Tag Archives: challenge

Project: Edit

18 Jan

The day has (finally) come: time to start reading through my second draft.  I couldn’t be more excited!  Now, I’m not going to refer to today as “Day One,” because my husband hates it — says it’s overused and inaccurate, sort of like the way people toss literally and ironic around haphazardly.  For example, before the final showdown on any given reality show (such as, of course, my favorite: Survivor) the final few start to reminisce about how they’ve been in it to win it since Day One, or in an alliance with so-and-so since Day One, or suffering through typhoons and enduring the eager parasites since Day One.  Very few of them actually mean Day One itself.

So!  Even though today is actually Day One of edits, I shall refrain from (officially) labeling it as such.  

Um.  Anyway.

Latte?  Check.  A fresh set of red pens ready to bleed on my pages?  Check.  Easy access to this and this (by Natalie Whipple and Holly Lisle) ready to go?  Check.  Cute new outfit from J. Crew that makes me feel like the writer/editor that I am?  Check!  A plan?  Check.

Perhaps now is a good time to mention that this plan of which I speak is going to get tested out for the first time starting this morning; therefore, it may get tweaked/trashed/overhauled along the way in favor of something better.  

What won’t change?  The end goal: to make this project an exciting, well-written novel; to inspire and entertain those who read it; to write characters who reach through the page to connect with the reader on an emotional level.  To not only write a novel, but to write an excellent novel.

It’s been so hard to take a break for this long, but I’m a) glad I did, and b) glad to get back to work.  Today’s task: start to read the thing, from front to back, checking to make sure my scenes are scenes and that the story is as interesting, fun, cohesive, and suspenseful as I hope it is.  (Preparing myself to read with objective eyes, in 3…2…1…)

I know at least a few of you are working on your own edits — how is that going?  What has worked well for you along the way?  This is also a question for those of you who, even though you might not be editing right this minute, have done it before.  I’d love to hear what worked well from those of you already on the other side of edits.  (Side note: as I write this, I remember Jennifer Neri wrote a post about this type of thing recently, too — you can find it here!)

I’d love to stay and chat, but well, there’s a two-inch stack of pages just itching to be sliced up with my pens.  

PS: In the sidebar, I added a new(ish) page called “Challenges!”  This is a place where I’ve started an organized, easy-to-access list of my writing process, and the various challenges I’ve set for myself/others along the way (Oktoberzest and Diligent December, for example).  I’ll be keeping it current as I progress through Project: Edit.

Project: Diligent December

1 Dec

December’s here, and I can’t believe it, really.

Time’s flying, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.  Seriously — it feels like just a few days ago that I was embarking on my Oktoberzest project, just a few days ago when NaNoWriMo started (then promptly ended).  

Now, here we are, first day of the last month of this decade.  

I haven’t written anything on my novel since before we left for Kansas, but that is about to change.  Though I have a surprising amount of catching up to do from our time away — emails, phone calls, all those people I told, “Let’s hang out the week after Thanksgiving break – I’ll be free then!” — I’m close to the point where I can kick it with my writing goals again.

Eesh.  I’m at a Starbucks — a very crowded Starbucks — and I’ve just been encroached upon by an unavoidably unfortunate whiff of something that smells like too-fruity teenage lip gloss.  Oh — wait, what’s that?  Thank you, thank you, no seriously THANK YOU, kind sir in the cowboy hat and cowboy boots for offering to share your large table with Tooty-Fruity-Lip-Gloss-Lady.  My nose appreciates your generosity.

Now that that’s resolved: where was I?  Oh, yes.  Goals.  December Goals.  

My daily word-count goal for December is yet to be determined, but the overarching goal: finish this draft before Christmas Eve.  It’s more than possible; I’ve got somewhere in the twenty-ish-thousand range remaining.  If I really hunker down (yes, I did just say ‘hunker’…) I’ll be done sooner than Christmas Eve, even.  So, Project Diligent December is now on!  Doesn’t flow as well as Oktoberzest, but whatever.  

Any of y’all have goals you hope to accomplish during December?  If you need/want/require/will-just-die-without accountability — especially with busy holidays fast approaching, or perhaps you have post-NaNo burnout but still need to get stuff done — feel free to post your own Diligent December goals in the comment section.  Encouragement and accountability shall be yours in return!

In closing, I’m proud to mention (something that has nothing to do with anything) I can now actually call myself an honorary Norwegian.  I married into a family of lefse-making experts, and have struggled to get my lefse¹ to work out ever since our first year of marriage.  Today, though, I made a perfect batch.  It’s thin, fluffy, light, and best of all, the dough didn’t stick to one single thing.  

December is already working in my favor.

¹Lefse, in case you don’t know, is a traditional Norwegian food.  Basically, you make a dough out of mashed potatoes, roll it out, and cook it like a tortilla.  My husband’s family makes it on Thanksgiving and Christmas, and it’s traditional to drink a lot of beer while doing so.  We butter it and pour ghastly amounts of sugar on it, roll it up, and enjoy.  In the past, my mashed potatoes always turned out too wet, and the dough would stick to the pastry cloth and the rolling pin.  Not pretty.  (Oh: the picture at the top is of lefse-making utensils.  I think they’re cute.)

To NaNo, or not to NaNo…

20 Sep

NaNoWriMo.  The word alone makes me itch to try it!  

For the unfamiliar: NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, which is a challenge for writers to write madly throughout the entire month of November, in hopes of meeting a 50,000 word deadline.  For those who are unfamiliar with what 50,000 might mean in terms of effort, it’s a daunting and difficult prospect, though it can be done by the duly diligent. 

I love a challenge.  Plus, I have an idea, one that may not see the light of day for a while, since it’s wholly different from my current work in progress.

The dilemma?  I’m still working on my second draft, steeped in the world I’ve made.  Though I’ve made great progress, I’m just far enough from the end that it would be quite the stretch to finish this draft before November.  I can’t justify abandoning my project mid-draft, nor do I have the desire to do so.  However, maybe it’s precisely the catalyst I need to push through, though I’d never want to sacrifice quality for the sake of a self-imposed deadline¹.

I’m undecided, at this point.  Are any of you guys planning to participate?  Have you done it before, and if so, how did it influence your current writing habits?

¹Funny.  NaNoWriMo itself is a sort of self-imposed deadline, though I see it with a different purpose than everyday writing.  NaNo is a chance to tackle a new project, a chance to stretch your diligence muscle, to challenge your focus, to get words down on the page, to inspire confidence that yes, you can do this, if you just stick with it.  My current project, though, is in need of quality words at the moment, not mere quantity, the very opposite of writing just to get words down on the page.