Wednesday, December 1, 2010


National Novel Fail Month. That's what I participated in this year.

Blarg. I didn't win NaNoWriMo. I ended at about 26K which is just over half of the goal. Eek. I think my main problem was that I finished the draft at 26K on 11/19. It was short. It was crappy. Some scenes were written hastily with shorthand and abbreviations, some were written in a sentence with the intent to write the whole scene out later. The last chapter/epilogue, in its entirety, is this:

"At a party or something with friends. What happened to the family? Still learning, getting better at managing. Ends with lots of potential."

Like, seriously? That's the entire final chapter?

First of all-- "Ends with lots of potential"? WTF kinda crap ending is that? And how about "At a party or something with friends." There's some brilliant scene settage. I smell a Printz.

Anyway, looking at that last chapter brings me to the next point: How much revision is in my future. I have about 8 chapters (out of 40) that are "written" like the final chapter. A few words and the general purpose of the chapter, but nothing more. Of the remaining 32, about 12 are filled with tips on how to "fill out the scene later" and helpful notes like "[Cassie joins the table and says something clever]".

Half of the chapters are still okay story wise, but since they were written in a rush and many things have changed as I've gone along, they still need rewriting. Like, one of my characters has a supernatural power, and I decided halfway through that using the power should have some kind of retribution. So for the first half of the book everything is fine and dandy whenever the power is used. Then in the second half whenever the power is used the character gets horrible headaches of doom. So I need to go back, trace the appearance of the power from scene to scene, then change it so the headaches accompany the power from the beginning.

I'm all ready to get into it. I've got a four-pass revision plan and everything:

One: Go through and fix the story from the beginning; make sure all the different plots and character arcs are at least in place. This step involves writing any scenes that weren't fully written out before. It doesn't have to be good, it just has to be there so I can fix it in the next round.

Two: I'm going to print the whole thing out and go through it with a pen, fine tuning all my plots and arcs, analyzing my words, and making sure everything is good and consistent. I'm also going to spend time going through chapters one at a time and making each one shine like it's the most important scene in the book.

Three: Enter the changes from paper to computer into a new doc so every word gets some attention, do one more final read through, then send it off to betas.

Four: Revision based off of beta feedback. If significant changes were needed, resend to betas for another round. If feedback was minor, do final revision then prepare for querying.

So. That's my revision plan. I don't know how long each step will take, so I'm not sure when I'll be done, just that these are the steps I need to take. I could do it in a month or two if I were really truly dedicated, but likely I'll be done around spring. Whenever I finish, I'm hoping step one will be done as soon as possible. I really want to get ACTUAL drafts of these scenes written so I can print it. I look forward to sitting in the living room, snuggled in blankets with a hot cup of tea, a pen in my hand and my printed ms on my lap. Because right now I'm in my cold-ass office, wearing a jacket and fingerless gloves so I can still type. I reallyreallyreally want this drafting phase to be done now so I can go curl into a ball in front of the heater.

How did all of you do for NaNoWriMo? Win? Lose? Light your computer on fire?


  1. Giiirrrl,

    You'll rock those revision points. And I can't wait for you to get to #3!

    I was nodding my way through this blogpost, until I hit the sentence "...snuggled in blankets with a hot cup of tea". Tea? Did you break up with your long term boyfriend, coffee?

    PS: I didn't read this post until 50 minutes after you posted because I was WRITING. I know! Crazy!

  2. Hello, fellow non-winner. We are awesome.

    I hit the 32k at the halfway point and then didn't write any more. I wasn't stuck, I just started to hate my story so I decided we needed a break from each other.

    I did write another 9k on The Silagree. I'm hoping to keep on with that until it's done.

    I've missed your crazy emails. I expect you'll receive a few from in the near future.

    Good luck with the revisions!!

  3. I think you technically won because you particated--now you can pace yourself more with the revision process.

    Nice work Kat.

  4. I did NaNoWriMo too and I did write over 60,000 words...just not for one novel. By the time I settled on one solid idea to write about I had only written a little over 32,000 words. It's a little more than halfway done and I'm hoping I can finish it by the beginning of next year. I'm really liking your revision plan. Right now I can't even think about revisions until I finish the first draft. It seems like right now that this draft will never end. Sometime I wish novels could just write themselves. Good luck!

  5. I think if you managed to write more than half the goal, if you achieved something creative, then you may not have "won" but you certainly didn't fail.