Saturday, June 9, 2012

Revising... and revising... and revising...

I got a little behind on revisions early in the week when I had to finish an article in time for a deadline instead.  (I am not freelancing as much as I used to, but I still am a little -- together with my busy summer schedule, it seems I may have less time for my novel than I'd planned.)  It was like that one day of doing nothing on my novel got me back out of the habit, and I've been struggling with it ever since.  I do work on it every day, but usually I only mark up a page or part of a page, either because I run out of time or I run out of patience.

Initially I didn't think revising was very hard, but I no longer feel that way.  On the surface the job doesn't seem difficult, but after revising even a page I often feel drained.  It's mentally taxing to cut up your own work like that, to read and analyze and be so focused on perfection (or as near to it as I can get).

I have a lot else to do this weekend, babysitting and working around the house; also, since the hard drive in my netbook died last week and had to be replaced, I have to work on setting up that computer all over again, and also setting up my old Averatec laptop to be used on a more regular basis.  In the midst of all this, though, I am going to try to knock out 30 pages or so of my novel manuscripts.  My normal goal for the month of June is 10 pages per day, so this will be a drop in the bucket compared to what I should be at this point (90 pages tonight as opposed to the 26 pages I'm actually at), but it will still go a long ways toward getting me back on track!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Beginning revisions

Camp NaNo has done it: It has broken the research barrier.  I've been putting off revisions of Ruby Ransome and Pandora's Box for months, until that illusive day comes to pass that I've finished all my research.  But under pressure to show some progress on the June session of Camp NaNo, despite the fact that it's not actually word count progress, I've started revisions anyway.  After all, I've done enough research to have an idea of what I want to add, so as I go through the novel I can just put in place markers for what I still need to finish researching.  For the majority of the revisions, though, research just isn't necessary.

Although I'd intended to focus my first round of revisions on the story and the history, I've found that I can't stop myself from marking up the text.  Things just jump out of at me, and I can't ignore it when I don't like a word choice, or phrasing, or a passage of description or dialogue.  So I mark it up.

So far, most pages look like this:


Please forgive the poor picture quality, but I don't think there's a way to take a screen shot on my Nook, and that's where I'm doing my revisions.  I'm doing them the way Stephen King suggests in On Writing -- reading through the entire manuscript, marking it up, and then going back in the actual file and making the changes -- but instead of lugging around the actual manuscript, I'm doing it in a PDF annotator app on my Nook.

But as you can see, the page is filled with orange boxes and text annotations.  (I chose the color orange to make it stand out readily without having the disapproving tone that red mark-ups tend to imply.)  It will be interesting to see how revisions go in this fashion.  I've never been a big one for revising -- with my blog posts and articles, I tend to revise as I go along, and then go back through one last time for revisions once the piece is written -- so revising a novel is pretty new for me, and I'm kind of figuring things out as I go along.

How do you do revisions?  Do you find this stage to be harder or easier than the actual writing stage?  I thought it would be harder for me, because I'm basically going back through my work and tearing it up, but I wrote it so long ago (and I'm more mature as a writer now, too, I think) that it doesn't feel as personal as it did when I was writing fiction in high school and college.  In fact, I think it's easier in a lot of ways, because it has already been written, it's already there; all I have to do is make it better!

Friday, June 1, 2012

The first session of Camp NaNoWriMo begins!

Camp NaNoWriMo started last night at midnight!  This is done a little differently than the usual NaNoWriMo in the fall -- it seems to be more relaxed, for one thing, and doesn't seem to have any of the official kick-off parties and meetings and write-ins.  Instead, you are assigned to a "cabin" with 3 to 5 other people, and you have a message board for communicating with one another.  You also have separate novel pages for both June and August -- since there is a session of Camp NaNo going on each of those two months.

All 3 of my other camp members started writing last night, and they are each at least a thousand words into their novels.  I'm doing things a little differently, as I mentioned in my blog post the other day -- I'll be revising November's novel this month, and writing its sequel in August.  I haven't actually started working on revisions yet, though I plan to this evening when I meet up with my local NaNo group -- most of us have known one another for years, thanks to NaNo, and although our meeting isn't official, we've all been meeting each week since November!

Wish me luck!