Thursday, July 9, 2009

It's That Time Again...

I am a lazy, lazy person. I don't like doing things until the absolute final minute. Which would be why writing is sometimes so difficult for me: as I have no contract, I have no deadline.

The husband casually mentioned last night that, oh yeah, Guy's Night of Poker and Destroying Beth's House was, er, TONIGHT.

Last time the guys had a poker night, I got rather a lot of writing done...or at least I set a goal and strove for it.

Here lately, I've been, er, not been revising. I've been playing on the intarwebs, and I've been watching the television, and I've ever been cleaning house, but I've not been revising.


Let the Live-Blogging (Revision Edition) Begin!

7:50pm: Hey, look at me! I'm starting 10 minutes before my goal of starting at 8! I'm awesome. I should update this on Twitter. Bet I lose my 10 minute head start that way...

8:03: The Intarweb gods are against me. As soon as I updated Twitter, Firefox crashed. Perhaps this is a sign.

8:06: OK, I need goals. Here's where I am now: I'm adding "comments" to my work as I read through it. I'm not stopping to change anything (save a word or comma...I am a grammar nerd, after all). I'm just reading through and adding in ideas. Here's a sample of what I'm doing:

(Click pic to enlarge) At the end of each chapter I'm adding that note: listing out the things I KNOW I need to keep focus on in chapters, what I know I struggle with the most. I'm also adding little marks to check references or continuity throughout.

So--GOALS. My goal is to make it to the middle of the book by the end of the night. That's a running start!

Hey! I'm starting a Twitter Revolution! Use #liveblogrevisions to follow me, @ckmarciniak, and @DanyelleLeafty (and anyone else who wants to join in) as we update our revision process tonight. Or, just add some updates to your own blog or comments here to join in the fun!

8:11: OK, updates to revise a bit and will check back soon!

8:22: Busted out the post-it notes.

8:38: I'm actually fixing more than adding notes right now...revisions can be a process, like writing. I'm going to go with it for now, and do a combo of both notes and change-as-I-go.

8:49: This is going soooo sloooooooooow. But it's also giving me a realistic idea of how much work I need to do, especially with my male MC.

8:51: I got distracted by Twitter, then realized that revisions has my name in it. Seriously considering referring to myself as REVISions from now on...

8:52: Maybe I need a milder energy drink.

9:10: More post-its. I may not make my goal of half the ms. tonight, but at least I have a clear three-step program as an order of what to fix when.

9:11: The husband and friends have started watching Kill Bill Vol. 1. It is loud, but my typing is louder!

9:15: Resisting urge to check email...failing....

9:17: My writing theme song came on my iTunes playlist! Feeling suddenly revitalizes! Here I am to save the day revise my manuscript!

9:24: An advantage to taking notes during a read-through, as opposed to editing as I go: I can just highlight phrases, etc., and say "Should I cut this?" I don't have to decide to murder my darlings yet, I can do it later.

9:25: I've reduced my play list to three repeating songs. I hardly notice them as I revise.

9:31: Holy crap! I've only read through one chapter?! Well, I always knew that the chapters in the beginning from this character's POV were bad, but....dang!!!

9:43: Resisting email. Resisting....

9:49: Am now just listening to my book's theme song in constant repeat. No other songs, just that one. It lulls me into focus.

10:03: Made it to page 50. 125 more pages to go to meet my goal. Feeling a bit doubtful in my ability. But I will try at least!

10:04: One thing I really like doing: making the end note (see pic above) for each chapter. I've added a lot more internal notes on consistency checks, possible passages to delete, etc., than I've meant to, but even when I don't take too many notes in chapter, I still feel good thinking critically with those end notes. I do feel like I'm getting somewhere, especially since I make myself think of at least one thing to revise per chapter (or else give a reason why I don't need to revise that chapter)

10:27: Took a short break to ask some editing questions on Twitter. I have many opinions on dingbats (the # used for scene breaks) to sift through! But I LOVE getting immediate, direct aid from authors and editors.

10:36: The husband brought me a whiskey sour. Had to refuse--it will put me to sleep, and I need to focus! ARGH.

(PS: Whiskey sour recipe: Fifth of Jack D. Can of frozen lemonade concentrate. Can of beer. Blend in blender. Driiiiink. So good.)

10:45: Just realized Chapter 9 should be Chapter 3. Or maybe Chapter 1. Either way, it needs to be moved WAAAAY up. Crap. Crappity crap crap.

10:52: Read page 60, where a major inciting event happens. Made note to cut ten pages before this, so that scene happens by page 50. It's best to have the plot turn by then, especially if I can turn it on a cliffhanger, as the first 50 pages tend to be the amount requested in a partial. This would be a much better point to end a partial than my original 50 pages.

11:15: At page 70, and feeling very strong about this. Much better revisions here--the pace is good. I like my decision to cut 10 pages from first 50. Not sure which to cut, but know it will keep this pace going strong.

11:18: Realization: I work much better when I do it all at once in one major, fell sweep. And when I publicly make deadlines. OK, 100 more pages to go! *gulp*

11:28: Apparently the husband and buddies were looking for a video game for two hours. The husband finally asks me. I find it in 2 minutes. Back to work!

11:36: Add a new note to my end-chapter notes: the gun on the mantle. (Hey, it IS a mystery!)

11:44: I kinda wish I had a beta reader in my pocket, someone I could pull up immediately, shout "IS THIS GOOD ENOUGH YET?!" and then stuff back in my pocket until the next trouble scene.

11:49: Eep! Just wasted 5 mins looking at Neil Gaimon's kitchen. Did you know he was going to be on CBS Sunday Morning in October? It is true. And that is an excellent motivation for me to keep revising as I push close to tomorrow morning!!!

12:07: On page 80 now. I had a bit of a sweet spot between pages 50-80, where I knew I liked what I'd written and didn't need to change much. Going back into treacherous water now--this next chapter is probably the biggest problem in the whole manuscript (except for Chapter 1).

12:29: Clearly I am dreading this chapter. Just took a 20 minute break.

12:35: OOooo, I am really dreading this chapter. Started cruising intarwebs for what Amy (female protag) would look like. I never do this. But this pic does sort of match my image of her.

12:43: Maybe someone like this for Elder, my male protag. A little younger, perhaps, and with narrower eyes. Maybe this guy instead. Preferably a combination of the two.

12:45: Wow. I really love that red-head girl. She's perfect for Amy.

12:48: Seriously considering purchasing the stock photo at right. I think it's not too expensive. Could make a whole new webpage layout with her--could easily change background into a night sky scene.


12:55: *blinks* When did it get so close to 1am? ... RIGHT. REVISIONS. *turns off intarwebs again*

12:56: That's a really pretty Amy, isn't it?


1:02: Crap. Out of Mountain Dew. Yellow Dye #5 is the only thing keeping me going. When did this get hard again? Oh, yeah, when I started hating that chapter...

1:19: Who's on Facebook at 1:19 in the morning? ...not a lot of people, actually.

1:21: Maybe left over Chinese food will rejuvenate me?

1:31: I have no idea what the crunchy things in my Kung Po chicken are (they are square and pale green), but they are an adequate substitute for Yellow Dye #5.

1:44: HA! Finished notes on difficult chapter!

1:45: My goal was to get to page 175 by 2 am. That...isn't going to happen.

1:56: Calling it quits. Got to page 102.

I fell short of my goal, but the important thing: I actually started revising. I'd been putting that off for so long that I ran the risk of ignoring it and doing a hash job. But I'm organized now, and I know where I want to go, and I see the light at the end of the tunnel. I can do this! I just need more Kung Po chicken and Yellow Dye #5...


Rebecca J. Carlson said...

I am the beta reader in your pocket.

Good work, Beth! I know how hard revising is for you and I'm proud of you for hitting the ground hard and getting to work on it.

This manuscript is so worth it.

Jennifer said...

Beth, you crack me up. I do this sometimes, too, and then I read back through my night-time write-fest notes. I noticed that towards the middle, I usually start wandering away from my computer to get snacks. Lol.

Good job on trying to meet that goal. And, hey, as far as I'm concerned, you got pretty dang close. Have some more Mountain Dew, on me. *Passes over some Mountain Dew.*

B.J. Anderson said...

Lol, this is great. :) Even though you didn't get to page 175, you got further than you were yesterday!!

C.R. Evers said...

YaY for yellow dye #5! You go girl!

dellgirl said...

WOW, you sure said a mouthful here. This is a great post. I'm like you on the..."and I've been watching the television, and I've ever been cleaning house," happens too often. The only way I can stop that cycle is to let the dishes pile up in the sink, refuse to vacuum the trail of pine twigs left by my male people, and most of all - refuse to cook.

When I do that I get a lot of writing done. BUT, the flip-side of that is ... the mess bothers ME. I can't stand it! The male people? It doesn't bother them at all. They'd go buy new silverware before they washed dishes. ?!?! Go figure!

Anonymous said...

Man that IS so Amy! You have her down. But you should since you uh, wrote the book. BTW, I'm tempted to read the end first. Hehehehe :)

Shannon Morgan said...

Awesome live blog - glad I wasn't trying to revise last night - I would've been totally distracted. You should feel GREAT about your progress last night. Did you jump in again today or take a break?

Jill Kemerer said...

I'm revising now too, and I like to write snarky comments in the margins (using Word Comment balloons like you do). I came across a beauty yesterday. I actually wrote "Could you reword this to make it less cheesy?" Yep!

Oh, and I also found "Thanks for TELLING me--how about you SHOW me instead?" It's pretty bad when I'm heckling myself!

Great blog! I look forward to coming back!

Yat-Yee said...

I'd say you got a lot of writing done :)

The Screaming Guppy said...


What an awesome post! It's so fun to read about other writers and how they work. Funny now matter how different our writing might be, the process always seems to be the same. :)

Nice work. Looks like you got a ton of work done, even if you fell short of the goal. Go, go, go, go!

About Me said...

Beth, omg! You are a genius. Okay I totally didn't think of this before, to write in comments at the end of a chapter or a scene for guidance when I go back to edit. I definitely will try to see how this works for me.

Lenore Appelhans said...

Twitter is killing me lately. Not getting any writing OR reading done. *sigh*

Christina Farley said...

Wow! This was fun reading what you did and your feelings along the way. Sounds like you've been busy.

Unknown said...

Thanks everyone for the encouragement! This really got me motivated to work....unfortunately, I'm now a bit burnt out!

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