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#1 of 33 Old 05-02-2009, 06:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Noveling in April

Starting a new thread!

I don't have a whole lot to show for myself. I did complete the short story I've been devoting the bulk of my time to. I don't think I've ever had a story get away from me like that one did!

I took a little mini-vacation in Del Rio this Spring Break and came back knowing I wanted to write a story set there. It's a real atmospheric place, shall we say. The story is set in "my" universe & stars the main character from my book. It's set much after the novel, and gives away something (that, really, is going to be kind of expected from the novel). I'm going to let it sit a few days, get it into second draft form, and put it up on the internet. I did promise y'all would get to read it. I started out with one idea, took it in a slightly different direction from that, and then at the end it managed to run off into something I did not see coming! And that is all I will say about that, until I get it up.

This coming week is finals week. I'm looking for a summer job but if I don't land one I will make the novel my main occupation aside from motherhood. I also want to see if I can find a home for the short story.

How are things coming for everyone else?

Sabra: Mama to Bobbie (3/02), Linda (1/04), Esther (10/05), Marie (11/10), & Douglas (11/12)

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#2 of 33 Old 05-02-2009, 11:23 PM
 
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Today was pretty awesome as far as writing goes. I needed an awesome writing day. I've been working on getting us into a rhythm around here so I can have more uninterrupted writing time. Before our daily life looked like partially organized chaos.
I've decided to cut back on blogging to devote more writing time to the novel. I probably will never get anywhere career wise with blogging anyway, so 4 days a week should be enough.
Today, I wrote 2 blogs, and around a thousand or so words on the novel. I did a word count before today's writing and am around 12,000 words. That's more than I thought I had! If a novel is 50,000, I'm almost a fourth of the way there.
I'm starting to think I might have too much going on in one novel though and may need to cut back - consecutive pregnancies, new marriage, jealous wife, house fire, new job, deadbeat dad returning after child is an adult, secrets, etc... Too much?? When I got into this I thought since it would be so long I'd need a lot to work with, now I'm having a hard time getting it all in there. This doesn't even include how the characters develop or the events in the ending. Yikes!

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#3 of 33 Old 05-03-2009, 04:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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That does sound like a lot. But if you are careful to avoid cliches, it can work and work well. Just choose what you will emphasize & remember you can always leave an occasional loose end (after all, things don't tie together neatly in real life) and there's nothing wrong with setting yourself up for a sequel.

Sabra: Mama to Bobbie (3/02), Linda (1/04), Esther (10/05), Marie (11/10), & Douglas (11/12)

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#4 of 33 Old 05-03-2009, 03:35 PM
 
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We are almost done with chapter 4. I got a little distracted this month, two of my dc had some health issues that needed my undivided attention. We still have not found a buyer for our property that will pay our asking price so dh is still working outside the home, wish us luck there we desperately need it.

eastkygal could your book maybe be expanded on and made into several books instead of the one? Then instead of trying to cram the information down you could add more.

Loved wife to JT and grateful mother to M (dd age 13) L (dd age 10) T (ds age 6) A (ds age 4) E (dd age 2) and C & S (twin boys born 10/13/10)
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#5 of 33 Old 05-03-2009, 06:23 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eastkygal View Post
Today was pretty awesome as far as writing goes. I needed an awesome writing day. I've been working on getting us into a rhythm around here so I can have more uninterrupted writing time. Before our daily life looked like partially organized chaos.

If a novel is 50,000, I'm almost a fourth of the way there.
I'm starting to think I might have too much going on in one novel though and may need to cut back - consecutive pregnancies, new marriage, jealous wife, house fire, new job, deadbeat dad returning after child is an adult, secrets, etc... Too much?? When I got into this I thought since it would be so long I'd need a lot to work with, now I'm having a hard time getting it all in there. This doesn't even include how the characters develop or the events in the ending. Yikes!
Good for you on the awesome day. I, too, am trying to get into a rhythm around here. A novel, however, is not 50k. That is a novella. A novel is 80k - 100k from what I have read. I'm nowhere close to that yet, but that is what I have seen here and elsewhere. so keep that stuff coming.
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#6 of 33 Old 05-03-2009, 08:07 PM
 
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I've always thought that over 50,000 was novel. 20,000 -50,000 is novella. But whatever. If I have to do 80,000-100,000 I can make all that work no problem I believe. Whatever comes of the word count it will be what it is. I'm not striving for a certain amount of words. Just a complete story. The novel is actually a continuation of short story I've written. I just loved the characters.

Appalachian mountain woman, radical homemaker, homeschooler, childbirth educator, and doula loving her DH and three powerful little femmes. Deladis 8-4-05, Ivy 4-28-08, and Gweneth 7-21-12 HBA2C! hbac.gif  -  blogging.jpg ribboncesarean.gif

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#7 of 33 Old 05-03-2009, 11:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eastkygal View Post
I'm starting to think I might have too much going on in one novel though and may need to cut back - consecutive pregnancies, new marriage, jealous wife, house fire, new job, deadbeat dad returning after child is an adult, secrets, etc... Too much?? When I got into this I thought since it would be so long I'd need a lot to work with, now I'm having a hard time getting it all in there. This doesn't even include how the characters develop or the events in the ending.
If the characters are engaging you can get away with writing a soap opera. I love the Outlander Series, which may have all of the above story-lines going.

Jenny, reading & writing mama of dd(18), ds(6), and ds(3)
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#8 of 33 Old 05-04-2009, 08:14 AM
 
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If the characters are engaging you can get away with writing a soap opera. I love the Outlander Series, which may have all of the above story-lines going.
It does sound like a soap opera. It's actually written to be Appalachian literary fiction. Somewhere in there is lodged comments on humanity and society.: I've never read the Outlander Series. I'll have to look that up.

Appalachian mountain woman, radical homemaker, homeschooler, childbirth educator, and doula loving her DH and three powerful little femmes. Deladis 8-4-05, Ivy 4-28-08, and Gweneth 7-21-12 HBA2C! hbac.gif  -  blogging.jpg ribboncesarean.gif

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#9 of 33 Old 05-05-2009, 04:18 AM
 
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I'm not noveling - rather more like 'memoiring' and I haven't written a word in several weeks as life has been in upheaval over family health and other things.

But now I have my writing space all set up and I'm ready to throw myself into this. I have even selected the prize I hope to enter for Sept 1 this year, so is this a fiction-only deal or do you have room for a memory-writer among you?
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#10 of 33 Old 05-09-2009, 01:41 AM
 
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Originally Posted by enfpintj View Post
Good for you on the awesome day. I, too, am trying to get into a rhythm around here. A novel, however, is not 50k. That is a novella. A novel is 80k - 100k from what I have read. I'm nowhere close to that yet, but that is what I have seen here and elsewhere. so keep that stuff coming.
From what I read, it depends on the genre. This is the list I found (you'd have to check around for accuracy but it came from a published writer's site):

ya: 45,000 to 62,500 words 180-250 pgs
scifi: 65000-85000 and up pgs 260-340
fantasy: 80000-120000 pgs 320-480
mainstream: 85000-110000 pgs 340-440
romance: 50000-85000 pgs 200-340

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#11 of 33 Old 05-12-2009, 12:42 PM
 
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Thats the list I've seen, too. I always think about different famous books and their word counts- The Great Gatsby, for example is 50,000 (approx.) But then, something like Lord of the Rings is more like 300,000.

I think going for the story is the most important.

I'm such a big fan of NaNoWriMo's 50,000 challenge because it stretches you into novel territory for a first draft, then they encourage you to expand and edit.

This being said...I should be writing...
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#12 of 33 Old 05-12-2009, 01:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Took me a while to find this since it's been pinned!

I think the genre list is fairly accurate. There are certain writing conventions in one genre that probably won't spill over into another: imagine The Great Gatsby written in the style of LotR! Fantasy is really a world unto itself. If you're writing high fantasy you can get away with things that would never be allowed in other genres, especially a glacially-slow pace.

Fitzgerald was basically writing pop novels. They were very au courant and linked to their setting. Though most of us have read The Great Gatsby, none of his other novels weathered nearly so well. They were best sellers in their day, though.

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#13 of 33 Old 05-12-2009, 03:37 PM
 
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Yeah, I read literary fiction mostly and when I think of my favorite novels few of them reach the 400 page mark. Has anyone seen a bracket for literary fiction? It probably varies so much that there isn't a set amount of pages. I think that is why shooting for 50,000 words as cdmaze was saying is a good springboard.

I posted a little about my novelling journey in the regular forum. I'm stuck and need a push, if anyone would like to offer their thoughts.

Appalachian mountain woman, radical homemaker, homeschooler, childbirth educator, and doula loving her DH and three powerful little femmes. Deladis 8-4-05, Ivy 4-28-08, and Gweneth 7-21-12 HBA2C! hbac.gif  -  blogging.jpg ribboncesarean.gif

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#14 of 33 Old 05-12-2009, 06:37 PM
 
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Mother's Day marked a good day for writing for me - DH kept the DC occupied for three hours! that's just what I wanted. And I started a new blog - The Green Mamas - with my beautiful SIL...

edited chapter three!

on to chapter four....:
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#15 of 33 Old 05-13-2009, 06:04 PM
 
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I've begun my writing schedule which I anticipate will see me with a finished first draft memoir by the end of July. Hopefully that will give me time to edit before submission deadline on Sept 1st. Only need three polished chapters and a synopsis but standard must be high. Wish me luck!
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#16 of 33 Old 05-13-2009, 06:50 PM
 
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I am now over 3/4 finished with my first draft ever! Still writing by hand and have no idea how many words or pages I have. It has taken me three months, loving almost ever minute of the writing.

Question: I know there will be lots of rewriting. If there is a main character who isn't coming off of the page as well as the others, have you found that it helps to write some of the chapters first person from that bland character's point of view? I'm willing to try if I can get a better feel for her that way.

eastkygal - what are some of your favorite literary fiction books? I need some good stuff to read while I'm writing.

Jenny, reading & writing mama of dd(18), ds(6), and ds(3)
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#17 of 33 Old 05-13-2009, 10:17 PM
 
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Anything by Silas House (he has three novels will soon have 5). The Dollmaker by Harriet Arnow. Toni Morrison's work is great. The Midwife's Tale by Gretchen Kaskas. River of Earth by James Still is a beautiful work. To Kill a Mockingbird. I could go on for days I suppose.

So, what do you all read while novelling? How much time do you devote to reading while in a major project? Do you read novels, short stories, nonfiction?

Appalachian mountain woman, radical homemaker, homeschooler, childbirth educator, and doula loving her DH and three powerful little femmes. Deladis 8-4-05, Ivy 4-28-08, and Gweneth 7-21-12 HBA2C! hbac.gif  -  blogging.jpg ribboncesarean.gif

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#18 of 33 Old 05-13-2009, 11:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Question: I know there will be lots of rewriting. If there is a main character who isn't coming off of the page as well as the others, have you found that it helps to write some of the chapters first person from that bland character's point of view? I'm willing to try if I can get a better feel for her that way.
Well, I can't stand shifting POVs in a novel (just had to read Alias Grace for English class, and I hated that sucker so much I sold it to the bookstore for $1--happily). And I wouldn't put something in a novel I knew I'd have to take out later.

What I would do is write a short story featuring that character. Send her off on her own & see what she gets up to. That might be first person, & you might wind up liking the character better.

Quote:
So, what do you all read while novelling? How much time do you devote to reading while in a major project? Do you read novels, short stories, nonfiction?
Oh, I read all the time. I need to get on the waiting list for the latest Sookie Stackhouse novel at the library. I read when I'm somewhere I can't write easily, or when I don't feel like writing. I'm a bookworm. When it comes to fiction I mostly read within my own genre--that's why I'm writing it, because I enjoy it. Nonfiction for me is usually political or memoirs. I've got books by Mike Huckabee & Ted Nugent floating around, though I can't get into either of them. (Nugent, for one, writes exactly like he talks. It's exhausting.)

Sabra: Mama to Bobbie (3/02), Linda (1/04), Esther (10/05), Marie (11/10), & Douglas (11/12)

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#19 of 33 Old 05-15-2009, 10:20 AM
 
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Thanks for your book recommendations.

I can't seem to stop reading while novel writing. Here's what I've read in the last month or two (other than all those kids books):

Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout (good writing but reads like short stories instead of a novel)

The Complete Guide to Writing Fiction, by Barnaby Conrad (not recommended, try John Gardner instead)

The Family Man, by Elinor Lipman (funny)

On Becoming a Novelist, by John Gardner

The Art of Fiction, by John Gardner

Tea Time for the Traditionally Built, by Alexander McCall Smith (good for a dark mood)

Wishful Drinking, by Carrie Fisher

Nickel Mountain, by John Gardner

The House at Riverton, by Kate Morton

I tried one chapter in first person and she was even more pathetic than usual --- drunk too. Maybe I will try a short story from another time in her life (pre or post alcoholism). Thanks for the tip.

Jenny, reading & writing mama of dd(18), ds(6), and ds(3)
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#20 of 33 Old 05-16-2009, 11:41 AM
 
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I've pushed through this writing lull and I have 20,000 words now. I don't know if it's much good, but it's okay. I want to get as much done on this novel before we leave on the 29th for New Echota and Walden's Ridge to research my other novel based on the life of my great great grandmother. I hope that working on getting that one started will make me fresh to work again on this one when we return. I'll probably work on both of them at once for a time. I wonder how that will go. I think the one I'm researching for will be the easier to write. It's more cut and dry... not so reliant on character thoughts.

Appalachian mountain woman, radical homemaker, homeschooler, childbirth educator, and doula loving her DH and three powerful little femmes. Deladis 8-4-05, Ivy 4-28-08, and Gweneth 7-21-12 HBA2C! hbac.gif  -  blogging.jpg ribboncesarean.gif

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#21 of 33 Old 05-17-2009, 02:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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OK, I finally have that story ready for y'all to read!

La Llorona

Few things here:
  • Although this is NOT the first draft, I don't consider it a final draft either.
  • Be aware that the story will act like you know some things. I know you don't, but it's supposed to read like a vignette from the MC's life. So ask about anything you need clarification on.
  • This is in the same world, with the same characters, as the excerpt I posted earlier. It takes place much later, though, and kinda gives away a plot point.
  • I'm sure I've made mistakes in issues like police work or healthcare. Or Spanish. If anything glaring jumps out at you, please let me know, but there's a good chance I bent it to fit the story.
  • If you don't like guns, zombies, and cursing, you should probably avoid the story.

Anyway, feedback is appreciated. And if you can come up with a better idea for a title, please let me know. I hate titling things with a passion, and this is all I could think of.

For the record, that church is real. I had three kids with me when I saw it, so I didn't get close enough to really nose around it, but I do have a picture. If you're curious, let me know & I'll put it up on Photobucket and post a link to it.

Also, duh, if that link looks really funky let me know. I typed the story up in Open Office, saved it as an HTML file, and uploaded the file to Angelfire directly. I think it's pretty readable, but if not let me know & I'll see what I can do to fix it.

Thanks, ladies!

Sabra: Mama to Bobbie (3/02), Linda (1/04), Esther (10/05), Marie (11/10), & Douglas (11/12)

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#22 of 33 Old 05-17-2009, 09:42 PM
 
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Okay, more food for thought on our length discussion. I am re-reading Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye. 216 pages including the Afterword. It has multiple POVs and main characters. And multiple minor characters with names. Lots you can do in so few pages and it still work. It won a Nobel Prize and was Toni Morrison's first novel.

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#23 of 33 Old 05-17-2009, 11:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, there are some very good short novels out there. But I will say I think you have to be at the absolute top of your game to write a very good short novel. There's a lot less room to correct missteps, kwim? It's why I write very few short stories.

Today I have been researching black magic. I feel kinda guilty doing it, but I'm only using it for my book. I also looked up a spell to bind a demon into a crystal. Isn't the internet a wonderful thing?

Sabra: Mama to Bobbie (3/02), Linda (1/04), Esther (10/05), Marie (11/10), & Douglas (11/12)

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#24 of 33 Old 05-22-2009, 06:52 PM
 
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I can't believe it - I LOST 2 chapters! I had to rewrite them, thankfully it's still all up there in my mind, but darn it! WTH? Anyway, I'm on to editing chapter 5 this weekend...WHY is editing so darn slow!!!!!!!! boring...I want to write the sequel instead!

but editing I must do...any recommendations on how to "do" it? books out there? what do you do to edit your work? do you go chapter by chapter? or what?
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#25 of 33 Old 05-23-2009, 03:10 PM
 
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MommyHawk: Oh my! How did you lose two chapters?!
Note to self: Must back up work....

eastkygal: I have two projects going, and I find it very helpful. When I'm stuck on one, I can work on another, and I still feel like I'm making progress, while giving myself a break.


And I did some work on researching word counts - I looked up word counts on the books that are in the same "bracket" that mine is, as well as recommendations on various blogs for literary agents.

Since my fantasy seems to be coming out to be YA fantasy, I'm aiming for 60K, and about 1/2 way there.

34.5K lined up to 100 pages today, and I'm celebrating. I can't believe I stuck with a story for 100 pages! : I really hope to hit 40K by the end of this long weekend.

New endeavor coming soon...
Raising Alice in Wonderland (DSD, 17), and in love with a Superman
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#26 of 33 Old 05-24-2009, 08:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Congrats on hitting 100 pages! I finally buckled down and put some work into my novel today, but had to stop for the kids to come back from Dad's (I'll get some more in on it later on once they're in bed). I'm on pg. 94. No idea how many words that is, since I'm writing by hand & have a lot of things scratched out. But it feels good to be getting back in the groove.

Sabra: Mama to Bobbie (3/02), Linda (1/04), Esther (10/05), Marie (11/10), & Douglas (11/12)

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#27 of 33 Old 05-25-2009, 10:55 PM
 
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I should be on top of the world right now. I finished my 1st rough draft ever. It needs oodles of revision, probably at least one entire rewrite, but the basic story is down on paper. Three months of writing... WOW.

I wish I could focus on my accomplishment instead of:

* feeling guilty because my husband had a horrendous time with the kids today

* being depressed at the sentimentality of my over-the-top love story - I know I can make it work with rewrites, and boost the length (currently 50K?) with all the details I failed to notice because my eyes were fixed on the characters, but there is a feeling of let-down. Is this normal?

* thinking about putting it on the computer, ugh...

* continuing to hide my passion from everyone is so tiring (DH thinks I'm getting out for "time to myself"), but I know they'll want to read my junk if they know, I can't have that --- my people are the most critical I know.

And yet, I'm still in love with the story, and looking forward to starting my revisions, so go figure.

MommyHawk, I just checked a book out of the library called The Writer's Handbook for Editing and Revision, by Rick Wilber. I haven't spend any time with it yet, but I'll let you know soon!

Jenny, reading & writing mama of dd(18), ds(6), and ds(3)
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#28 of 33 Old 05-26-2009, 05:46 PM
 
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The Writer's Handbook for Editing and Revision, by Rick Wilber was NOT at all helpful - the information was geared toward the freelance magazine/newspaper writer, NOT the novel writer.

Anyone else have suggestions for the revision process? Read through first? Read out loud? Type onto computer (from notebook) while fixing obvious mistakes? Is it best to fix the grammatical or structural/plot errors first? Stand on my head while eating a cracker?

Jenny, reading & writing mama of dd(18), ds(6), and ds(3)
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#29 of 33 Old 05-26-2009, 07:30 PM
 
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I'm not in the editing stage yet, but I think my plan will be taking one chapter at a time and making it perfect, by giving it 2-3 rewrites, and only then moving on to the next one.
I'm not sure how it will work out, as I have no finished first draft.

But congrats to you!

New endeavor coming soon...
Raising Alice in Wonderland (DSD, 17), and in love with a Superman
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#30 of 33 Old 05-30-2009, 09:48 AM
 
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Hi folks,

This is my first time on the novelling threads here. I'm about 23,000 words into the re-write of my NaNoWriMo novel which is a Regency romance. It's going OK, but I'm feeling a bit isolated. I used to be (still am) part of a nice online writers' group oriented towards fantasy, but it's been very quiet over there lately and I'm not writing fantasy these days! I just feel like I need a bit more community support.

I've had an interesting journey in the past couple of months getting back into writing more seriously. My husband lost his job in March (a good thing, as far as I'm concerned, because it was an unreasonably dangerous workplace) and I've slowly been working on him to take over a share of housework and childcare so I can get out of the house to write for an hour or two a day.

Anyhow, in response to JennyClaire's question, there are two books I would recommend reading in between drafts: Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass (which deals mostly with plot issues) and Elements of Style by Strunk and White. Neither of these is about editing exactly, but they're both good. I've heard that Self-Editing for Fiction Writers is good, but I've never used it myself (I think I have a copy in a box somewhere. I have a lot of books in boxes on the other side of the ocean).

Also, I think it's totally normal to feel a bit of let-down at the end of a first draft. You've been immersed in this project for months and now you're at a point where you have to figure out what to do next, both with the project and with your writing life.

OK, I'm going to get to work for the day before the baby wakes up. No more procrastinating!
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