Revisions, NaNo Prep, and Stickers!

Hi all!

First, a heartfelt apology for seriously sucking at blogging the last...three weeks? Four weeks? Who's counting. That's my bad. I have plenty of excuses (reading with a much anticipated book and then lots and lots of revisions), but honestly, as "valid" as those are, they're still excuses. And I'm sorry. Scouts honor I won't fall off the blog like that again, at least not without a warning (she says, knowing full well she only managed to be a girl scout for like two months).

I feel especially apologetic today because I just found out that this blog has had over 10,000 views! Holy cow! I didn't think anyone beside my friends and family actually read this, so that's pretty darn amazing. Thank you all!

Okay, I'll stop before I get all mushy. Today's blog comes to you in three parts. Part one - an update on my revisions of The Trial. Part two - NaNoWriMo 2014 is coming! And part three - the amazingness that is the Victoria Schwab sticker system.

Part I: REVISIONS

This month I've been hard at work revising my latest WIP, the Trial. (You can check out the Pinterest board for this project here.) This project has really pushed my revision skills to their limit. Because of the various POVs and different timelines, I split the book up into five different sections and revised each of those separately, rather than in actual page order.

 

 

So far, I've finished the all the sections except the pink ones, which I should be able to finish up tomorrow. I do all my revisions by hand, and then every other day or so, I type in all those changes into the Scrivener file. The process has been both fun and frustrating. Fun because I generally love revisions and really enjoy threading subplots through the whole novel and planting clues for the ending. The frustration comes from those days when the first-draft prose is truly painful. I'm a big believer in letting the first draft suck, so some sections are pretty horrific. 

After I've finished all the changes and type-ins, I'll let the MS sit for a few days. After everything has cooled (and I've used that time to read lots of fun books and prep a bit for NaNo), I'll print the MS again to do a read through where I'll line edit and check for any continuity issues that may have cropped up by splitting the MS into the five different POVs/timelines. 

And after that? It's off to the first of my critique partners to get his thoughts on the overall story and structure! The plan is to return to revisions in December, after NaNo.

Part II: NaNoWriMo 2014 Prep!

Autumn is by far my favorite seasons. The air is crisp, the foliage beautiful, and the best part? It's NaNoWriMo season!

This year for NaNo, I plan to completely reimagine my first novel. I'm taking the general cultures and a few of the key characters and turning it into a YA urban fantasy (as opposed to the odd second world fantasy it was the first time around). It's also changing from a single first person POV to a dual third person narrative. I am incredibly excited for this new novel (for the time being titled CRACKED, the Pinterest board for which is here). The new POV character is already very close to my heart. His voice and his internal struggles already feel so real to me that I'm itching to tell his story. The female POV hasn't quite fully formed yet, so I plan to spend some time while the Trial is cooling to get to know her better.

Also plotting. I should probably do at least a bit of that before November first.

While we're on the topic of NaNo, what would you like to see from me this year? Last year I blogged almost daily to update you wonderful folks on my progress. Was that at all entertaining or useful? Or should I not bother and just stick to weekly updates? Let me know in the comments.

Part III: STICKERS!

I follow author Victoria Schwab (aka V.E. Schwab) on twitter, and she tweets often about her "sticker system." After much hemming and hawing--because, gosh darn it, I am a very stubborn person--I decided to give her system a go.

Surprise, surprise, I love it. (I really need to remember to be less stubborn...someone remind me to add that to my to-do list.)

Anyway, the gist of the system is that you award yourself stickers for accomplishing a certain amount of writing work. It functions as a cost-effective reward system, an accountability motivator, and (I found) it helps highlight your personal writing habits and rhythms.

For example, I learned that when I draft, I'm much better at keeping a balanced life. Check out my September stickers. You'll notice that I managed to both read and write fairly regularly.

 


But when I'm in revision mode, like I am this month? I forget the meaning of the word "moderation." As you'll notice below, nearly all my time is spent on revisions. I haven't read a book in weeks. I don't know why it's so different when I'm drafting, but apparently it is. (But yay! I got a sticker for finally blogging this month!)

 


The perpetual student in me really enjoys the whole "sticker reward" aspect of this system, and there's another part of me that finds the snapshot view of my monthly habits fascinating. Plus, the competitive piece of me likes to see how hard I can push and how many stickers I can earn.

I expect NaNo to be sticker-filled month of awesome.

You tell me: What have you been doing since I last blogged? Read any good books lately? Are you planning to do NaNo this year? Also, if you feel so inclined, leave me a comment to tell me how you found this blog. I'd love to know!

-Isabel