Chronicling The Craft: Time to Start Revising / Draft #2!

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“Chronicling The Craft” is an article series where I share my experience with my YA fantasy novel The Keeper’s Curse. Each article contains a progress update as well as writing tips and advice. Today’s installment marks the beginning of revisions on The Keeper’s Curse (a.k.a. Draft #2).

Where has the time gone?? It still feels like March began yesterday, and I had just finished the first draft of The Keeper’s Curse. Now it’s April 10, 2015 – which means, according to the plan I outlined back in February, it’s novel-revising time! And about time I created a logo for the series, too, right? 😉

Before I start talking about the immediate future, let me recap said plan and how well it worked over the past 6 weeks:

100_2003

My list of revision notes for TKC. Anyone want to try reading my handwriting? *cringes*

1. Taking a Break from Novel-Writing

Taking some time off between Drafts #1 and #2 turned out to be a good idea. I spent the free time I would have normally used for novel-writing to catch up on other writing projects, condo-cleaning, reading, and… well, remembering that there are other things I do in life besides writing.

What I didn’t expect, though, was how strange it was to be taking a break from The Keeper’s Curse. In short, I missed working on the novel. Even when I was writing a tea review, my instincts nagged at me – as if they were telling me there was something else I should have been doing. I don’t know how else to describe it… except like a friend who had gone away for a while, and that friend’s absence made life lonely for a little while. Which sounds mind-boggling and weirdly sentimental, especially since that “friend” isn’t even a tangible object, but that’s honestly what it was like.

Funny thing is, The Keeper’s Curse never truly left me during this break. There were a couple occasions where I randomly thought of possible changes for Draft #2. It’s amazing what the subconscious can do when you shift your focus away from a project temporarily.

2. Catching Up on Character Profiles and World-Building “Appendices”

When I had first started writing The Keeper’s Curse, I made a habit of putting all of my backstory content (character development, world-building, etc.) in separate documents to avoid “info-dumping” in the novel. This was a fantastic idea – except that after a fashion, I became so focused on novel-writing that I let the “appendices” slide. Shifting my attention to those appendices for the 6-week break has been a nice change of pace. I’ve finished profiles on several of my supporting characters, and made significant headway on my appendix about the Mountain Folk (Aurek’s race). So, I feel like I know certain characters better than I did before and have a even stronger grasp on Eva’s world.

There’s still more to be done, though. The trick will be remembering to keep working on these appendices once I’m nose-deep in revisions. Any fellow writers out there have some advice on this?

3. Continuing Other Writing Projects

In addition to updating my backstory appendices, I’ve kept up with my schedule at DIY MFA. I even fit in an extra article on world-building tips for their #5onFri series. Woo hoo!

I’ve also written enough tea reviews for A Bibliophile’s Reverie for the next 6 to 8 weeks. That might not sound like much, since we space the reviews about 2 to 3 weeks apart. But given the other writing I’ve been doing, it’s nice to have a queue of them ready to go – and a slightly less overwhelming stash of samples left to try. *lol*

4. Wrote a Special Blog Article on Tips on Finding Your Novel’s Title

Completed! *does a happy dance* It was a hefty article to pull together, but I’m really proud of the end result.

Also, if you’re planning to refer to the article the next time you’re brainstorming story titles, come back tomorrow for a special addition to the website that you might also find helpful. 😉

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Same revision notes shown earlier, now typed and organized. Oh, and SPOILER ALERTS GALORE! *winks*

The Plan for Draft #2 Revisions

Here’s how I’m planning to approach the revision process for The Keeper’s Curse and future installments of Chronicling The Craft:

  • Two Phases of Revisions: I’m going to tackle the revisions in two pass-throughs. Phase 1 will focus on major changes such as rewrites, condensing passages, adding important details I’d forgotten, and deletions. Phase 2 will (hopefully) consist mostly of word-smithing and trying to get the word count down to a more reasonable level for YA fantasy. (I’m shooting for 100 – 105K, down from 132K. *ouch*)
  • Deadline: I’m shooting for Wednesday, August 5th, which is the last day of a week-long vacation I’m taking from my day job. However, it’s been a few years since I’ve revised a novel (much less written one), so I don’t know how quick or slow this process will be.
  • Frequency of New Chronicles: Expect new Chronicles when I pass 20, 40, 60, 80, and 100% of Revision Phase 1. That’s roughly every 88 pages (the manuscript is currently 441 pages, double-spaced). I’ll also give brief updates in between Chronicles on Twitter or Facebook, and I’ll track my progress using MyWriteClub.

I think this should be manageable. Again, it’s been a long time since I’ve revised a novel, so I might alter the posting plan if things progress faster than I’m expecting them to.

By the way, thank you all so much for your support so far! When I began the Chronicling The Craft series, I wanted a way to track my progress and share any lessons I learned. I had no idea who, if anyone, would be interested in following along. Now I’m thrilled to see how my tiny corner of the Internet has grown (even if it’s just a little bit), and encouraged by your cheerleading, questions, and honest feedback. And maybe a teensy bit nervous about delivering a decent story for you. (MEEP!)

Enough from me for now. Time to buckle down and get revising! 😉

How is your work-in-progress coming along? How do you approach your revision process? Do you prefer to take care of everything all at once, or break the process into smaller “pieces”? Feel free to share your experiences and insights by commenting below.

Next Chronicle: 20% of Phase 1 revisions completed

18 thoughts on “Chronicling The Craft: Time to Start Revising / Draft #2!

  1. I was going to comment on how awesome the series logo was. That’s a lot of progress, and I *really* love the idea of info-dumping into appendixes that can be compiled later for extras. That’s really nifty.

    Liked by 1 person

    • *lol* Thanks, Alex! My Photoshopping skills are… well, somewhat primitive. The best I can do right now is take a picture, play with the colors, and slap text on it. But the logo works well enough for now. 🙂

      The separate appendices really have been helpful, and for so many reasons. I’m glad I’ve done it that way, instead of dumping it all into the first draft and then cutting it out during revisions.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hm, what advice can I give so you won’t forget about the appendices? You’ll have to program it into your mind that whenever you come across the name of a “place” “person” or anything “important” to quick check the appendices and see if something should be added, edited, etc. That’s what I do. 🙂 Like you, I’m editing in phases. Dealing with content and the bigger problems was my 1st phase, now I’m paying attention to detail for 2nd phase. I wish you all the best beginning your first editing phase! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes. That’s what I SHOULD be doing with my backstory docs. Except I have a really bad habit of not following up on the good habits I try to start. *oops* But if I force myself to print hard copies of the glossary and other things, that might do the trick…

      Good luck with your edits, too, Elisabeth! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh no, lol. It’s true, good habits are so hard to keep up; but once you do, then it’s smooth sailing. 🙂 (I hope). Yes, print the glossary out and sit it beside your computer so it grabs your attention. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

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