Tuesday, 4 September 2012

IWSG: It's Huge




I got to the point last month where I think I lost faith in my ms. The closer I got to finishing the edits, the more intimidating the whole thing became. And then I did something I'd never done before. I printed the whole document out (minus the last chapter which is still in the hands of my editor). It took several minutes to print the 350 page document and when it was done, I just looked at it 
(0_0) not sure what the hell to do next. I'd never seen this much of my ms in physical print before and kept thinking, "It's HUGE."


So after the initial shock wore off and a glass of...never mind, I decided I better do something with it since a few hundred trees  sacrificed their lives to birth my first draft. Cue the heavy artillery: pens of varying colors, music,  and lots and lots of colored sticky notes. I started by tagging each chapter, realized I stopped chapter headings at 16 for no apparent reason, and then began to reread from the begining. It's amazing the things that catch your attention when you read your ms on a different medium. It's not the same and that got me excited again. And when I get excited, I set goals for myself. I did this last month with mixed results (read: total disaster). But now the kids are back in school and my theory is I should have enough time to yield better results by the end of September. Right? Absolutely.

September goals:

  1. Finish making all minor adjustments to ms
  2. Finish editing the last chapter as soon as I get feedback (4 days to complete edits tops)
  3. RUN 3 times / week Plus 1 hour / week of Sport Chanbara (I'll be taking my first Chanbara class tomorrow evening so send me some positive vibes and pain killers and hope to make it out alive... :P  )
  4. Finish revising my practice query letter (possibly send it to Matthew for a critique at the QQQE....maybe....I'm such a cluck, cluck, chicken)
  5. Send completed second draft to my editor who I'm convinced has super powers  
  6. Read, read, read. (I totally fell behind on reading last month. Part of it was traveling and part of it was reading e-books on my computer which is a pain, literally.) 
  7. Keep visiting blogs, and posting 3 times / week
  8. Get to sleep by 1 am. I'm bumping this up an hour from last month because I'm exhausted.
Well, there it is. 
September, bring in on like Donkey Kong!

I told you it was huge.
Also, tub of Nutella not pictured.

53 comments:

  1. Good luck with your goals!

    I agree it can be helpful to read a manuscript in a different form. Sometimes changing between my work computer and my mini-laptop, I can spot typos I missed in one or the other.

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    1. Thanks Cherie. I'm going to try switching from my laptop to my desktop and see what happens. I feel a bit silly not having done this earlier.

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  2. I always print out my manuscript to edit. Don't let it scare you. In printed form, you'll see things differently. And better!
    And Matthew is the best person to critique a query letter.

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    1. Thanks Alex. I agree, Matthew is the best with a query letter!

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  3. That's right! You rock it this month :)

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  4. Elise, I *love* your goals... you are fabulous! I really am invested in your journey---I can't wait to watch your success! Thanks so much for sharing, and where is the Nutella?!?!?!?

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    1. Yeah, about the Nutella...it's uh...*licks back of spoon* Is that a flying unicorn behind you?! (;

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  5. Printing it to read/edit gives such a different experience then only working on the computer. I have several drafts of mine I've printed off. Of course I've been working on it for three years so I've gone through quite a few drafts.

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    1. I don't know why It's taken me so long to print, feel a bit silly about that. And this is my third year working on my ms too!

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  6. That is massive! Awesome approach to editing you are sharing here too. Very inspiring stuff. It's exciting to watch how confident you have got lately. Cheers.

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    1. Thanks Clay, but I wasn't so confident a few weeks ago. My feelings go up and down when it comes to my writing. Comes with the territory I guess.

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  7. ...printing that baby out and reading it aloud provides a fresh new approach, almost like reading it all over again for the first time. I was astounded by the amount of red ink sacrificed on the first hard copy edit, when I was confident of it's near completion just prior to the read ;)

    El

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    1. Good point Elliot. I usually only read my trouble spots aloud, but I really should try reading the whole thing aloud. (:

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  8. It's all good. Take your time. Get a good night's sleep. It might take you a month longer to complete your book, but you'll be happier.

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    1. Thanks Richard. I always feel better after a good night's sleep.

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  9. I would be terrified if I had to edit/revise a 300-page manuscript. I'm sticking to middle grade. ;)

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  10. Printing that bad-boy out is a major step, Elise. Really transforms the writing from something in our minds to something tangible. Think it's great you're setting goals. You'll meet some, others maybe not, but that's a sure way to keep moving forward with your writing. :-)

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    1. Thanks E.J. I tend to want to do too much all at once. Setting goals helps channel my energy and move forward. (:

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  11. "It's amazing the things that catch your attention when you read your ms on a different medium. It's not the same and that got me excited again."

    I can't agree more with this. I've printed up my ms a couple of times for this reason. The last time, I put a copy on my Kindle. That really did wonders for me.

    Best of luck with all your goals...

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    1. Thanks M.J. Going to try my best. It's all we can do. (:

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  12. I did the exact same thing with my first book - and I said the exact same thing, "It's huge!" But you're right, it is so helpful to look at it on something other than a computer screen!

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    1. I guess I should have been doing this from the beginning. Live in learn. I may even play around with font and see if that changes how it reads. (:

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  13. Hi Elise - must be exciting to see it .. and I often print out my posts to read through .. which does bring a different spin to the page ... well done and excellent you've set out your goals ... good luck to that future ... here comes September ... and thanks for visiting my blog! Cheers and I'll be thinking of you - but glad to hear you'll be going to bed earlier! Sleep is important .. Hilary

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    1. Hilary: Hi Hilary, I always enjoy stopping by your blog even if I don't always get around to commenting. And yes, sleep is important, I can't neglect it any longer.

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  14. Good luck with your edits. I think that you're excited again is an excellent sign.

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    1. Thank you and thanks for stopping by! (:

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  15. GO ELISE GO!!
    You have definitely inspired me with this post! Love the goals you've set. You sound very determined...

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    1. Thanks Michelle, I am a determined woman!

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  16. Elise, that is one big book! You have some great goals, I am sure you will do well.

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    1. Thanks! I'm afraid it's a little too big...I'm going to have to edit out about 80 pages or so if I want to try and get this monster published one day... :/

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  17. It's cool, isn't it! And totally intimidating. LOL I agree with Alex that you will see mistakes - and good things, too- that you don't notice on the screen. I don't know why that's true, but it is.

    Another layer to add (and, strangely, a real boost to the ego at the same time) is to convert it to your Kindle if you have one. Mine has a voice feature that will read it to me. It's not the emotional, intonation-infused voice of a book on tape, but it keeps you from skimming over things as you read along. (You know how your memory of the lines makes you see what you WANT to be there, not what's really there. :P) I've caught mistakes in thoroughly-critted works with a Kindle read-back.

    Anyhow, good luck with your goals and congrats on all you've accomplished! :D

    IWSG #177 (until Alex culls the list again. :P )

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    1. That's a great tip Melissa, problem is I don't own a kindle or e-reader. ):
      Can I borrow yours? (;

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  18. GREAT goals Elise. I think I'll cut and paste your list to my on inbox. I NEED to do all those same things. Except the editor part, since I don't' have one and the QQQE, I'm not as bold as you.

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    1. Hi Jenn! Hope I'm able to get all these things done... I haven't sent in anything to the QQQE, so I'm not bold...yet. (;

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  19. Hey,

    I always love your IWSG posts because you do share how you feel, and that's *great.*

    (Plus, I always feel better about my disaster of a month.... (evil hee! hee!)

    Think positive... at least you *have* a 350-page ms to print out... I am still way far from that, so good on you for achieving that goal.

    Plus, you have easy access to warm, fresh baguettes and cheap Bordeaux that we here can't even pronounce...

    All in all, I think your September goals are well achievable, so go achieve :)

    PS.. if you need anyone to crit your query, send it over to me... I'd be honored :)

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  20. you're saying, to get you excited what you need is a different medium... not a large or a small? :O lol

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    1. Well, too big is not good. I'm over 100k and am going to have to cut about 20k or so to make it reasonable. Too small is...well we all know small won't work. So to answer you question, yes, a different medium is what I need, not size...Wait, we're still talking about writing, right? :P

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  21. I think we're living parallel lives, minus the organization. I printed out my novel recently and forgot to tell the girl at Office Depot to double side it. I got it in a BOX! After the guilt of single-handedly destroying a forest, I'm looking forward to doing something the author of Bird by Bird did. Laying out the pages, slashing out sections, rearranging, and patching it back together.

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    1. We should have an editing ms slumber party! (=

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  22. Elise! This is so awesome. I've actually NEVER printed out a MS. Query, yes. Synopsis, yes. Full MS, heck, even a chapter. No.

    Something to keep in mind for the future :)

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    1. It does change how you read your ms. If you don't want to print, try changing font or background colors, that may help too. Just a thought. (:

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  23. One thing you could do that will make you even more excited, Elise, is to go onto LULU and format your book for a printed copy with some cover art that you do yourself. On Lulu, you can choose to make it so that only yourself can see your book. Then ship it to yourself and when you get it and pull it out of the box, you will squee in joy because it's like the ultimate in pretend. Then you can use the margins and stuff to take notes and edit it so that you can finish this thing properly.

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    1. Squee! You really know how to get a girl excited. (; LULU sounds like fun and though I don't think I'll ship it to myself, (cost of shipping overseas, I think I'd be fun to send it to my editor. Thanks Michael for the suggestion.

      "and edit it so that you can finish this thing properly." <==this made me LOL, still snorting... :D

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  24. Your Sept goals sound realistic and completely do-able. I must admit to being a little jealous of your super-powered editor. I love my CPs, but I wish I had the money for a professional editor. After months and months of feedback and revising, I kicked my ms out of the nest and am letting the query fly to agents now. Wish me luck, and I wish you luck on all your Sept goals! :-)

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    1. One day I'll post about my super-powered editor. But I must say I'm a little jealous you're in the querying phase, it seems like I'll never get that far. I wish you the best of luck Lexa!

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  25. I did this too, recently. It was easier for me to see what my CP's said, you were purple. ;) As for number four... if I can do it you can do it! Great goals! I need to give myself a deadline again.

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    1. Ooo, I like purple. Purple is a good color! Plums are purple and I like them too, but I like them more when they're partially dehydrated... Sorry, it's late and I'm getting a little goofy. Hope you're feeling better about your edits. (:

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  26. I think the process can be overwhelming. You doing it the right way with the to do list. And I love the picture. Now I want some Nutella.

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    1. Thanks Mina. Editing is a bit crazy, I'll be happy if I can tread water this fall. Enjoy the Nutella. (:

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