Working since way before dawn

I’ve made my words for the day.

It’s been hard going. My RPE (Required Pages to Edit) for my one-pass revision requires that I edit 30 pages a day to get this done in time to type in all the edits and new additions.

For those interested in writing neep, it breaks down like this:

256-page manuscript divided by 9 working days equals 28.4 ppd rounded up to 30 ppd to provide a bit of a buffer.

Nine working days to do the write in—takes me to March 7th

Ten working days to do the type-in—takes me to March 21st

Five working days to print, proof, mail—to March 28th.

Deadline is the end of March.

Honestly, thirty pages of write-in a day doesn’t seem like much when I’m just thinking about it. I’ve written thirty pages a day before—occasionally on a daily basis. It ain’t fun, but I’ve done it.

But I noted that this was going to be a large edit, and so far, my hand-written new material is running at a ratio of 1:2 with existing material. If this trend continues, my 50,000-word first draft will expand to 75,000 words in send-off draft, which is a bit more than I’d bargained for. Editing a draft is tougher than writing it, too, because the one-pass process requires so much more out of me than putting down fresh new words. I can make all the mistakes I need to make in first draft. Second draft being final draft, though, all those mistakes have to go away in this round.

But I got the pages and I’m happy with my fixes so far. The new opener is better, and the characters are coming out more clearly right from the beginning this time. It’s going well. Eight days to go.

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

12 comments… add one
  • hollylisle Mar 5, 2007 @ 6:39

    Adam—don’t think of it as butchering. Butchering would make it worse. Think of it as emergency surgery to save the life of a dying book.

  • hollylisle Mar 5, 2007 @ 6:38

    Zink—I rip everything. I do my micro and macro edits all in the single one-pass process. I delete words, paragraphs, scenes—whatever isn’t working.

    But I never edit on-screen. Makes it way too easy to leave things that need to go. And too easy not to see things that are wrong.

  • Zink Johnson Mar 4, 2007 @ 16:07

    Holly, you don’t know how delighting it is to hear other people (*sucessful* people, nonetheless) write 50,000 word drafts as well. I’m using one-pass revision on my first draft NaNoWriMo product, and just topping the 50k mark is making me loathe to cut some of the scenes that probably should be. Quick question, though; you said your new material is about 1:2 with the old- do you do any deleting of indiviual words, sentences, so on?

    I’m using Mircosoft Word, and one thing that’s been really helpful for me is the “track editing” feature- it puts everything you delete in a red bubble to the side and puts your insertions in red underlined text (which you can approve or reject later). This may not work for anyone else, though- I was planning to just scroll through the document and make the necessary changes. I’m on the 50th page and so far only one page has escaped the tirade of the editing pen. 🙁

  • Adam101 Mar 4, 2007 @ 11:51

    Shivers…. Revision makes me icky! lol

    Holly’s One Pass Revision is a very effective way of doing things. But I must admit, I hate butchering my work.

  • Jason Penney Feb 28, 2007 @ 19:08

    TJ – You’re probably right. I have back issues, so I keep my monitor up high to encourage correct posture. I bought a document holder that fits under the monitor, but that didn’t work out very well. I haven’t found one that will attach to my monitor yet, but I’m looking.

    Holly – That’s pretty much what I tried but I was defeated by the defective search feature in WriteWay Pro (which I otherwise really like). I’ll have to rethink a bit before I type-in next. Anyway, good luck to you!

    Thanks (both of you).

  • hollylisle Feb 28, 2007 @ 9:54

    IanT—Very happy the one-pass revision looks like something you might be able to use. Let me know how it goes.

  • hollylisle Feb 28, 2007 @ 9:53

    Jason–I work from the manuscript, type the error or a piece of the text to be replaced into search, and correct the change when I find it and move on to the next change using search.

    By the time I’ve done the one-pass, anything I haven’t scribbled on is something I’ve made a conscious decision to let stand, so I don’t even look at words that aren’t marked up.

    This method might or might not work for you.

  • IanT Feb 28, 2007 @ 8:49

    Hi Holly,

    I’ve just found and started reading your blog, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m sitting at 120k on my (first novel-length) first draft, within the last gasp of finishing, and have been thinking about how to do the second pass.

    Stumbling across your one-pass-revision article has been hugely helpful; and pushed a few inspiration buttons so that I’m looking forward to the process rather than dreading it.

    So thanks!

  • TJ Feb 28, 2007 @ 8:43

    When I’m having trouble keeping track of what’s on the screen vs. the paper, I just need to get my paper and my screen on the same eye level. It seems to help a bunch and there are gobs of methods for doing such.

  • Jason Penney Feb 28, 2007 @ 7:22

    Thanks. I asked because the hardest part of the type in for me was keeping track of where I was on paper vs. on the screen. At times I wondered if it would have been worth typing from scratch, but I figured I’d just introduce new errors.

    Hopefully it’s something that becomes easier as I do it more.

  • hollylisle Feb 28, 2007 @ 6:33

    I modify the existing document. I am not world’s most accurate typist, and if I typed the whole thing over, I’d introduce more errors than I corrected.

    Also, a complete re-type would take a huge amount of time. I am not world’s fastest typist, either.

  • Jason Penney Feb 27, 2007 @ 23:02

    Quick question if you have time. When you do the type in, do you modify the existing document, or type it into a new document?

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