Saturday, November 30, 2013

50,000 Words, Cards Against Humanity, Revision, and Mountain Biking (not necessarily in that order)

At approximately 1:30am on Nov. 30th I rolled across the finish line for NaNoWriMo 2013. Not only did I break 50,000 words, but I also wrapped up the first draft of that novel. This year's NaNo novel was one the second half of the draft I started last year, so the final first draft is just over 100,000 words. Woot! It feels really good to have that first draft done, as this is a story that's been in my head for a long, long time. There's a lot of work that needs to be done before it's a finished product, but you can't revise what you haven't written, so it feels really good to have that draft on paper.

To celebrate, this morning, I slept until 8:45am (decadent, I know) had a lazy morning of coffee and chatting with the hubby, and then went for a few hours of mountain biking with some good friends who are visiting from Colorado. As today marked the second time I have gone mountain biking in my life, I considered the fact that I only went ass over tin cups once a total victory. Indeed, despite having my ass handed to me by a sport I have zero experience with (or perhaps because of that) I had a great time.

Biking was followed by coffee. Coffee was followed by the purchasing of art, and art purchasing was followed by a delicious leftover-stravaganza from the many amazing meals we have eaten this week. All of this was topped off by beer and a bouldering session at the school wall (tiny, but overhung) so all in all it was a banner day.

In other news: this past few weeks have been marked by a particularly joyous and friendship building activity. I refer, of course, to playing cards against humanity. If you don't have this game, you should go buy it. It is quite simply, the funniest game I have ever played. A caveat: if you are easily offended, this is not the game for you. Of course, this may be a useless caveat, as no one considers themselves easily offended. Still, this game goes out of its way to offend (everyone equally at least) so consider yourself warned. In addition, this is not a game for children, and I would personally feel kind of awkward playing it with any of my close family members as well. Ahem...

In still other news: My reward to myself (aside from going to play outside today) for finishing my NaNoWriMo novel was to buy myself a course on Novel revision. This may sound extraneous to people who don't write for a living (or even to some who do) but revision is a big deal. It's actually where most of the magic happens in terms of producing a great piece of prose, and it is not (contrary to popular belief) all about putting commas in the right places and getting there, their and they're right. Don't get me wrong, commas, and the theres (theirs, they'res) are important, but they are the tiny adjustments that need to be made to a manuscript at the end of the revision process in order to make it pretty and legible. They are not the reworking that needs to be done to get the meat and bones of your story in all the right places.

I did a giant rewrite on Gwendamned this summer and it was the best (and most complicated) revision I have done to date. I learned a lot about revision just doing that, but it's clear that there is plenty more that I could learn. What I used to make that revision happen was just the description from the class that I signed up for. I figured hey, the teacher outlines the basic concept here, I can use that to make it happen, and I did make it work, and it was a huge help.

Now that I've done that, I wonder how much more I could learn if I actually did the full course. Every writer I've ever read "how to be a writer" suggestions from has said that writing is in the revision. Before I tried the methods outlined in this course I hated revision. I found it daunting, and was afraid to go about it the right way.  Rewriting a short story was fine, articles and essays were easily redone, but a novel? Too scary. Too long. Too much invested to take it apart and start all over again.

This summer taught me to like revision (a bit) and certainly to see the magic its capable of. If nothing else, I truly appreciate the value of a good rewrite at this point. My hope is that this course will enable me to enjoy revision, because it's a large part of what any author spends their time doing, and it's worth it when it's done right.

So... for anyone curious the course is called How to Revise Your Novel (creative I know) and it's taught by author Holly Lisle. I will, of course, let you know how it goes.

For now, I am off to eat some more food, and relax a bit with friends and the husband. Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Oh, and Chapter 5 from Blade's Edge should be up by Monday at the latest.


  1. Thanks for all the posts. Really enjoying blade's edge! Cool about the rewriting. I'm inspired by your perseverance!

    1. Thanks, Jill! I'm glad your enjoying it. I'm trying to be better about blogging. Glad you're enjoying the book!