Monday, June 07, 2010

Posted by Laurel Garver on Monday, June 07, 2010 22 comments
Today I celebrate. My completed novel revisions are now in the hands of my able critique partners! Once they give the manuscript a final dusting-down, it's query time.

Thanks, everyone for your well wishes for my daughter. Ironically it was hobbit-girl's fevered day on the couch Memorial Day that enabled me to be hugely productive and break through my last stuck places. She had a moderate cold after that and recovered by Thursday.

It's been instructive and encouraging to look back at my process this rewrite. In the past eight months I've become an increasingly faster writer. Last fall I was revising three chapters every two months; in the past five weeks, I rewrote eight chapters. Besides becoming speedier, I've also learned a lot about writing leaner. My cleaned-up rough draft for this book was 102K words. This revision (my fourth), I'm down to 66K, right where I want to be for contemporary YA.

One of the key differences I see is my confidence. My tendency to overwrite was strongest when I was starting out and feeling unsure of myself. One strong description didn't feel like enough. I worried that every movement from here to there had to be accounted for. I rarely started scenes in medias res. I created unnecessary delays for the sake of "tension" that felt inorganic.
It took far more than simple trimming to repair the problems, too. What I've learned along the way I hope to share with you. So stay tuned for more on overwriting tomorrow (and several posts after that as well).

How have you been, friends? Where are you in process with your projects? Anything you're celebrating today?

22 comments:

  1. Huzzah! Good luck with CPs, and I'm right there with you on the revisions. I'd love to hear your feedback on improvements in the revision process, since I'll be stepping into those soon. And thanks for the good advice on my blog!

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  2. It sounds like you've learned a lot. The more we write, the better we get. Good luck with revisions and submissions.

    I hope to be querying in a week or so.

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  3. Whoot!! Huge congrats, not only for finishing your revisions -- or for completing your manscript, in the first place! -- but also for your generosity in sharing what you've learned along the way. Writing surely is an art form that becomes stronger with every sentence we pen. Bravo, and good luck polishing it and querying!

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  4. Congratulations! That's wonderful about the rewrites. And wow . . . down almost 40,000 words. That's amazing. I'll definitely be back, I need to take some lessons.

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  5. Congrats! Such a great achievement. I need some lessons so I will be checking back.
    Thanks for your lessons so far.
    I'm glad to hear your daughter is better.
    Have a great day!

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  6. Congrats, Laurel! What a great feeling to know that you have finished. I can't wait to read your next couple posts on things you've learned. I need all the help I can get, that''s for sure! I am in the middle of rewriting my WIP- not revising, but rewriting and unfortunately, I don't feel as a though it is getting better! Ugh. But, I will keep my hands to the plow.

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  7. Cheers to You!!! That's fantastic news. Isn't great when you finally come to the end and know you've learned something through all the struggle. Great job!

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  8. Yay! Can I say I'm really looking forward to seeing how it all ends? Yes? Good. 'Cause I am.

    Congrats on the milestone, Laurel. We certainly have something to celebrate, come the next crit group meeting!

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  9. Congrats!!!!! Doesn't it feel so good???? Such a relief to get it done!! Good luck on the reviews!

    Me, I'm actually celebrating my debut release today!! Stop by my bog this week..all kinds of fun things going on!!

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  10. Congratulations. The strength to cut 40kw is huge.

    - Eric

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  11. Congratulations on finishing your revisions! Go celebrate!

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  12. Congrats on the revisions, it must feel good!

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  13. Congratulations on finishing your revisions, and on your increasing confidence.

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  14. Congrats on your writing accomplishmenst. Indeed, a time to celebrate. This is our first official Monday of summer vaca. I got up at 7am, and was at my fave coffee shop by 7:30. I patted myself on the back. I actually worked on The Artist's Way, but it was getting me back into my writer's brain. Write on!

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  15. Wow, I missed you guys! Thanks so much for the virtual glass clinks.

    I didn't do the epic trim all at once. I cut down from 102 to about 87 between drafts two and three. My goal this draft was to cut it to 75K and I ended up at 66K. Go figure. Gutting the entire middle and rewriting helped a lot. Once that was done, the end felt too dragged out. More trims!

    Kelly--go peek at Natalie Whipple's blog; she has a great post about pushing through the "I hate my work" phase. It's so, so true!

    Party over at Stephanie's blog. Yay for release days!

    I feel for those of you whose kids are finished school already. I'll be there next week, trying to cobble childcare before camp season starts.

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  16. Yay! I think you need to celebrate with some chocolate or other favorite...:)

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  17. Congrats!

    In the ms I've got marinating I took overwriting to a whole new level. And I learned a lot!! This first draft was sooooo much better - thankfully :)

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  18. Ye-HA indeed! Kudos for putting all of that work in, here's hoping for blue skies ahead :)

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  19. Wow, that is great news. I'm so excited for you to move on to the next, huge, step. :D

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  20. Congratulations, Laurel!! What an amazing feeling. Good luck with any final revisions (post CP work) and your querying. It's a hard, bumpy ride, but it'll be worth it in the end! You've reached such a huge milestone!!

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  21. Congrats!!! I'm so excited for you!!! :)

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  22. Congrats, Laurel!!!

    I'm at the same place as you. My final round of beta readers/critters has my wip, and I expect to start querying late summer or early fall.

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