Monday, December 19, 2011

Blogging Schedule Change

For a while now I've been focusing on my writing more than my blog. It's at a point where something has to give. I tried for so long to keep up with my blog posts Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I even sprinkled in some Writer Website Wednesday posts and In My Mailbox posts. It just all got to be too much. I found myself spending at least a day or two writing and scheduling blogs for the week. I need to focus that time on my writing, not my blog.

So, after much deliberation I have come to the conclusion to cut back on my blogging. As of the New Year I will post on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I will also completely be getting rid of my Writer Website Wednesday (and the page that goes along with it). In it's place I will be posting a new page that has resource links for writers. I have already started working on that page and will post it when it is complete. I also will not be doing any more of the In My Mailbox posts. As much as I loved doing that, I just need to take the time for writing instead.

Also, I will not be blogging for the rest of December. I will be celebrating Christmas with my family and I'd like to not be spending my time blogging, but actually visiting instead. I doubt I will have time to blog at all, until the New Year anyhow.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Holiday Season! I will see you again next year! :-)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Climbing Out Of The "I" Pitfall

I don't know why I didn't think of it on my own, but when I read the comment left by Linda on my blog last week I realized I should have given some examples of how I got out of the "I" pitfall with first person. So, as I edited a new chapter this week I highlighted some instances where there were too many I's in one paragraph or where they could just simply be cut all together. Here are four examples of what I did.

Barely There is a story about a girl named Phoebe who has just realized she's a ghost. I don't want to give too much away, but it's really hard not to.

Example 1:

Draft #1: "Patrick had been the one to take the picture. I remembered him getting on me about how I didn't smile enough. He promised to leave me alone if I smiled for one picture. That was the one they chose for my obit."
- There were 3 I's in that small section & about 4 more in the following paragraph that I deleted all together due to confusing voice in that one. 

Draft #2: "Patrick had been the one to take the picture. I remembered him getting on me about I didn't smile enough. He promised to leave me alone if he could get a smile for one picture. It was the one they chose for my obit.
- I only cut out 1 I, but with the following deleted paragraph I got rid of 5.

Example 2:

Draft #1: "I want to meditate again. Now that I know more I want to try again."
- That's a lot of I's for two sentences. Usually, I try not to have this many in a row.

Draft #2: "I want to meditate again. Maybe having this new information will help."
- Yay! I deleted 2 I's!


Example 3:

Draft #1: "Then again Josh was my first real boyfriend. I wasn't exactly a pro at dating or breaking up with guys."
- This was just me getting rid of an I that was not necessary.


Draft #2: "Then again, Josh was my first real boyfriend."
- I deleted the entire second sentence. It's obvious enough from the first sentence that Phoebe isn't a pro at all.


Example 4: 

Draft #1: "I watched a car that was lower to the ground cross just fine. That made up my mind. I pushed forward."
- This was a simple case of losing the "I watched." It's unnecessary.


Draft #2: "The car in front of me was lower to the ground and crossed just fine. That made up my mind. I pushed forward."



Your Turn -> Do you agree with the changes I made? Is there anything I could have done differently? Feel free to share changes you have made in your own "I" pitfall changes. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Big Edit

Since I'm in the midst of editing a manuscript that I truly enjoyed writing I have been searching for tips about editing everywhere. Last week I came across this blog post over at Kidlit.com. As I was reading I saw myself in both of the authors mentioned. I have had those moments where I have written something that I truly love and instead of making big changes I have done the "tinkering revision." I have also had those moments where I've done a huge edit and changed a lot, but somehow still walked away with some of the same problems on the page that were there before.

In the blog post, Mary Cole, says, "unless you make big changes, a revision isn't worth doing." As I read that comment in bold letters in the blog I thought, Well duh! Yet, at the same time, I know I'm guilty of not doing those big revision and, therefore, wasting time editing. I spent forever editing Midnight Raynne. I made enormous changes to the plot during my first round of edits. After that, the edits fell short of being big and looking back now, they were a waste of time. Maybe that's what got me burned out on the story. I have shelved Midnight Raynne for now, but when I pull it back out I hope that I am able to step back and see the big picture and what needs to be done.

Here in the present, though, I need to get my act together on Barely There. My goal is to have it out to Beta readers in either March or April. I would love to have it to the point that only small changes need to be made. I don't want the reader loosing interest or thinking why is this here. This all means that I need to make the big revision now. It's these kinds of edits that I'm going for now. Maybe this is why I've spent the past week going over three chapters so much. I refuse to go on until I'm sure that the chapters are in great shape.

I'm looking at everything from voice, dialogue, character, purpose, wording, the whole shebang of possible quirks I know I have is being ripped apart in those chapters. This kind of editing elicits several feelings in me, it's invigorating, exciting, daunting, and just down right overwhelming at times.

Your Turn -> Do you find yourself doing the "tinkering revisions" or are you the type that makes huge revisions? Are you like me, do you find yourself doing a little of both?

Friday, December 9, 2011

The "I" Pitfall of First Person

During the process of editing Barely There I started to notice a trend. I have these words that continually pop up. Big time! Trying to fix them I came upon an even bigger issue. "I"

I like to write in first person, so naturally my character says "I" a lot. In fact, too much. I sat down with a chapter and circled every instance of "I." Guess how many I found.

124

Seriously! That's insane! That comes to an average of a little more than 21 per page out of the six page chapter.

Through the process of editing I dwindled that number down to ... 90. I'll admit, I might have been able to cut it down more, but at the moment that was all I could bring myself to cut. Another round should drop it even more. 

And, no, that was not easy! Not by a long shot. In fact here's a little secret. I did a major revision of that chapter before I counted the 124 I's. Before that there had been 6-1/2 pages and 121 I's. So, in my "big revision" I created more of a problem with the I Pitfall. Now when I make my notes on the draft I have decided to circle every single "I" with a green highlighter. Then as I make those big revisions, the I's can dwindle.

This, of course, prompted me to look at the first two chapters that I had already edited, but not for the I's. I cut 34 I's in chapter 1 and 33 from chapter 2.

Cutting the I's wasn't the only thing that happened. Nope, in the process of cutting the I's out, I tightened up my wording a whole lot. This made me extremely happy. From now on I will search for the I's when I think I am completely done editing. Surely, there will be more to be done.

Your Turn -> Have you found yourself falling into the I Pitfall if you write in first person?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Revising the Goals

Originally my plan was to edit Barely There over the month of December and move on to my NaNo manuscript in January. I'm seven days into December and there is no way I'm going to get done with this round of edits by January. Especially with the holidays this month. It seems as though I have got a ton of things going on and then I will be headed to Texas this year for Christmas. I knew when I worked out my goals that I might be pushing it for my December goals.

Being busy this month isn't the only thing that makes this goal unrealistic. The fact that I am moving at a snails pace through each chapter is the biggest reason. It's taking me two days per chapter, at best. I have 27 chapter. Clearly at this speed I will not be getting this round of edits done by the end of December, maybe the end of January would be more appropriate. That's okay, though. My original plan was to deal with plot, character, and flow of the story this round of edits. Then on a subsequent round I would deal with tightening, wording, and anything else I found to be troublesome. Instead, I'm doing it all at once.

Either way, I still need to look at my month by month goal sheet and alter it to reflect this change of plans. I'm just hoping it doesn't take longer than two months to get this round of edits done.

Your Turn -> Do you set writing goals? If so, do you tend to bite off more than you can chew when you write out goals?

Monday, December 5, 2011

"Not" My New Favorite Word

I know I'm slightly late on getting this blog done, but last week was a mess for me. I spent the first part of the week trying to finish up my NaNoWriMo novel. Yes, I won this year!!! And I turned in my word count last weekend, but I still had my goal for the month to have it completed as well. And with my toddler waking up early every morning and then taking short naps I wasn't getting that time. So, the time I would have taken to write a blog post was spent finishing that manuscript. And, It's done! I finished it Wednesday afternoon, just in the nick of time. 

Thursday I found myself delving back into Barely There to do edits. In fact it's been going a lot slower than I had anticipated. Which means that I probably won't meet my December goal of having a second draft completed on this manuscript. I was hoping to have it completed and shelved, so I could go back to my NaNo manuscript in January. I'm just not sure that will happen, though. I will have to go back and reassess my goals at the end of the month. 




But, that doesn't explain the title of this post. Does it? No! Okay, so why do I love the word 'not'? Easy, that was my 50,000 word in my NaNo manuscript this month. Since this was my first NaNo win I decided to allow myself to celebrate with dancing around the house with the two year old. I'm pretty sure my thirteen year old thought I had lost my mind. (Something I enjoy making her think.)

Yes, I still have a bit to do on my NaNo manuscript when I return to it. But, it's actually good for a first draft. The only thing I don't like is the ending. I feel it's lacking some umph. That's okay. I can rewrite the ending during edits. Not a huge problem.

Your Turn -> If you won NaNo also, what was your 50,000 word?