Need help revising? NaNoEdMo starts soon!
Did you write a novel in a month during the hideous (yet exhilarating) NaNoWriMo? Or perhaps you’ve just got a novel lying around that needs some serious TLC.
Are you lost on where to begin? Do you feel overwhelmed by the sheer thought of revising? Am I starting to sound too much like an infomercial?
Then, have I got the solution for you!
Okay, yes, I’m partial to it because I think group-working situations are way more productive and motivating than solo-slogging…And yes, I’m partial to it because I think revisions are the MOST important step of the writing-for-publication process.
And alright, alright–you caught me. Yes, I’m partial because I have a guest article popping up some time during this AWESOME month. 😉
So go check out NaNoEdMo and get started on revising your novel!
Oh, and if you have any questions–any questions at all about revising for yourself, for an agent, for an editor; about line edits versus revisions; about finding the problems with your story and ALL that jazz; then don’t hesitate to ask below!
You tell me: is NaNoEdMo something you’d ever take part in? Got any pressing revisions-related questions?
Also, for something completely unrelated, come say “hi” to our newest member on Pub(lishing) Crawl! Amie Kaufman is a good–albeit recent–friend of mine. We got to know each other when she interviewed me for the Lucky 13s, and when we started reading each others’ stuff. Let me tell you: this gal can write! And I’m just so, so, so happy she’s joining our little writing/reading gang.
February 29, 2012 @ 4:13 pm
Ugh. Sounds so exciting, but this novel is not finished yet. Right now, I’m still trying to make it to the other side. But I did have a question about revising. How many times did you revise, or how many times do you think someone SHOULD revise?
February 29, 2012 @ 5:03 pm
I know I revised SS&D at least ten times before I got an agent. But, it wasn’t a very good book the first few times around… The second draft was pretty much a complete rewrite of the first–almost nothing from the first stayed the same. The third draft involved changing everything to first person (it was originally third), the fourth draft was more BIG changes…as was the fifth through the seventh-ish. I honestly have no idea HOW MANY TIMES I went through the MS and juggled the story around or cut/rewrote chunks that just weren’t working. The final few drafts were after crit partners’ comments, and then the very last draft (before I got my agent) was doing final line edits.
It was a lot, and the reason it was a lot was because I wasn’t a very good writer at that point. I’d written only one book before (which was dreadful), and the first draft of SS&D was almost just as bad as my first book…but I refused to give up on that story.
Now, my first drafts are pretty darn clean, and for ADS&L, I only went through ~4 rounds of revisions (including those with CPs) before sending it to my editor.
Also, I should note that another reason I take so many rounds is because almost ALWAYS, the story I set out to write no longer works at the end. I have to reorganize things a few times before I finally settle on the “right” story–does that make sense? Other writers I know don’t go through this insanity…
As for how many times you *should* revise, I honestly can’t say. I would firmly say at least twice–once for major changes (plot, character, etc.), and once for smaller stuff (pacing) and line edits. But ultimately, every person is different, so… :-/
Sorry for the huge response!
February 29, 2012 @ 5:08 pm
No, that really does help! (Though it sounds a bit scary.) Thanks so much! I can already feel some chunks of the draft that might need working out/adding onto. And I want to make sure that it’s at least halfway to being decent before I inflict it on any critique partners.
I’m glad that I found you. You give such good advice! 🙂
March 1, 2012 @ 12:13 am
You are so, SO welcome!! And ::blush:: how sweet of you to say that. <3
February 29, 2012 @ 5:55 pm
Well, I will be doing some revising in March, but it definitely won’t take up my whole month since I’m pretty far along in that process. 🙂 But I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for your article!
March 1, 2012 @ 12:13 am
Well good luck, lady!! I’m sure you’ll rock those remaining revisions!! <3
February 29, 2012 @ 6:56 pm
Ooh. I did not know about NaNoEdMo. I will definitely check it out. I did write a novel for NaNo this year and have been in the process of revising it…so I’m happy to know I’m in the company of a lot of other crazy people. My editing question is this: What sorts of edits do editors and agents require? Are they big edits, specific, vague. Just curious.
March 1, 2012 @ 12:12 am
Tough question! 😉 But answerable.
Typically, for your first novel, you’ll have it in The Best Possible Condition when you query–otherwise, agents aren’t going to want the book, right? 🙂
After that, depending on the agent and the “sellability” of your book, you might have might have only a few quick rounds of edits (some scene tweaks and line edits) before you go on submissions. OR, if the agent thinks your premise and execution are stellar *except* for that secondary character/excess subplot/etc, you might do a few MAJOR rounds of revising (several months) before you go on subs.
Once your book has sold, you’ll certainly have at least one BIG round of revisions. Actually, if you’re want to see what it’s like for a debut author, this is a great post that lays the editorial process all out:
Does that answer your question?
March 1, 2012 @ 12:52 am
Wow, Thank you Susan. It does. I will also check out that link. Thanks for your advice. As always, extremely helpful.
March 1, 2012 @ 12:32 am
I’ve never heard of NaNoEdMo. I love the idea! As you know, I’ve been revising my novel. It’s quite the nightmare, but I’m also having fun. If that makes sense! I often shout: Eh gads, I wrote this nonsense?! Then…I’ll see something so sparkling and shiny out of the mess….it gives me hope to continue 🙂
March 2, 2012 @ 7:29 pm
Yes, those sparkly bits are the only thing that keep me going…otherwise, the utter crap that is the majority of my first drafts would CRUSH me under self-loathing. 😉 Good luck with your revisions!!
March 1, 2012 @ 2:40 am
Bah. 🙁 I would really, truly love to do this, if I had the time. I’m always reminding myself just how much work my manuscripts will have to go through before I can start querying. But I’m nowhere near finished with my current book, and I know that if I start editing now, I’ll likely never finish it. Perhaps next year? Because I think it’s a fantastic idea. Writers may need motivation to write a novel, but it takes a lot more motivation to go back to that novel and then tell yourself what’s terrible about it. And then tell yourself how you can change that. And then change it.
Still, I shall follow it, for future reference! 😀 I’m always interested in revising tips.
March 2, 2012 @ 7:31 pm
Such a good point–the motivation to write is NOTHING compared to the motivation to FIX what you’ve written. It’s hard enough to spot all the problems, but to then say, “I won’t give up. I will revise this until it’s good enough!” takes so, so, SO much strength. I know I always have a few days (or weeks) of crushing self-doubt when I first look over my rough drafts. All I see are the problems, and even with my organized approach, the shiny final MS seems so far off…
But we can do it! And we will!