Friday, March 23, 2007

Coffee Break 10

Word count: 74,414

OK, so I have been COOKING this week. I mean that metaphorically, as I haven’t had time for any real cooking, it’s been sandwiches and takeaways all the way as I haven’t done much except write. Not a bad plan due to the horrible chilly spell that has descended on Britain.

I now feel that I might even finish the book by the end of the month (a week today!), although I have a lecture to plan, features to write, and a whole variety of other work getting in the way. If I can finish by then it will JUST beat my previous record, with my first book, of three months to do a first draft.

However…this doesn’t of course mean it will be FINISHED, finished. It will really be only the beginning. The mid-April deadline we worked out this week means that once I’ve written THE END I will only perhaps have two or three days – rather than the usual few weeks – to let the book marinate in time, before I have to go back and edit. I worry a little that although this is a very straightforward book, I may fail to take advantage of nuances or opportunities to make it funnier/better. But then again my editor’s comments will then give me a new opportunity to revise and change and improve…

So, how are we all getting on? And my question this week is about how you edit…how long do you leave the book? do you do structural change first and then work at sentence level, or are you a multi-tasker who can manage it all simultaneously (in which case, you have my profound admiration)? All tips and tricks welcome!

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Blogger Novelgirl said...

Hi Kate looks like I'm the first one to reply...or will someone beat me?

Editing....I find this really hard not to do as I'm writing - why do we all need perfection? Well definitely me anyway! I try to just write and then edit afterwards but I find myself re reading work and editing as I go along - or just changing it completely - which is a pain - and maybe why I don’t have such a high word count! I’d love some tips from the others too...

This week has been very busy for me but I have managed to up my word count which is a miracle but I still feel as though I need to re think my plot a bit more before I can write the whole thing!

Anyway how is everyone else doing?

Until next week...


10:32 am  
Blogger Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Huge congratulations on your productivity, Kate. I don't truly know how I edit, as I'm in the middle of doing that very thing for the first time, but the system I'm working out for myself seems to involve sorting out the structure first, then working at scene level, then some more 'global' bits like making sure that each character's voice is consistent throughout, then sentence level.

On another matter, I got my copy of Shaggy Blog Stories this morning - it's a thrill to see myself in print! And it's a very enjoyable anthology. I'm supposed to be working but it's sitting on my desk looking all seductive and I keep thinking 'I'll just read ONE more'. I thought about putting it away in a drawer... but it would only call to me with sweet temptation...

10:53 am  
Blogger Lucy Diamond said...

Wow, Kate, I am deeply impressed by your astonishing word count. Well done, you shining example of a novel racer, you!

I tend to leave my first draft for a month to stew, then print it all out and go through it with the old red pen. I tend to do it in a single go and mark up everything as it strikes me - can't compartmentalise and do separate read-throughs for specific things, although I know this works for some people.
Then I'll make all my changes, try and leave it again for a week before reading and tweaking again and sending off.
But I've got a long way to go before I reach that stage, it all seems like wishful thinking at the moment!

Haven't managed anything on the novel this week (again) but am hoping to be back to it next week. But then, of course, we're getting towards Easter and school holidays and...
Oh dear. There's always something else to do, that's my problem!

11:11 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm back on track! Instead of getting bogged down in structural work, I've actually written some real prose. My resolution this week will be not to edit myself so much. I'm finding that a writing soundtrack for certain scenes tends to get things going.

11:27 am  
Blogger Helen said...

Hello all. I have never edited before so I'm afraid I cannot share any wisdom. As yet I am still on my first draft of my first ever book. I like how Lucy says she does her editing though - that sounds like a good plan. I was stuck around the 33,000 mark but yesterday managed to eek out a thousand words so hopefully my wobble has passed and I'm back on track. Hope to be at 40,000 for next weeks coffee.

12:30 pm  
Blogger liz fenwick said...

Dashing in quickly to say hi. I too have had a productive week....we're neck and neck Kate as I'm at 76,500...but you'll win this coming week as it's term break. I know having raced through this first draft I have loads of work in front of me but I feel I have the bones of the story in place :-)

Have a great week all.

1:43 pm  
Blogger B.E. Sanderson said...

I've decided to take a much needed (albeit short) sabbatical from writing. All my words are looking like crap, and I'm forcing it. My brain needs a break.

Keep up the good work, guys.

As for editing, for me it depends. My first two books, I edited as I went, and then edited some more after I was done. The third book, I wrote straight through with very little editing. Now I'm faced with multiple rounds of editing - I'm getting ready to edit it for the third time. My WIP seems like it's shaping up to be a combination - some editing and some straight-through writing.

2:22 pm  
Blogger leatherdykeuk said...

Done with the WIP for the day but I still have a few shorts and flashes to write, so my break comes now.

Editing? My normal editing is with a stanley knife, about a year after I've written it.

4:02 pm  
Blogger Jane Henry said...

congrats Kate!

I have managed a measly thousand words this week, but have got the first three chapters down so they're going to my agent...

Will try to do better next week....

Like Lucy life keeps getting in the way... AND the school holidays are coming up...

4:15 pm  
Blogger A. Writer said...

Well Done Kate!

I'm editing my first WIP at the moment and I'm struggling! I just can't get into the right frame of mind! I think the WIP just needs tidied up a bit but I don't know! I seem to prefer the creative part to writing rather than the editing part.

It doesn't help that I'm brimming with ideas for my 2nd WIP and REALLY want to continue writing that!

I get so jealous when I see everyone else's word counts rising and mine doesn't.

Well done everyone! Keep up the good work!

A. Writer x

5:53 pm  
Blogger sheepish said...

Hi Kate and fellow racers, sorry I missed last weeks Coffee Break but it was my birthday last Sunday and we had some friends over from England for a long weekend of eating and drinking so no time for much else. Have only managed about 1000 words over the past two weeks so need to get back to work.

As for editing, I think I do some as I go along as I am pretty self critical. I feel a bit stuck at the moment though so need a bit of inspiration. This is my first attempt at a novel so it's all new and I am still feeling my way. It's good to read that other racers have off days aswell makes me feel less isolated.

Have a great weekend everyone and write well.

5:58 pm  
Anonymous Dave Hill said...

Hello. Long time, no drop in. That's mostly because my mum had a bit of a health crisis and once that had stabilised I had to concentrate on my Guardian commitments until I'd caught up with myself. However, now that I've crawled forward a few more thousand words on the fiction I feel able to show my face again. I'm just over the 13,000 words mark now on my trio of projects - absolutely dismal compared with some of you racers but at least I'm not going backwards. The other thing I've neglected - for weeks, actually - is adding the names of new racers to my site. Will try to do that over the weekend.

Editing? Like some of you other folk I'm fatally drawn to re-writing and re-writing and fiddling and twiddling with the same three paragraphs over and over again. Mostly, that's not too clever because I get depressed at my lack of forward progress. So I try to limit myself to just one, dedicated, return to what I've already done on any particular day and to resist the temptation to spend the first two hours of each new day re-writing what I did on the previous one. It's hard, but I do feel better for making the effort!

Till soon.

7:39 pm  
Anonymous Jacqui Lofthouse said...

Hello Kate,

I will see you on Monday I hope? But in the meantime, can I join you novel racers too? As you know, I have a mid-June deadline too... Where do I get a little wordcount widget by the way? As for editing... I do it differently with each book. I generally work on the first third intensively and get the voice perfect before I can move forward to the rest of the novel. This time however it's been very different. A scrappy first draft, then a total rethink prior to the second draft, much of which is totally new... I'll race to finsh this second draft though. Jacqui x

8:53 pm  
Blogger Kevin said...

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2:01 am  
Blogger Kevin said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:06 am  
Blogger Kevin said...

(Let's see if I got all the little formatting tags right this time....)

Okay, 2215 my time, so it's well into Saturday for y'all.

Bad news on the writing front is: I am 7,200 words off pace for where I should be with my novel at this moment.

My wife Valerie, realizing the situation released me form a promise I'd made her.
For our 25th wedding anniversary we are going on a cruise of the eastern Caribbean. We will be driving down to Florida next Friday, at sea from Saturday the 31st through Saturday the 7th, driving home Easter Sunday. I had promised her I would not take my laptop, and would do no writing on the trip. In releasing me from that she said there wasn't much point in having my full attention on the trip if I dropped dead the next week trying to hit a deadline. (A contributing factor was the fact she's going for her masters degree in nursing -- she has a major exam on the 10th and will need to do some studying while we're on the cruise. We plan on staking out a quiet corner with tables we can spread out on and getting in at least two hours of writing/studying a day.)

In other writing news, the Doctor Who anthology with my story was announced by Big Finish. There is some major talent in that book; I'm still a bit amazed to be in their company.

In the midst of writing the novel, I have been asked for a short story on a close deadline. In August will be the major event of the gaming industry,
InMediaRes Productions will be staging a major 2-day Classic BattleTech tournament event featuring seven minor factions going up against the biggest bad guy army in the history of the game. (Explaining all the game-universe ramifications of this would take pages, just accept my word it's a big deal.) One of the small factions is my creation, the Chaos Irregulars. In a universe crowded with super warriors, they're a company of honest troopers with pretty average abilities who fail about as often as they win. They've worked their way through six novellas so far and I'm told are one of the more popular factions in the game. Leading up to GenCon and the big event will be a series of seven short stories which explain how each of the smaller factions came to find itself on the path that leads to the great battle. Deadline is five days after the novel is finished. I had considered co-writing -- blocking out the frame of the story and handing it off to another writer to finish. There's a fellow whose work I like, but I've never worked with him. Several writers -- including Zinnia -- cautioned me against that particular experiment. So. I need to tell the editor Monday whether I'm going to take the job (in which case he'll need to assign the story to someone else). Since I'll be on the road or at sea for the next two Fridays. I'll let you know what happened in three Fridays.

Meanwhile, stories like your success in hitting the mark despite all odds, Kate, are very inspiring.
I'll keep you informed of my progress as I'm able.

(Today's security letters are nrxoi, which is, of course, the brand name for a nitrogen-rich soy product.)

2:14 am  
Blogger hesitant scribe said...

Hi All,

Good to see everyone's getting on with their respective WIPs and on to editing already - yikes!

Editing... I've been trying really hard to get the first draft out without editing, but can't seem to do it! So I do the multi-task thing although it is very slow going. I have two chapters in an almost 'finished' state now, and am working on another three chapters simultaneously. It's a ridiculous way to work I know, but it seems to be working. Albeit two steps forward and one giant leap back!

Busy with marking again now - where does it all come from I wonder?

Off on hols soon so am having to get everything work related out of the way before Easter which means the WIP will probably slow even further...

Have a good week everyone!

11:52 am  
Blogger Bernardine Kennedy said...

Editing.... I HAVE to edit as I go along. Every chapter! I just can't move on if I haven't edited the chapter. That mean that when I get to the end it really is the end and I mail it off.
Very obsessive I know. I'm not usually anal about things!

3:24 pm  
Blogger JJ said...

Hi everyone

Late again. Sorry.

Had a very busy week, but I've thought a lot about my writing, and I think I've made some progress.

I've no idea how I edit yet. I have that delight to look forward to. It's interesting to see what everyone else says about their different processes though.

I hoping for my words to go up this week. I haven't got so many things organised this week.


3:42 pm  
Blogger NoviceNovelist said...

Hi all, Your word count is truly inspirational Kate. I'm trying to get my first draft of my fist novel done without too much editing but it's hard not to do some tweaking as you go along. It's great to hear everyone's tales.- This is a fab community to be a part of on this often lonely writing journey.

6:47 pm  

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