CAMP NANOWRIMO April 2018 Wrap-Up

You know what they say about the best laid plans…

When I started NANO on April 1st, I had plans to rewrite my WIP. Then I got into it and realized “Hey all that stress that made you think that this entire draft had to be scrapped isn’t actually that bad”, and I switched my goal from 50,000 words of a rewrite to 50 hours of revisions.

Then that 50 hours turned more into brainstorming and planning for the revisions that need to be made with where the story needs to go. And so, in the end, I “won” NANO but am no closer to a final draft than I was before. I’m not mad about it, but I am determined to knock these hopefully final self-revisions out in May and June.

I have my draft printed out, single-sided but 2 pages to each sheet, and I’ve got my index cards with the necessary revisions and a plan of attack all made up for myself.

For anyone else looking to make a revision plan I definitely recommend Susan Dennard’s  Revision Process. I always read it before and during revisions because I love how in depth she gets and I find that for the most part her revision process works for me.

And as a reminder on how goals and where you think the story is going are always flexible and changing, check out my previous posts on CAMP NANO and my current WIP.

Camp NanoWrimo: Week 1

Salvaging Old Scenes for New Drafts

Dealing with Doubt: Rewriting a Manuscript

Productivity vs. Productive Procrastination

Revising Using the Three-Act Structure

Revising by Hand

To be honest, this WIP has been a real learning process for me over the last two years, and that’s a good thing. It’s the first project I’ve tried to take all the way, with revisions and really attempting to learn the craft that goes with writing. And I am constantly reminding myself that rushing to the querying stage just because I want to be published will do nothing but harm my career and my story in the long-run.

So even though this April’s camp didn’t turnout the way I expected or planned for, doesn’t mean it was a waste or that I’m going to stew over how it was just another added step to the process this MS has gone through. When it comes to writing the best possible story you can, and getting the MS to the stage you want it to be, always take your time, always give every piece of the process the attention and effort it requires.

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Camp NanoWrimo: Week 1

Well we’re one week into Camp NanoWrimo. I have finished revising and typing in the scenes/chapters that were transitioning from the last draft for ACT 1. That leaves three scenes that now need to be written for Act 1 to be complete, which I consider pretty good and I’m hoping to get that done early this coming week.

My momentum for week one was going strong because the most tiresome part was the typing in the printed and revised pages into the document for this draft. There were many times when I didn’t want to type in, when I thought about just copy and pasting the old draft and only fixing the revisions I’d noted on the physical copy. But ultimately the theme of this revision is avoiding laziness. There were definitely parts I reworded/edited as I was typing in that I hadn’t noticed when going over it by hand, which goes to show that every step helps improve the writing.

There’s not much to say about last week in terms of writing since it was pretty much exclusively typing in revisions, and I’m looking forward to this coming week finishing up ACT 1 and getting into the first half of ACT 2.

I did do some reading this week too, though. I finished my reread of “The Hobbit“, as well as reading “Lumberjanes Vol. 8: Stone Cold” and “The Backstagers Vol. 2“. I’m still behind on my reading goal for the year but I’m hoping to catch up by the end of this month.

I do start a new job next week though, so this is my last full week of freedom to do as much writing and reading as I want, and I’m hoping to take advantage of that and make large dents in both goals.

Salvaging Old Scenes for New Drafts

It’s officially April as I’m writing this, which means Camp Nanowrimo is here! I’m doing a big revision/rewrite this month of my WIP, and I’ve spent the last few weeks making a game plan and evaluating the old drafts and what needs to change or be added from scratch.

A lot of the background for one of my POV characters has changed, which leads to about half of her chapters in ACT 1 now being written new. Not all though, and most of the other POV character’s scenes are still mostly the same.

This brings me to today’s topic, which is salvaging old scenes for new drafts. It’s a fine line, knowing when to write a brand new scene and when something is capable of being revised rather than fully rewritten. In previous drafts I made the mistake of taking the “lazy” way out by salvaging as much of old scenes as I could. That’s fine and dandy if those scenes are actually staying mostly the same, but when I’m allowing the revisions to be half-assed in favor of taking the shortcut, it’s a problem.

So I’ve tried to be much harder on myself this go round. For a lot of scenes I asked myself if the basic premise of the scene was changing, and if it was then it had to be rewritten. If the setting is completely changing and that affects a lot of the scene, then it needs to be rewritten. In some cases it could be as simple as the plot, goal and setting are all still the same but the character’s underlying motivation is different or the emotional and physical dominos that led them to that scene are different and therefore the tone of the scene is different.

That’s what it really boils down to, I think, and what you should be looking at when trying to decide whether to salvage or scrap a scene. It’s also a factor I’ve ignored up till now, and have taken a lot of extra time to admit is an issue, and a lot of drafts I could’ve avoided. Tone, the motivation and just general meaning behind a scene is enough to necessitate a rewrite. It seems like such a small thing, but, in my opinion, it’s one of the few things that can’t just be revised. It’s an entire mindset for the scene, it’s in every word choice and tick your characters have.

And it’s so tempting to just have the old scene in front of me and rewrite that way, or go through and edit it to fit the new circumstances, but that isn’t always possible. Because even those who consider ourselves ruthless revisers and editors will still favor the words that are already on the page over the ones that have yet to be written.

It’s been a common theme in my revisions and posts lately, this idea of forcing myself not to take the lazy way out. I’m still working on that mindset, on being willing to put in every bit of leg work a project requires in order to ultimately produce the best story possible, to tell it the way it’s meant to be told no matter how much blood, sweat and tears it took to get there.

So remember, there’s plenty of reasons to chose revising over rewriting or vice versa, but it ultimately matters most what the scene needs, what the issues are and how they can best be approached so that you aren’t cheating yourself or your story.

 

NanoWrimo Week 1!

            fifi-and-outline    NanoWrimo has been off to a disappointing start. It only took me two days to realize I’d started my story in the wrong spot and the first four chapters I was working on were going to have to be cut as soon as revisions start. However, in the spirit of fast drafting and not revising as I go, I decided to keep writing those chapters even if I know they won’t be there later. They provide valuable background information for me as the writer, and allow me to get used to my characters before the action really starts.

I’ve also already begun reworking my outline but I consider that a natural progression of my writing process. There are parts of any story that don’t become clear until I begin writing, and updating my outline and reworking plot points is better to do now than following the outline and having to rewrite essentially the entire draft later.

I’m a little behind on my word count goals, I’m supposed to be to 10,000 at the end of today (day 6). I’ve just finished two word sprints, (using the MyWriteClub sprint feature), and I’ve caught up from yesterday. It’s only 10:30 in the morning so I’m confident I’ll get above and beyond where I need to be before the day is over. I have some homework to do for school and some cleaning to do in my apartment today too, so I have to keep reminding myself to stay productive.

In other news, being in the midst of a new first draft has led to a breakthrough in the revisions of a different story that I’d all but given up on. I’d thought I was sick of it and that the revisions I’d made while working on the second draft had essentially put me in a corner. I’ve been getting sudden inspiration though, with ideas for new scenes coming to me, and a newfound motivation to at least finish the second draft, even if that novel is never seen by anyone but me. I think it’ll be good for me to go through the entire revision process, if for nothing more than learning to push through it.

While that inspiration is a good thing, I can’t work on it now. Part of fast drafting is ignoring distractions, so I’ve been writing down any ideas that come to me for that revision while also keeping a separate document for revision ideas related to the first draft I’m doing for NanoWrimo. I’m going to look at the revisions for my other project when November is over, but for now its first draft time. And with that being said, it’s time to get back to writing!

nano-week-1