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.
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 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 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.
This is the first day of the third week of NaNoWriMo Summer Camp. Today I started with doing an exercise from Tell It Slant. “Write a scene of an early memory.” I did that and ended with almost six hundred words about an early memory of a traumatic event that occurred over sixty years ago.
The memory has been weighing on me recently, so I am glad I wrote about it. It was upsetting to relive what had happened which made it difficult to concentrate on revising my manuscript.
I did work for 65 minutes, both on the exercise and on the book. A week ago, I had put some notes in Keep about potential reorganization of the manuscript. Today I looked at the notes and produced a new table of content which moves various chapters around and splits up others.
The work to achieve this reorganization feels daunting but I will attempt it at some point. Because of NaNoWriMo, I will be working this weekend, but I am also going to try to get out of the house. I hope everyone has a great weekend.
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 had an appointment at 11 a.m. which got cancelled. I dislike when that happens because I usually tightly arrange my days. Being a control freak, it is not easy for me to change already made plans. In other words, I am not that flexible.
I worked for 96 minutes today. I started my working period with yoga which NaNoWriMo offered as part of Summer Camp. It was lovely and a wonderful way to form a mindful writing intention.
I did not have time to continue working my way through Tell It Slant. I also did not do anymore research on publishers and agents. I see in my email that one of the presses I queried has answered so I will look at that tomorrow. In a little while I am going to go to a pool in Holyoke and get a swimming lesson. This is one of my concessions to it being July and will be self- care.
Today’s time/word count is the same as yesterday. – 110 minutes/words. The main issue I am facing as I try to revise the manuscript is the structure of the book and if I need to change it or not.
From 2008 to 2018, I wrote two hundred pages of the book with a chronological structure, starting in the late nineteenth century and intending to end it somewhere in the 21st. I eventually decided I disliked that structure because many of the stories became disjointed.
When I resumed writing in 2015, I envisioned a more thematic approach, with complete stories in individual chapters. I planned to have several “anchor” chapters that would provide a broader context for the various stories.
I did write one “anchor” chapter, which is currently the first chapter of the manuscript. I then abandoned that structure and continued to write the more thematically based chapters with complete stories.
I now realize the manuscript is a mish mash of the two different organizing principles. This is what I must resolve, and I am not finding it easy to do.
As promised, here’s my post about my plans for July. I am going to give NaNoWriMo another try. This month is NaNoWriMo summer camp, and I have committed to working an hour a day on my book every day in July. Because each minute equals a word, if I do what I plan to do, at the end of the month I will have 1860 words.
Although the manuscript has some overall issues that I need to address, I find that too overwhelming to tackle immediately. I have been working on revising chapter one and that is what I am going to continue to do, using some of the craft tools that I have learned while attending the Pioneer Valley Writers Workshop eight-week revision class. Hopefully I can get complete the revision of chapter one and start working on chapter 2 within the month of July. My other hope is that by being so focused for 31 days the focus and concentration will carry over to the subsequent months and I will really make progress on the revision of my manuscript.
As far as blogging goes, I plan to do what I did in November when I was doing NaNoWriMo. I will have short posts every day of the month telling my loyal readership what I have accomplished for the day.
Before posting this, I completed 90 minutes of work on my book. That counts as 90 words. I hope I have a very productive July and I wish the same for all of you.
On June 3, my first cousin died. She had been sick for a while and I had been planning to visit her a week later, I stuck to my plans and went to California from June 10 to June 14th. It was a very stressful and draining trip.
I returned late Tuesday night; on Thursday my son and his wife came to stay. They bought a house in Worcester and needed to attend the closing and do other tasks connected to the sale of the house. My daughter-in-law went to Connecticut to attend a wedding and see family on Saturday while my son stayed until Monday morning.
Because of my grief over my cousin and having company, I have been unable to get back into my daily routine. Because I have been so busy the above explanation is all I can mange for a blog post this week. I will be back next week with a description of my plans for July. I am sure you all can’t wait. Have a nice week.