Novel Revision in a Month: Progress Report


Today I finally reached last Friday’s goal (Yes, that is LAST Friday you read) of revising through page 50 of The Swallow’s Spring (my latest title for my novel). I stopped working to make dinner after page 59.

Since November 1, I have revised a total of 59 pages and written 7 new pages.

Why seven new pages? It was rather a new experience for me. When I submit folktales I am often asked to cut the manuscript length, once by nearly 20%. So why am I adding pages to The Swallow’s Spring?

When I did a quick read through to prepare for revision back in October, I realized there were two things not yet developed properly in the novel—the subplot, and the main character’s relationship with several family members.

So, last Friday I wrote a temper tantrum (worse than a two-year-old denied her free cookie in the grocery store) for the main character’s mother. It was fun. Things got thrown (on paper, not in my house). There was much shrieking and wailing. Oh, and did I mention my heroine got slapped? Now it may be more apparent why she is such a goody-two-shoes peacekeeper and wants more than anything to control her own life. I also got to arrange a medieval Irish funeral for her Uncle (the research for that is what kept me up until midnight on November 1).

Now, the rushed through first quarter of the novel does not feel so rushed through anymore.

Next Wednesday: I’ll report my progress and share my main mission in this revision.


Reviser’s Block

I have never had to deal with writer’s block. My problem usually is too many ideas and not enough time. So imagine my surprise when it finally occurred to me I’ve been wallowing in reviser’s block for almost a month and a half!

I finally had to face this unpleasant fact square in the eye when I nearly committed to doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Written in a Month—held annually in November.)

At the retreat I attended earlier this month, a friend commented that the novel she’s finishing revisions on was written last November during NaNoWriMo. She loved the experience. She found the procedure freeing—just write and write fast—and is considering doing it again this year.

Wow, I thought, I’d like to write something new.

I told her I wanted to do it and then came home…to my novel I need to do one more revision on before I send it back to an editor who was interested in a second look.

For another week or so I toyed with the idea of both writing a new novel and revising the other—ha, ha, ha! However, I did eventually come to my senses.

And then I felt SO GUILTY. How could I not do NaNoWriMo? How could I let my friend down?

And then, last week, the solution presented itself as I was praying. I will do my own NaNoReviseMo! I can still set and meet daily and weekly quotas, my friend and I can still encourage each other, and best of all, by December 1, I’ll have revised my novel.

Granted I won’t be able to work fast and free. However with discipline, making the revisions I need to make in a month is doable.

And then I’ll truly be free to invest myself in the next exciting project!