Today I worked a little over two hours. I now have two outlines. One would be all the chapters I went through and did revision via quotes. I would need an introduction and a conclusion. The other outline has two new chapters.
After I wrote up the outlines, I started looking through all my previous drafts for whatever I have already written about sexuality and intimacy. I have mixed feelings about this process. I wonder if I am just making busy work for myself and retreating to my comfort zone of research. Research is easier than either writing or revision. Writing is easier than revision.
I may continue down the potential rabbit hole of intimacy for another day or so. Now I am off to Jacob’s Pillow to see a dance performance.
Today I went through the epilogue, revising and cutting quotes. I worked for 103 minutes. So far, I have worked an average of almost two hours a day. It may not seem like a lot but what I am doing is hard.
When I began revising via quote, I started with Chapter 2 because I had been working for so long on Chapter one, I was sick of looking at it. Today after I finished with the epilogue, I turned my attention back to it. In the end I decided not to do the quotes in Chapter 1 because I have so many different versions of it that it was very confusing.
What I did instead was think about the organization or reorganization of the whole manuscript. Realizing that there are two problematic chapters one, and seven I produced an outline that simply eliminated those chapters. That gave me a potential manuscript of seven chapters in 272 pages.
I then thought about what I was leaving out by eliminating those chapters and what I wanted to work back into this new structure. Because I have been working on this manuscript for so long, I have multiple chunks I can move around and put in either existing chapters or new ones.
By the end of my 103 minutes, I had a new structure that that would include a revised chapter one, a new chapter on cookbooks, and a new chapter on sexuality for a total of ten chapters and probably, but this is just a guess, 380 words. If I do wind up with a manuscript that is 380 words, it means I would have only cut about sixty pages from the current manuscript. When I think about it that way it is a lot of work for little pay back. As you can tell, this is still a work in progress. I am still trying to figure out what I am doing.
Three weeks done. Today I worked for 155 minutes, completing the revision via quotes on Chapter 8. I kept a draft of the whole chapter, but also divided it into two new chapter. One which will focus on Yale is thirty-one pages. The other which focuses on college president’s wives is thirty-eight pages.
I kept both versions so I can make a final decision later. I am on track to complete this round of revision on Saturday. Starting Sunday, I will spend the last week of NaNoWriMo, working on queries and my book proposal for various publishers. I also want to get back to Tell It Slant.
I am looking forward to the weekend when I will be going to Jacob’s Pillow on Saturday and attending a birthday party on Sunday. Two more days of strenuous work and then I can, while remaining focused, relax a little bit.
Today I worked for 90 minutes. I started by trying to tackle the quotes in chapter 7. The chapter really needs reorganization. Part of me thinks I could just eliminate the whole piece, reducing my overall word count by more than 15,000 words.
Thinking about all that is overwhelming since I really wanted to finish this round of revising via quotes before I tackle the more substantive issues in the manuscript. After getting through thirty-three pages of Chapter 7, I gave up. I then turned to Chapter 8.
The main issue with Chapter 8 is that it is too long, and I need to divide it into two. I am not focusing on that right now. Again, I just want to finish the quotes pass. I think I will be done with the remaining material by Monday. Of course, I will let you know whether I achieve that goal.
Today, I worked for almost two hours, finishing going through the quotes in Chapter 6. Next up is Chapter 7, which is the most problematic in terms of my overall structure. I may eliminate it completely or put parts of it in other chapters. These decisions are the hardest to make.
I have fallen behind on my reading and working with Tell It Slant. I didn’t get much sleep last night, so I didn’t tackle it today. Hopefully, I will get back to it tomorrow.
Today is day 18 of NaNoWriMo Summer Camp and I have surpassed my goal of 1861 words or 60 minutes a day for the thirty-one days of July. Today, after working for 140 minutes, I have a total of 1931 minutes or 113.58 minutes a day.
Today I worked on the quotes from Chapter 6 and also looked at other drafts of the chapter. I am still thinking about the overall organization of the book so, today, I looked at book proposals from several years ago. At that time I had a different organizational structure.
After I finish the revising via quote process, I may explore merging that older structure and the current one. One of my writing teachers, Kate, tried to encourage me to acknowledge that revision is a long process. I have been reluctant to accept that advice, but I am seeing more truth in it everyday.
Today I spent 2 hours, working with the quotes in Chapter 5 and reading a chapter from Tell It Slant. I have five more chapters to go through.
I did go swimming this morning which was a lot of fun. At 5 p.m., I am going to do yoga, remotely with BreOutside, and then journal. More self-care. See you tomorrow.
Today I decided to power through and do all the cutting, rewriting, and reducing of the quotes in chapter 4. It took me almost three hours and eliminated twelve pages. Starting tomorrow, I will have six chapters counting the epilogue left to do.
If I can keep up the same pace I did today, hopefully I could complete this part of the revision by the end of next week. Then I would be able to go back to looking at publishers and agents and sending out queries and proposals. Each publisher wants something different, so it is a good amount of work to get together the package to send to them.
I would also be able to get back to doing more with Tell It Slant although I do plan to begin reading Chapter 11. Tomorrow morning, I am going to go swimming which once again will be my self-care for the day.
Today I worked for two hours on the book. Once I get going, cutting whole sections actually feels good. When I think about that though, I wonder if the book will make sense if I remove most of the quotes and some of the supporting material. After I go through this process, I will obviously have to read the whole manuscript again to see if it still holds together.
I have been pondering what I will do once July and NaNoWriMo Summer Camp is over. I really like the accountability that updating my word count every day gives me. Posting about it every day is also a form of accountability. What I need to figure out going forward is how to have that external accountability without necessarily posting every day.
One idea is to find someone who I could email everyday telling them what my progress had been. Another thing that occurs to me is that I could tweet about it every day which would be a win- win situation. It would help me keep up my Twitter count and it would be public external accountability. I am going to think about this some more since I have a little over two weeks left of NaNoWriMo. I will let you know what I decide.
Today I worked for a little over an hour and a half. I finished reducing and/or cutting quotes from Chapter Two. I eliminated about four and a half pages, staring with 11,096 words, and ending with 9, 952. There is probably more to cut but I can’t keep looking at the same chapter so tomorrow I will move on to Chapter Three.
I also did more reading in Tell It Slant. One of the essays was by Scott Russell Sanders, “Buckeyes.” It was very lyrical and a pleasure to read. I plan to see what else he has written.
No news on the publishing search. Now I am off to eat lunch and watch the January 6 hearing. I realize that this daily posting may be a little bit boring for you, but I made the commitment, so I am sticking with it.