I haven’t published a blog post in a really long time but I hope to change that with weekly reports on my writing progress this NaNoWriMo season.
For those who don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, see my blog post about it here.
This year for NaNoWriMo I’m going to be a rebel. In 2014 I won NaNoWriMo with a book about witches and reincarnation and a woman trying to discover her past. Well, after all the frenzy of writing, that novel sat for a very long time.
You see, this is the very first novel that I’ve ever completed. This is a novel that I had an idea for at 10:30 on Halloween night. ( I technically cheated because I started writing it before midnight.) Everyday I would sit down and just write. A lot of it was staring at the screen until some words would come out.
It would take me hours each day to reach the 1,667 word count needed to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. I did this while I was enrolled in 13 credit hours, involved in my college’s color guard, and a member of a community service sorority.
Each day I would make the time to write or, more accurately, stare at my laptop screen. And at the end of the month I had somehow managed to write a novel with barely any planning or research.
It was a new experience. So is revising.
I’ve never really been that great at revising. To me, it’s like writing. It’s a skill you have to grow.
So, I approached editing as best I could. I bought a large journal and sectioned it out. The beginning pages are dedicated to characters and their traits. Then there is a page listing possible novel names. (I’m still working on the title.) Then I sectioned off each page with three columns. The top of the column said the chapter number and the number of pages in the chapter. Under that are the headings description, key events, and changes.
It doesn’t take me long to read 100 pages so in about a day or two I had read all of my novel with notes to boot. Then I promptly forgot about it or, more accurately, fondly thought of it but never actually did anything about it for a very long time.
Then I got tired of that. I got tired of remembering this project that I wanted to do something about but never actually did. So I went to Lulu.com, uploaded my novel so only I could see it, and then I shipped it in paperback form to my house. (Only 7 bucks with shipping for a 100 page paperback!)
I bought some post-its and got to work rereading it again.
This time I could compare notes I made the first time with thoughts about the novel that I had now. I made lists of the plot and lists of what I want to change. I made lists of the questions I had and all the problems I saw. Then I set out goals for the second draft.
This NaNoWriMo season I’m writing my second draft. Hence, the rebel part. I’m already a cheater too because I’ve started the first chapter. (The spirit of NaNoWriMo is really more in the doing and not the rules. So…. oh well.)
What I really want to do is write blog posts about my experience through editing and rewriting this second draft. Mostly, I want to do this to keep myself accountable. But I also want to do it because I have no clue how to do this. I’m making up the rules as I go along. If anyone else wants to read this and learn from what I do wrong and what I do right then that’s great.
NaNoWriMo is about a community helping each other to accomplish their dreams of writing a novel. So by writing about my experience I hope I can add to that community.
I don’t know what I’m doing. It’s new to me. But let’s see where it goes.
So here’s my revision update so far…
Chapter One got the ax. It was abstract, brought up things that never showed their faces in the rest of the novel, and had a completely different voice. It was pretty much a no brainer that I had to delete the entire chapter. (It was only two pages so no big deal.)
With the first chapter being gone I reworked the second chapter and completely rewrote it. I added new dialogue and new scenes while I still kept the heart of what the chapter was about.
So far I have 577 words done in the second draft and I still haven’t completed the new first chapter yet.
That’s where I am the night before NaNoWriMo.
Good luck to all my NaNo’s.
I’ll keep you posted.