Midweek update

I think sound effects would probably be the best way to start this. Maybe a groan, followed by the sound of a head thudding repeatedly on something hard.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s going well. But {groan, thud, thud, thud} this is not a kinder, gentler revision.

I started with the line-for-scene. Finished that on Monday, but it took ALL day.

I outlined 38 scenes, only four of them brand new, so that was pretty good. However, the other stats on the line-for-scene were not so sweet.

Remember, in the four-color index-card line-for-scene:

GREEN=”no change up to 24% change necessary”
YELLOW=”25%-49% change necessary”
ORANGE=”50%-74% change necessary”
RED=”75%-burn it and start fresh”

Out of 38 scenes, then:

3 were green.
7 were yellow. (At this point, those of you comfortable with arithmetic are saying ‘uh-oh.’)
7 were orange. (Perhaps at this point, there are a couple of ‘yipe, yipe, yipe’s.)
21 were red.

I was also behind schedule, so I refigured pages to edit per day for just the four days I had left, and screamed. Added in Saturday and Sunday of this week, and re-refigured pages per day and came up with about 46 pages per day, which, considering the number of big rewrite and huge rewrite scenes, is brutal. But doable, as I’m here to attest. I’m now on page 152 of a 260 page manuscript, I’m back on deadline, and I have a stack of brand new handwritten pages to type in.

I also have three endings. I love all of them. That, however, is not today’s problem.

Have been working since 6 AM, am done for today, and am really, really tired. But….

I like what I’m getting. If it keeps up like this, perhaps my editor’s revision will not be as brutal as mine is. (That’s always the way you hope things will go.)

Thanks, too, for the good karma wishes, both on the writing and the kid. I appreciate them very much.

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10 responses to “Midweek update”

  1. Holly Avatar

    Hi, Peter. I wasn’t offended. I’m simply swamped. I’m glad you’re finding the articles helpful. And thanks, Jean, for pointing him toward them.

  2. Ninja Avatar

    Holly, when I posted that first comment, I hadn’t read your Misconceptions page. I apologize for what must have seemed like an arrogant disregard for your site’s policy.

    Thanks again for the helpful articles,

  3. Holly Avatar

    I’m plugging. A lot of it has been total re-do. But still on schedule.

  4. MarFisk Avatar

    Ouch Holly. That sounds like a rough place to be, but you can pull out of it. You’ve done it before.


  5. PolarBear Avatar

    Ugly as it looks, you’re bringing out the beauty.

    Welcome, Peter. You may not have noticed this, but Holly has already posted nearly a million words of advice throughout this site. That’s part of the pocketful she offers. Many of your questions are already answered. Try the Writers tab at the top to get started.

    I’m not Holly, but what you’ve posted sounds like things many writers experience. I know what you mean about not knowing how or whether to tell people you’re a writer. For all the reasons you mention and more, many writers, including me choose not to tell many people about our writing. Keep writing and studying to improve your craft. As you read books and enjoy them, you’ll find yourself wondering how someone achieved that good bit of writing, and you’ll seek ways to achieve a similar goal in your work. In my mind, it’s a very iterative process with, for me, many stops and starts along the way.

    Don’t worry too much about why right now. Enjoy and learn. Good luck.

  6. Chassit Avatar

    Good luck, Holly! I know you can do it. You’ve done it before–it’s hopefully not near as bad as Hawkspar. Good wishes, Holly, you can do it!

  7. katiehasen Avatar

    Wow. Looks like a lot of work. I mean, I guess that’s how things go. A small detail that’s changed turns into a massive revision.

  8. Nicole Avatar

    Best of luck with the edit! You constantly amaze me with your progress and quality. Thanks for being such an inspiration!

  9. anders Avatar

    I’m sixteen. I’ve written something like ten books now, and there are four which I’m still proud of and two for which I’m querying agents. I don’t like to talk about my writing, either, because while a draft is in progress the whole thing is very intimate and, when I talk about it too much, all the brilliance seems to evaporate.

    I’ve always done very little planning, and those novels which I have planned heavily have often ended up as husks sitting in my “Abandoned Projects” folder. I wouldn’t worry too much about whether I’d done sufficient planning, in your position; I’d worry about doing too much! (But of course every writer is different, so you’ll find your own comfort zone.)

  10. Ninja Avatar


    My name is Peter. I’m 17 years old, and I’ve been considering writing a novel for quite some time. I know I’m a bit young, but I’ve been thinking about it non-stop for months. Whenever I have free time, I’m making friends with characters in my head. I’ve stopped listening to music when I go to sleep so I can write ideas down on the pad of paper I now keep on my nightstand. I’ve read volumes on plot development, characterization, and point of view. So far, the countless character charts and stacks of index cards I’ve conjured have led to a rather satisfactory seven-page outline – but I don’t know if I’m ready to begin writing.

    As I’ve discovered, the process itself seems very intimate. It’s a huge reflection of who I am, and the thought of somebody reading a hundred thousand of *my* words is absolutely terrifying to me.

    I haven’t told many people about my plans for a number of reasons. Some of my friends would think it helpful to give me their two cents on what I should write about. Others would ask for a play-by-play of my progress. Most of all, however, I’m afraid that I’ll tell too many people, then let them down when I abandon the project. Regardless of the outcome, I realize that this is something I have to try myself – as any good writing comes from the heart of the writer.

    That being said, I have no idea why I want to do this. I’ve never really enjoyed reading (until recently), and I’ve always been impartial to writing. This unexplainable urge just came into my life spontaneously, and it’s all still rather unfamiliar. How did you feel before publishing your first novel? Is it always something you’ve wanted to do? How do you know when you’ve done enough planning and it’s time to start writing?

    I was wondering if you could offer me a word or two of advice. After all, you have a pocket full of them. I know you’re busy (as you demonstrated in your post), but it would really mean a lot to me if you did.

    Thanks for your time, and for the great resource,

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