[Minor dance party.]
Because I'm about to dive headfirst into the chaos that is revision -- and then headfirst again into the terror that is querying -- I'm taking a moment to bask. Join me?
... Basking ... Basking ... Basking ...
Considering that two years ago I'd never finished more than three chapters of a novel before abandoning it, this is a big deal. Writing isn't a quick process for me. I deliberate in my mind for minutes sometimes before moving on to another sentence.
The Good News: My first drafts are pretty tight.
The Bad News: My first drafts take two whole years.
Brief Timeline-y Goodness:
Months 1-6 (12/07-6/08) --- Turned my first three chapters from short stories into actual chapters that formed the basis of the entire novel. (Reading chapter one still gives me heartburn, even though it's beautiful now.)
Months 6-18 (6/08-6/09) --- Wrote chapters 4 to 9, which finished off the first half of the book. Helloooo, snail's pace.
Months 18-24 (6/09-12/09) -- I wrote the final nine chapters, 10 through 18, between June and now. Drastic increase in writing speed? I think so!
Now that I'm all done basking in the glow, here's what I have: 18 chapters; 99,497 words. AKA at least 20,000 words too many, according to most publishers. (I'm keeping all the chapters.)
My revision plan?
1. Outline the whole thing so that I can see the big picture, then revise via those notes and all the notes I've left myself throughout the writing process.
2. Re-read the fifty or so revision-related blog posts I've bookmarked, to open my brain to all I need to be thinking about. (If I follow your writing blog, you're probably included in this list, so thanks for the inspiration and excellent tips!)
3. Read my novel as a novel, instead of as a bunch of chapters. Revise on various levels -- character, plot, pacing, voice, etc.
4. Send to betas and revise via their notes.
5. Do the obsessive, nitty gritty "Should this be 'moves' or 'pushes'? A period or a comma?" revision.
6. Read it aloud to myself. Revise again.
7. Hopefully send to a couple last betas...
... and then maybe, just maybe, I can start sending it to agents. My goal is February.
(Oh, did I mention I'd also be creating a gigantic agent spreadsheet with all the details and info on the agents I want to query? Plus perfecting my query letter and synopsis.)
Yikes. On second thought, maybe I should've delayed writing that ending.
Anywho, since typing The End achieved a huge goal of mine, here's a lovely relevant link:
The wonderful -- and super-productive -- Maggie Stiefvater posted yesterday about smacking 2010 around with her New Year's Resolutions. If you want some inspiration, go read it!
I Want To KNOW!
What writing (or general life) goal are you working towards? Any achievements lately we can help you celebrate? (We love any excuse to celebrate!)
*I totally only typed "The End" because I needed to commemorate the momentous occasion. It felt so official! No worries, it will be struck from my Word document at some point.