line editing (Lesson 18)
  3. Polishing (Lesson 19)
  4. Scene Beginnings, endings, and pacing (Lesson 20)

Then Lesson 21 is “The Type-in”, where you take all those pages and update your digital document with the changes, typing in the new stuff that you’ve written out in long-hand.

I would not have survived this process with my sanity intact. 😉 I did Block Revision with a lot of printed pages with pens, but also used the Alphasmart to type in new scenes or segments. After Block Revision was finished, I did the type-in, (though I didn’t really realize that was what I was doing,) and did the next 3 passes on the netbook, in Microsoft Word with ‘track changes’ turned on so that I could see what I was changing at each step, and copying to a new MSword file and accepting changes in the new document before starting the next pass.

So, I wasn’t quite sure how to approach lesson 21 at first. I shared my story on the Holly Lisle boot camp forums, and somebody suggested reading through it one more time, ‘on a different device or at least a different font’ so that I’d have a fresh chance to notice any possible issues, and then move on to a few final exercises in the lesson. So I converted the book to Kindle format and I’ve been proofing it that way.

It’s been interesting. So far, I’m a little less than half-way through, and I’ve already made over 300 annotations on the Kindle. And I’ve noticed I see to be developing a particular shorthand that’s different from the sort of notes I make when I’m reading on the Kindle to critique somebody else’s work. For one thing, I’m using the word ‘cut’ a lot – either by itself, when I’m cutting the word that the cursor is on, or with a little more context: ‘cut 5’ to delete a phrase that’s five words long, (generally trusting that I can figure out in what direction to go,) ‘cut comma’ or similar for eliminating punctuation. If I’m not quite sure what changes need to be made, I might just note ‘rephrase’ or something like that.

I’m pleased with the way this is going, and hopefully it’ll keep going quickly: both the reading and updating my manuscript with the changes. ‘Children’ is already out for Dedicated Readers at critters.org, though so far I’ve only received one reply and that was by someone asking what the plot of the overall book was; I probably should have included that with the first chapter, but considering that I don’t have a proofed copy to send back yet, I’m in no hurry to reply.


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 fanfiction.net 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 fanfiction.net 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.


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