Friday, April 06, 2007

Coffee Break 12

I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork.
Peter de Vries

Word count: hovering around the 92,500 mark as I chip away

OK, so it's Good Friday, but that doesn't stop us having coffee, does it? Thank you for all your lovely messages about finishing my first draft. I have no plans to abandon the race as it's a great community motivator - and I plan to begin my next book in May so will start all over again.

I had a whole day off for that Tower of London visit, before getting down to the edits.

I work on edits as follows:

  • type the last words, then wait for as long as the deadline allows (in this case, a non-luxurious 24 hours, but as this is a relatively simply structured book, that's not the end of the world)
  • print the whole thing off (11 point font, 1.5 spacing, double-sided, as I hate wasting paper and it also, crucially, makes the pile of pages look less intimidating)
  • read it through, making marks in the margin, crossing bits out, often drawing a long line down several paragraphs with the letters 'r/w' along side them. I also use my own short forms for certain problems: TMI (Too Much Information) is for when I have got carried away with an image or an idea. 'Telly' means I have overdone the 'telling' aspect of a scene, most often where perhaps my central character is overplaying an emotion or a change... It is a particular issue in first person, as you want to portray change (and what is a novel's purpose if the character doesn't learn or develop in some way?) WITHOUT that character necessarily being aware that s/he is changing...
  • I also go back to the first page of each chapter once I have read it and marked it up, to work out what the overall purpose of the chapter is: is it character development, plot progression, a combination? If no purpose is evident, then I either find one, rewrite or chop. Haven't done that in this one yet as it's quite tightly plotted but there's always that option.
  • Then it's back to the computer, and I begin to incorporate the changes. I might leave little details - later on I will double-check the chronology, make sure that the right nicknames or pet names are used by different characters. If there's something troublesome in terms of structure or development, I will usually put a little 'Word Comment' to myself to consider later but I try not to do this too often or the draft after this takes so much longer...

I'm at this 'back to the computer' stage and about 2/5ths of the way through, but actually that's misleading as the second half is in much rougher condition than the first. Ah well. We do have lots of plans for this weekend, so it may be a 'burning the midnight oil' scenario.

So how's everyone else doing? Have a lovely weekend - and do make sure you don't get Easter Egg between the keys of your keyboard...

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Blogger Zinnia Cyclamen said...

So glad you're not abandoning the race, it is indeed a great motivator and a source of encouragement and inspiration. Very interesting to see your editing method. I've had a wonderfully productive week and now feel as if I'm heading downhill towards the end of the second draft, I may even finish it this month (no promises). I don't expect to get much done over this weekend, though, as we're about to be inundated with visitors. But that will be fun. Have a good one, y'all!

10:16 am  
Blogger B.E. Sanderson said...

Of course we can have a coffee break on Good Friday. It wouldn't be as good without one. =oD

I actually got off my butt and wrote this week. It feels so good to make progress, and it's nice to be able to stop for coffee without having to admit that I was a slug. I'm at just under 20K words now, and I'm hoping to finish the first draft by the end of the month (or at the very latest, my birthday in mid-May).

Have a Happy Bunny-Day everyone. Eat lots of good food, and hoard as much chocolate as you can for the coming writing months.

2:57 pm  
Blogger hellojed said...

Thanks for sharing your editing style, I was wondering how I was going to approach editing mine so your tips were very handy.

11:43 pm  
Blogger JJ said...

I'm so pleased that you're not abandoning the racing Kate. I'm not making huge wordy progress, but I haven't got scared enough to stop, which is all I ever wanted out of joining you all. I'm loving being part of this community from way away in Bangkok. I am, even when I'm not novel writing, blogging reasonably regularly which means I'm writing a few words.

I've no idea what process I use for any drafts, so I can't add any words of wisdom. I'm just muddling along, and picking up your tips along the way.

I've been busy with webmastering this week, so I haven't done as much writing at all.

I forgot all about it being Good Friday yesterday. In Thailand it was also a bank holiday, called Chakri Day. I should be diligent and find out what it means, but I'm hungover and can't be bothered!

Have a lovely Easter weekend everyone.

7:23 am  
Anonymous sheepish said...

I'm a bit late for coffee but we were out most of yesterday, so better late than never. Still hanging on the house sale so writing is a bit sporadic at the moment. Finishing the first draft seems a long way away at the moment, but I hope a few days off for Easter will recharge my batteries. The choccy eggs may help aswell!!!!!

Catch up with everyone next week.

5:31 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats again on finishing your first draft! Was just wondering if you'd have any interest in a quick email interview on women writers who blog for WOW! Women on Writing? Please email me (address available on my blog) if you'd like to take part!

7:20 pm  

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