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Friday, June 19, 2009

Summer Revision Smackdown: Revision Report #3

Here we are at the end of Week 3 of the Summer Revision Smackdown - three quarters! 75%! Almost there!

So how is it going? Have you found a rhythm? Screaming momentum or a plodding pace? Have our tips been helpful? What has worked for you, and what hasn't?

Check in here at Brimstone Soup today and tomorrow and spill all your secrets, folks (and feel free to drop by Jolie's blog to say hi!). Celebrate your successes and help each other crack the whip!

On Monday, Jolie and I will announce our final WHIP OF THE WEEK...(at the end of next week, we'll be tabulating your awesomeness for the grand prize, THE WHIPLASH AWARD)!

Make your case, Smackdowners! And keep on whipping!


  1. Crossed goal #2 off my list--finish novel. I did that (after a 6,000-word marathon) and started the revision process with a highlighter read-through ala the Molly Blaisdell technique. I realized, though, that it's too early for me to be doing this. I don't have the distance to know whether it sucks. I expected to be able to cross out a lot more words and couldn't. So, I'm going to let it simmer. This means I have just one goal left: to revise the second PB on my desk. I'm looking forward to it!

  2. I've been quiet because I've been trying to meet my goal every week -- 2-3 chapters revised each week. Even with a vacation and work and getting ready for a new arrival in 4 weeks (and the occasional panic attacks about whether I have enough newborn diapers), I've been doing pretty well.
    My revision technique? I've opened a whole new document and am cutting and pasting old chapters into the new document. Then I'll read and revise to see if the old chapter fits into the flow of the revisions.
    Of course, I'd be a lot happier about my changes if my SCBWI writing group hadn't suggested a really interesting plot twist (which equals more revising, of course). Gotta love/hate the great writing group!

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  4. I did pretty good this week, I didn't quite make my original goal, but got to a place where I felt I needed a little perspective, meaning time. I need to let the thing breath a week or two and come back with fresher eyes. I'm revising my goal next week to instead of working on my work-in-progress dummy I'm going to finish the first stage of my mentor program illustration assignment (also close to my heart) and give my dummy a week to breath. I'm so thankful for how much I've accomplished this month.

  5. I love this part of the week! You all are so inspiring.

    I'm hopeful that today will be a strong end to my week (school-year end certainly derailed my flow a bit)!

  6. This week has probably been my best. After receiving a very helpful critique at a SCBWI Conference last Saturday, I sat down with my plans all sketched out. I listened to the editor and began my WIP with my female MC and not the male MC. Then I revised the first 50 pages, moving and removing, putting back in some mystery and revving up the conflict.
    With my second WIP I took some advice from this blog and got out a stack of index cards and outlined each chapter. It felt so good to be organized and to see everything sketched out in front of me. I went in and revised forty-five pages with the help of my new card system.
    This smackdown has really helped me keep my focus on organizing, revising and writing in general. Paired with the conference, I feel my creativity mojo has been enhanced and I'm determined to finish both works by the end of August.
    So I thank you ladies for the good swift shove I needed to remain on track:)

  7. Love seeing the reports - everyone is moving along.

    I'm doing well and have by now realized that this particular revision is a total rewrite! Because I'm "repurposing" from chapter book to novel (same basic story but with a more complete vision), it just doesn't work to treat it like a typical revision. Plumping, cutting, and polishing could only really help me tweak the existing format.

    So . . . this week I issued a moratorium on cosmetic changes and got down to the business of treating this like a new project. I've started fresh with a NEW file and an updated outline that reflects the proper scope/complexity. I'm definitely using a good bit of the original writing, but I'm treating it like I'm writing from scratch (in the new file) and pasting in what still works from the old.

    The nutshell version of this report is that this week I think I cracked the REAL code for accomplishing my original goal. It's liberating!

  8. I met my goal for first drafting with 20 pages. It was very fun to write, although I know I still have a lot of exploring and contemplating to do.

    My brother was visiting, so I didn't have much time for illustrating...only got one done. (And it still needs refining.)

    I really want to whip back in shape next week!

  9. Well... I have accomplished two of my four goals for the month. I finished a huge, color-coded plot chart. (Similar idea to the one suggested by Kelly Holmes.) It was FUN! And now it's hanging on my wall, staring at me all the time. Reminding me that I have a novel to revise.
    And I made a long, detailed "Revision To-Do List". These steps were both crucial. I was having trouble breaking the revision process into steps. SO! Now I have the map. And next week I start bushwacking through the word jungle. : )
    It's so much fun to read all the interviews and tips. And it's just great to do this process in community with other writers.


  10. I felt like I wasn't getting much done this week because I wasn't actually writing, but now things are coming into focus. I've been spending a lot of time envisioning the action plot line and the emotional development of my character. I need to get all the pieces in the proper order and at the proper intensity before I start polishing and line editing. So...the story is taking shape. I can see a visual image of it coming into focus and that is stirring up my energy and excitement to take on the next task of revision.
    Thanks everyone for the tips and inspiration.

  11. I hit the dreaded middle this week at page 105, and found the revision slowing down to a crawl. After three mornings of plodding along, I had break-through and got the scene rewritten! I wrote up a scene outline for the rest of the book, and am ready to go! Not sure if I'll finish the whole manuscript revision this month as I have a week long workshop to give next week--but I feel good about the progress and break-through that happened this week simply by showing up and refusing to give up!

  12. It didn't feel like I made as much forward progress this week, because I did exactly what Melissa Walker said *not* to do and kept going back to fiddle with the entire manuscript from start to whatever current page I was on each time I planted my BIC. But... I just checked and I did finish four new chapters of my GN. And the early chapters are feeling cleaner now, too, thanks to all that fiddling.

    Woohoo! Again, thanks, Holly and Jolie, for the motivation, inspiration, guest bloggers, and wherplash. Can you do this for us every month?!

  13. Hmmm. Well, it really truly is summer vacation now. Kids at home have a lot of needs! And despite all that, I have managed to squeak in an hour or two (and sometimes more) each day at the computer or drawing table. I have made steady progress revising the art for my current book dummy, and have made zero progress on starting the new dummy. Summer camp, soon, will help. Thanks for cracking the whip...I know it has made a difference for me!

  14. Hi! Thanks for inviting me to provide a Lash Flash yesterday! My report is that I've been swamped with teaching but have managed to do a lot of revisions with my adult novel (yes, I am working on one based on my teaching experiences, it's like the grown-up version of Good Enough, LOL). The biggest discovery was Chapter 1 had a flashback within a flashback and the real present-day-storyline didn't even start until page 10. And I realized the flashback itself WAS the story, so I changed it to be all part of the present-day storyline, and wow, did that work. The moral is - when you write a first draft, sometimes you accidentally get sucked into the flashback vortex. When you revise, ask yourself if it would flow better if the flashback was actually the present-day storyline. That worked for me. I am now in revision mode for my picture book - I finally finished the first draft this week, so I printed it out and revised it by red pen at a coffeehouse. Now typing in the revisions. I had to laugh - no matter how many years you write, you still make beginner mistakes. I was feeling all over-confident because my third book just came out, and in my latest picture book draft, what did I write? "A round circle." DUH! Like a circle ISN'T round? What, is there a SQUARE circle? OMG! I laughed so hard at myself and boy, did that humble me and remind me - when you write a new manuscript, it's like starting all over again. Sort of like falling in love again. :) I wish everyone a fantastic revision smackdown weekend! xo Paula Yoo

  15. Definitely meeting my goals - yay for that! Also spent some time last week banging my head against the keyboard, but was rewarded with a lovely little plot epiphany. Now if I could just do something about my headache.... ;)

  16. i got off to a slow start in spite of my ambition, but i am gaining momentum now that the srs is almost over!

    i have revised half my graphic novel so far, taken out one character, changed the housekeeper to a wife (the feminist in me wishes it weren't true) and built some comic obsession into one of the character's voices.

    it's going better now that i have decided only to write, and tackle the rest of the illustration sample until the writing part is finished.

    thanks again jolie and holly for organizing this event. i'm with sara easterly; are we on for next month? srs is a hit. ow!

  17. I think I'm flying pretty good but I wish I could go faster! I went through about 50 pages this week that needed a lot of revising. I have just under 100 pages left. I'm not sure that I'll make my goal of being done by the 30th, but I'm sure going to try!

  18. One of my goals was to revise my writing goals (okay, not exactly the point here, but still it had to be done). I've been feeling drawn to new fiction projects and (hopefully temporarily) losing the passion for my big NF WIP. I've tried to ignore these new weird things and focus, but I've realized that I really need to take a break and do something completely different and wildly creative (for me, at least). So, writing goals revised, which also means first 3 smackdown goals no longer apply (funny how I wiggled out of those, eh?). Next week the kids are in camp, and I'm going to write me some really stinky bad fiction without the slightest care in the world about what it will take to revise it into something decent! I may be a total smackdown loser, but it sure feels good! :)

  19. Sometimes our best ideas come to us when we're scrubbing the toilet, or taking a shower, or driving to soccer or, sauteeing onions, right? So, in that spirit, I'm doing good work this week. I cleaned three bathrooms, scrubbed a floor, hosted a sleepover, went to my day job, and read two books. Next up: clean out my soon-to-be sewing room. A few more days and I'll be ready to conquer the world...or a manuscript.

  20. It's so fun working with everyone!
    Way more motivating! Thanks, all!

    Before leaving for Tahoe, I sent out four copies of my revision to writers from Portland to Southern California.

    On the way back home, we scooped up one critique--an amazing two pages of suggestions and comments.

    According to this sharp reader, I've finally nailed the character's motivation and dad. But I still have to flush out the mom a little more. And even after a billion drafts, there were still several typos. (???)

    So, this week, I guess I got out revisions, looked over the one I got back, and asked myself every day at the Lake if the theme and conclusion work.

    By next Friday, I'll have back the other three revisions. I'll make all the changes and send it back to the editor.

    And I'll hope like I've never hoped.

    Good work, everyone! Keep writing!

  21. Everybody is rocking this week - I'm so proud! Hooray for all of you!

    Hmm, keeping the Smackdown alive...I like it! Though it might be cool to pass the torch. Anyone interested?

    It's been a whirlwind week for me, too! A 2-day trip to NYC to see my publisher and agent - fantastic! On plane ride, I finished my micro/macro analysis, and on the way back, I revised 1/4 of the 2nd novel! Woohoo! I'm going to have to switch gears and do the copyedits for the 1st novel, which arrived yesterday!

    Keep at it, Smackdowners! It's going to be tough to pick the WHIP OF THE WEEK this week!

  22. I realized that this upcoming week is going to be such a writing marathon for me. I've been struggling (somewhat) all month and I promised myself I'd get the draft done. So I'm going to. (If I can write like crazy!)

  23. Hey I did 3 of 4 this week (one was to get done with school and doesn't really count. I am happy that I was able to take 4 poems to my writing group on Wed.

  24. OK, so what's the prize for last place?

    I've got that locked up so don't even try this week. Last week I earned a sore back, grateful in-laws and some perspective I think. That being said I am officially back to work today and only blogging a medium amount ( here's looking at you Jamie and your fun but girly Hulk and Kirby's Alaskan adventures and Dawn's NY trip and Jolie's natural puppy disaster). Like I said, I've barely been blogging...

    I think Sara E must have the same disease I do, called go-back-and-perfect-itis. Unfortunately it prevents me from FINISHING anything, but at least the beginning is spiffy!

    Awesome hearing about everyone's progress. This remains a wonderfully helpful motivator! Thanks everyone.

  25. And round circle is perfectly and logically redundant, and I write that way all the time! If it isn't worth saying twice, then it ain't worth saying twice.

  26. Worked on my draft
    Had another class canceled.
    No class = no salary.
    Sat in front of my computer and fretted.
    Wrote a little more.
    Cleaned the house.
    Fretted some more.
    Wrote a little more.

    That's pretty much been my week! I hope to get some significant draft pages done tonight.

  27. Weekend update: Just whittled my 3,373 picture book first draft to 1985 words! Yippee!