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  1. HeathBar

    HeathBar Active Member

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    HeathBar - Making Progress!

    Discussion in 'Progress Journals' started by HeathBar, Apr 17, 2019.

    I'm feeling especially positive today, giddy almost, and wanted to capture the feeling and put it somewhere I could find it when I'm not feeling so optimistic. So, here we are. I started my WIP two and a half years ago and it's been "finished" for nearly a year. Currently 100,979 words. Three title changes. Countless structure changes. Renamed characters. Deleted characters. And still more changes to come. But.... after the last round of betas and an epiphany last night about changing the POV of the final chapter, I think I've got it. I think I've got it!!! Thinking about it just gave me goosebumps (again). Only four (of 46) chapters to revise and a few tweaks to some others. And then . . . done? Maybe?!
     
  2. marshipan

    marshipan Contributor Contributor

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    That's awesome! Congratulations on what you've accomplished so far. :)
     
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  3. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin We may just go where no-one's been.... Contributor

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    I love Heath Bars. My mother makes me an ice cream cake with lady fingers, coffee ice cream, and crushed Heath Bars. Every year. And I'm about to turn 41. Long live Heath Bars!
     
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  4. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Banned Contributor

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    Congratulations about all that work!
     
  5. HeathBar

    HeathBar Active Member

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    Thanks everyone! Trying to keep the momentum going.

    And Homer, this sounds fantastic!
     
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  6. HeathBar

    HeathBar Active Member

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    Just came back to read this to spur momentum. Original post was two weeks ago. Still positive, still motivated, but my day job has been stifling my writing euphoria. But . . . I have worked some. One of the four chapter rewrites is finished, two more are underway, and one I haven't touched yet. I also did some research on using song lyrics in books (one of my MCs always has songs stuck in his head), and realized I need to remove all lyrics that aren't absolutely necessary. The permission process is seems INSANE. Folks told me that, but in my hubris I thought it wouldn't be that big of a deal. So far--luckily--removing the lyrics hasn't been material because the song titles revealed enough about the song/feeling/theme for my purpose. I may need to swap songs if that's not the case as I keep editing. But that's doable. It's all doable, just need to get the work done. Happy writing!
     
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  7. HeathBar

    HeathBar Active Member

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    Alright. 12:46 and I have an empty house (an empty house!) for the next 24 hours (24 hours!). I've finished 3.5/4 chapter rewrites (needed to change POVs in those chapters - I had too many people talking). The half remaining chapter is the last chapter, and I'm holding on that for now. Currently 102057 words. 46 chapters. Goal for the next 24 hours - start at the beginning. Edit/revise as I go. Check continuity. Fix issues. Supplement things I know I need to supplement. Take out non-essential song lyrics. Finish the last chapter. Make it sing. I can't even hazard a guess at how many times I've revamped this and how many hours that's taken. I literally have a two foot stack of marked up drafts in my office and a half dozen notebooks/legal pads with notes scribbled in them. And I've written on my phone, on airplanes, hotel rooms, at work (shhh), at home, in bed, on the couch, in the kitchen, dictated while driving, and on and on and on. And it's gotten so. much. better. I'm chasing the light at the end of the tunnel.
     
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  8. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Banned Contributor

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    I know that light at the end of the tunnel. Usually it's train.

    But.. You know... Trains are nice. We need them.
     
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  9. HeathBar

    HeathBar Active Member

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    All rewrites are rewritten. I suspect some of it still reads very first-drafty, but it's on paper. With the expertise of this group (thanks Martin!), I figured out how to get it on my Kindle and plan to read through it while I'm traveling later today, legal pad and pen in hand. It's pretty cool seeing my work on the Kindle - it looks (or maybe just feels?) so much different than looking at it on my computer screen in Word, or even printed out. This is how I read real books. I read Richard Yates' Easter Parade on the trip out here, which is the only reason I had my Kindle with me in the first place. (Very good book, although not sure it was the "best book I'd never read" according to PW.) It occurred to me last night that I should try to get my MS on the Kindle to read on the trip home. I'm hoping the experience changes my editing lens and I can see things I don't see in the doc. After this re-read and revision, I'm hoping to give it to my very patient husband to read again. And then, maybe, maybe?, start querying?
     
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  10. HeathBar

    HeathBar Active Member

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    I revisited this thread today and am regretting the exclamation point in the title. I actually looked to see if I could remove it. Needless to say, today feels less giddy than when I started this almost three months ago. Still positive, but just wondering whether the editing will ever. be. finished (?). Every round of edits has made it better, but it's so much work. My spouse is reading it again now and has a great eye for continuity and finding opportunities to leverage thematic elements and IDing those spots where the prose just doesn't sing. The feedback is spot on and thinking about how to incorporate edits and rework certain parts literally gives me goosebumps (because it feels that good). And compared to how much work I've put in so far, it's not a lot. But I get so excited every time I complete a round of edits thinking it's there. But not yet. Almost. Again. Still. Just keep writing and stop using exclamation points.
     
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  11. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Banned Contributor

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    Editing will not be finished. It's not something for passive sentences.

    You will finish editing when you will finish it.

    The best time to finish is when you can't make it better. If new versions are not more compelling, tempting, enjoyable... Then you should have finished a bit earlier. The gut feeling of reader tells you the most important things about this.

    Raising text is like raising kids. They must get they independence just before they are ready. Then they get they own life. If you raise/edit/hone/educate them too long, they'll be spoiled.

    Edit as long as editing makes it better. Stop when not. Choose better version. It's your manuscript. Hopefully it will become your book.

    (Sorry, but I can't call manuscripts books like so many in English speaking sphere. It's book when anyone interested can buy it, not before.)
     
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  12. HeathBar

    HeathBar Active Member

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    Yeah, I'm not there yet. The edits are making it better. The edits are becoming increasingly minor, but still improving it in not immaterial ways. I do think I'm close. I never anticipated how much work this would be (this is my first manuscript :). Seriously. Every time I make it all the way through (again) (currently sitting at 104,528 words), I think that's really it this time. It sings. But then it's not really it. I still get goosebumps with ideas to incorporate (which, again, at this point are increasingly minor) but it's not just incorporating one idea into one spot because the new ideas are typically enhancing thematic elements. This is probably a woefully inefficient way to edit, which might be part of my problem.
     
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  13. HeathBar

    HeathBar Active Member

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    Goal for the next two weeks: finish editing. I need to partially rewrite two chapters and incorporate other relatively minor feedback. And since I'm feeling particularly slasher-y today, darlings are going to die. In two weeks I go out of town. I'll give it one more read through when I get back and then I'm going to start querying. I think it's very close.
     
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  14. HeathBar

    HeathBar Active Member

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    Have I said I hate the exclamation point on the title of this post? Because I do. My day job is drowning me. Other than an hour or two on a plane, I haven't had the time or mental energy to even look at my MS in nearly a month. And the time away has shaken my confidence. What was I thinking? I don't have the time to devote to this. I know, I know. Where there's a will, there's way. But I don't have much will right now. Groan. Sob. Whine. Goal for now is to get my head straight and make time to get back to writing.
     
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  15. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Banned Contributor

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    I don't know what kind of support we are allowed to give but... Exactly that amount of that kind of social support from here to there!

    Getting things better is a good goal.
     
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  16. HeathBar

    HeathBar Active Member

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    Thank you, Alan Aspie. I think even grumbling on here made me feel better. I just wish I had more time. (But who doesn't?)
     
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  17. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Banned Contributor

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    You are welcome.

    Sometimes getting stress down frees time or energy for something else.

    I use a voice recorder quite a lot. I make notes while walking and write them later down.

    I hope you can get things organised.
     
  18. HeathBar

    HeathBar Active Member

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    Yes, this:
    And one day I will accept that I have the mental and emotional bandwidth for only so many things at once. And sometimes the writing bandwidth might be a sliver -- and that's okay. Which reminds me of playing the computer game The Sims (decades ago!), where you house and feed and entertain virtual people. If you wanted them to do X, they would refuse until whatever want/need they had was met. Not rocket science: be pro-active about wants/needs to you can make more room for X.

    With that lead-in, things are coming along. Word count is coming down (currently 103,577) which is a good thing. Probably won't decrease much more. To do list: finish tightening Part 1 (of 3). I'm nearly finished. Then move onto Part 2 - this will take the most time because I want to rework one chapter, but not a lot of time (relatively speaking). Part 3 is in good shape. It's all really meshing - so much so that I tweaked the query letter I wrote months ago . . . and I actually think it's pretty good.

    I can tell I'm reaching the end because I'm getting whispers about my other (shelved) WIPs. So long as the whispers don't turn into screams, the goal is to get the current WIP buttoned up before switching gears.
     
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  19. HeathBar

    HeathBar Active Member

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    WIP is at 102,995. Tighten, baby, tighten! Edits to Part I are finished. Now going through Part II. Difficult to describe, but this round of editing feels different. It feels patient. I don't feel rushed or stressed to finish. So I'm thinking maybe that's a good thing. And I'm thinking that might mean that the bones are right where they need to be -- I'm satisfied with structure, themes, characters, their arcs, etc. This round of editing is a slow and very deliberate. Incorporating a tidbit here or there. Tightening or improving language. So, feeling pretty zen right now. I'm also traveling next week, which means I should have more time than usual to work on this (plane writing is the best writing).
     
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  20. HeathBar

    HeathBar Active Member

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    All rewrites are rewritten. And I really like it. Going to read through again and then focus on the query. It will be out of my heads by month-end. Scary but exciting.
     
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  21. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Yay! And from what I hear, you've totally done the right thing by giving your ms a thorough edit before sending it out.

    Well done!

    (I say "from what I hear" because I've chosen to self-publish. But I can say the same thing for putting the book up for presale on Amazon. Not good to make oneself sick staying up late before the publication deadline catching typos and plugging plot holes.)
     
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  22. HeathBar

    HeathBar Active Member

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    The query has left the building. It feels good. (Until months go by with no response; but it feels good for now.)
     
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  23. HeathBar

    HeathBar Active Member

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    Reflecting on the last year and what I've learned. I know more about myself as a writer. I've learned to trust the process, which is write the first draft, let it sit, stew on it a bit, come back to it, make it sing. Repeat. I've learned to be more patient. It's going to take the time it takes and the MS will be better for it.

    I made progress in 2019. I finished the MS, then revised, then finished, then revised again. I submitted my first query. Yes, it was rejected, but it made it past the junior reader to the agent and the agent actually read it. I got some great feedback and have a clear idea of what to change.

    For 2020, I will revise and query other agents. I need to draft three completely new chapters (one is done) and rewrite four, then edit for consistency throughout. I' m very concerned about the word count - currently over 103K and it can't be much longer than that or it won't be marketable. I keep telling myself to just get it written and I can tighten and cut non-essential stuff then. It's doable. Once it's sent out, I want to dust off some other WIPs - a second novel that's partially written and a few short stories with potential. Another goal is logistical - my day job is crushing me, so I need to be more organized about making time to write as opposed to fitting it in. Again, all doable. I just need to do it.
     
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  24. HeathBar

    HeathBar Active Member

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    Trying to figure out how to best use the only time I can find these days to write, which is no more than 30-40 minutes at a time. It's not long enough to tackle the new chapters (or parts of new chapters) - I've been trying that and I'm generating crap because I can't get my head where it needs to be before I have to turn to something else. I have a To Do list for editing stuff - maybe I'll try to tackle some of those, but I was holding those things until I had the new stuff written in case it impacted what I might want to edit. Noodling, noodling. My day job is so demanding that my brain hurts too much to write in the evenings. Yes, maybe the editing. At least I'll feel like I'm getting something done, even if I have to go back and fix it again.
     
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  25. HeathBar

    HeathBar Active Member

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    Word count has grown to 111,1115 - too long. First drafts of four of the chapters needing rewrites completed - some great stuff, but need lots of editing still. But it's something to work with. Rewrites consisted of changing the POV for the final part of the book. Originally, had Part 1 in the POV of the first generation, Part 2 in the POV of the second generation, and Part 3 mixed between the 1st and 3rd generations. Looking back, not sure how I didn't see this structural disconnect before now. The rewrites are taking the 1st generation chapters in Part 3 to the POV of generation 3. It works MUCH better - the basic substance [e.g., settings/plot points] in those chapters remains, but now told through the eyes of someone else. Goal is first to continue editing the new stuff so it's mostly "there." After that, tasks are to (1) go through the entire work and cut extraneous stuff and harmonize as needed given the new material; and (2) to rewrite the final chapter, which is also a POV shift. Still on the fence as to whether that POV is of one of the third generation characters, or one of the second. I know, I know. With my epiphany about structural disconnect, maybe it should be 3rd generation. But Part 3 is completing the arc for the two second generation characters, so I think it needs to return to the voice of the (2nd generation) protagonist who's completing his journey. Right now, don't know if I'll tackle task (1) or (2) first. Kind of thinking I'll take a stab at rewriting the last chapter first . . . because depending on how that shapes up, it could mean I have to go through the entire MS again anyway. But...plenty to do between now and then. If there's any "trick" to any of this, it's just to keep writing... When I saved a new version of my doc the other day, inserting the date, I realized I've been working on this for almost 4 years. But I truly believe it's close. Just keep writing.
     
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