Revisions (aka WTF)

When I finished my first draft of book #2 I immediately had a glass of wine and patted myself on the back. I’m DONE! I exclaimed to my ever-patient/ever-supportive husband, who filled up my glass and let me bask in the glow of my accomplishment for a few blissful moments.

It was around the last sip of glass #2 that I remembered I wasn’t done, really. Not even close. (which sobered me up enough to have a third glass of wine) Because while I knew the book had legs, I also knew it had a long way to go to get wings. I want this book to positively sparkle before I send out a single query letter. And that takes work. Killing my darlings kind of stuff.

And then I felt like this:

Because the truth is I haven’t ever revised a full novel all in one sitting. Book #1 was revised as I wrote. Some weeks all I did was polish a chapter, rather than writing the next one.

So I vowed to do book #2 differently. I caressed and massaged the idea for a while, then I wrote an outline detailing all the plot points, character traits, and other goodies I could come up with. I engaged forced my husband to listen to my ideas and read the outline. He liked it, which immediately told me I had something (the genre is women’s fiction, so he is not the target market obviously). And then while he and my daughter spent the long weekend up at the cottage, I sat at our kitchen table and wrote nearly 20,000 words in two days. It looked a little like this:

NanoWrimo got me another 50,000 words, and by January 2nd I had finished the book.

I am not one of those writers who wants to hide her work. I am not fearful of someone telling me it sucks. So out book #2 went, in all its rawness, to beta readers and my critique partners, who together are God’s gifts to a writer. Truly. I’m also using revision workbooks and tips from other authors, and letting my own instincts for storytelling (and my experiences with book #1) guide me the rest of the way.

And with all that, hopefully by early spring this is how I’ll be feeling about the state of book #2:

Wish me luck!

Book #2

It’s been nearly three months since I’ve blogged here. (oops)

But enough about that. I’m back, and I have a few things to say.

One, I finished book #2. Like, wrote ‘the end’ finished. Here it is, printed out and ready for polishing.

It’s hovering around 87,000 words and most of them I like. Which is amazing to me. Book #1 took nearly 6 years, and now I understand why taking that long isn’t the best idea: it makes the story less sticky, the threads weaker, and the tension tenuous.

Of course now I have to edit all those words (gulp), but I’ve started and I will finish. Soon, I hope, because book #3 is calling my name…

As for a book #1 update, after 40 queries I had 4 agents read all of it and one read part of it. All rejected it, but four agents expressed interest in seeing my next project. My plan is to revisit book #1, to take the valuable feedback (which I agree with), and to rewrite it. But not yet. First I need to give book #2 some wings.

I have a few plans for this space. I’m going to continue (hopefully more regularly) writing about writing. I also hope to put up links to contests and post other resources for writers. And I’m going to blab about my own project(s), even if just for my mom, my CPs, and a few of my kind social media friends.

So on that note, here’s the blurb for book #2:

The Doctor’s Daughter: Surgeon Penley Attwater returns to her tiny, hackneyed hometown to take over her dead father’s medical practice, bringing with her a shocking pregnancy and a mysterious genetic legacy, whose secrets jeopardize the life she’s come to love.

 

A Writing Marathon – Day 16

Na.No.Wri.Mo is officially half over…and amazingly, I have kept on track! I’m now at 25,353 words for the first 15 days of the month (whew!), and have another 25,000 to go. I’m still getting up at 5am to write, but the mini is never far behind. Which means my fave time to write, early in the morning in the dark with a strong, hot coffee beside me, has been compromised. But she’s cute, especially with bedhead and in PJs, so she is forgiven.

As for how I’m feeling during this whirlwind writing marathon?

There have been exactly 3 days where I’ve felt like this:


And the other 12? Pretty much like this:


That about sums it up!

If you’re doing Na.No this month, hope it’s going well. I think it’s the most amazing thing, the number of collective words being written this month all around the world…but that’s the nerdy writer in me coming out : )

Blog hop time!

Even though I’m deep into NaNoWriMo (okay, not exactly ‘deep’ seeing as it’s only day 2…), I wanted to take a few minutes to respond to this blog hop. One of my lovely critique partners, Abby (*waving, Abby!*) tagged me, and because I try to do what she says (at least when it comes to my manuscript), here are my answers:

Where did you get the idea for your book?
The idea for my WIP (work in progress), tentatively titled ‘The Doctor’s Daughter’, came from a lunchtime chat I had with the lovely Jenn Reynolds, a magazine editor I work with. I actually ended up writing a story on the topic, but there was one particular question she put to me that made me ask … ‘What if?’ And it all flowed from there.

What’s the genre of your book?
Women’s Fiction.

Which actors would you choose to play the characters in your movie?
Hmmm. Haven’t thought about this before. But am thinking about it now…

My elevator pitch:
No real pitch yet, as I’m only partway through a first draft. But here’s the main gist of the story:

A young surgeon’s choice to return to her tiny hometown and take over her Dad’s medical practice after he dies is determined by the result of a pregnancy test…a pregnancy with a very surprising twist!

Obviously there’s a lot more to it, but I’m not far enough in yet to really describe the highlights. I will say I’m writing some nice romance elements into this one … and the teensiest bit of magical realism.

Will your book be represented by a publisher or self-published?
Dear Gawd, I hope it will (one day) be represented by a publisher!

How long did it take you to write the first draft?
I started writing it September 2. My goal is to have a first draft done, or nearly done, by the end of NaNoWriMo, so November 30th. Then the editing begins!

What other books compare in your genre?
I think if you crossed the movies Hope Floats with Doc Hollywood, and added in a dash of Practical Magic, you’d have something similar : )

Who or what inspired your book?
Well, Jenn definitely asked the right question that day!

What else about the book might pique the readers’ interest?
There’s a much bigger theme in this book about the idea of family – what constitutes a ‘family’ and how far one will go to create, and protect, that.

I’m not going to tag anyone right now, because I know many are toiling away at NaNo…or busy living life : )

NaNoWriMo

I’m embarking on a little writing exercise called ‘NaNoWriMo‘ this month…for those who know what this is, you know that calling it ‘little’ is silly. And for those who have never heard of it, here’s the deal:

NaNoWriMo is the short form for “National Novel Writing Month” … a web-based contest of sorts that is all about writing a novel in a month: 50, 000 words in November. It’s crazy! It’s coffee-fueled! It’s fun! It’s so freaking hard to do!

I tried last year, but after about a week life got in the way. It’s hard to work, take care of the kiddo (who enjoys getting up while it’s still dark outside), take care of everything else AND be creatively writing every single day. Because if you break the numbers down, you need to write 1,667 words a day to hit the target. That may not seem like a lot. And admittedly, at first it wasn’t. But as the days wore on and my patience wore out, I found myself with no plot to speak of and no writer’s itch to scratch.

So this year I’m trying again. But I’m sort of cheating. I’ve already started my second book (NaNo rules state you can have an outline but nothing previously written down). I’m about 20K words in and while I have other ideas for other books, I really want to get this one finished. So my goal during NaNoWriMo is to get a solid first draft done…or almost done. If I can get 50K works written down this month, I’m going to be so SO close to having a first draft. Now it will likely be messy, because one of the rules of NaNo month is NO EDITING. And there’s good reason for that. You could toil away on a chapter or two for the entire month and make them so polished they’re blinding, but that isn’t going to get the other 50 chapters finished. So I’m trying very hard not to edit, to be a ‘pantser’ (this is someone who writes by the seat of their pants, versus plotting a storyline), and to write every single day.

My alarm is set for 5am so I can at least get 30 minutes in uninterrupted. This morning I got 700 words written before the kiddo burst out of her room, raring to go at 5:30 am. But I managed to find time to write another 1k today, so at least for day one, I’m on track!

If you’re also doing NaNoWriMo this month, please let me know! I’m happy to offer support and tell you to stop procrastinating on Twitter and get to work. As long as you’ll do the same for me…

So I raise my overly caffeinated coffee mug to all who have done this successfully, or are giving it a go this year – happy NaNoWriMo!

 

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