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December 8, 2010

110,000 words and counting...

Smite & Scattles, UK created versions of MölkkyImage via Wikipedia
I've been working on revisions discussed with my agent for the last couple of months now.

And there's been progress...finally! November - the early part of it at least - wasn't a good writing month for me. Those of you who've read my earliest posts will know I'm a believer in writing mojo. I sometimes think there's a finite quantity in the universe to go around, and all those busy NaNo writers used mine up.


So when they were all winding down, I was ramping up. The scenes have been falling like ninepins (okay, yeah, maybe I had to kick a few teetering ones over). I now have ONE SCENE TO GO! And I'm halfway there with that one, as I'll be able to include some elements of the final scene from the original version. Then it's off to the agent for her feedback, which I'm both nervous and excited about as I'm very new to the whole writer/agent thing. I'm also hoping she really meant it when she told me not to worry about adding length to my MS when I revised. My earlier version was 97,000 words, and I've added over 13,000 words to this with the new ending.

My last post looked at the idea of drafts. How many is enough? When do you know your work is done? As I've mentioned before I'm a pretty slow writer, so an average day (working part-time around other things) would be 500 words or less. A really good day might be 1500 words. When I next make it back to the computer, I go over what I last wrote, and make whatever changes stick out at me. Then I call it done. And, um, hope that other people, y'know, like it. Or at least don't hate it.

I have noticed though that some scenes get written a heck of a lot faster than others. For me, dialogue and character interaction scenes are a breeze. Romantic suspense? Tempestuous clinches? Bring 'em on. The slowest thing in those scenes, believe it or not, is writing the action beats which are interspersed among the bits of dialogue. Things like "He walked over to the window, tension in every line of his body." Hey, there's only so many ways a tired brain can think of to mix those up after a while, and I'm sure I repeat myself to some extent in the course of a novel.

The scenes I find slower to write are the ones where a character is on their own and 'thinking'. Because, basically, I have to work out what they might be thinking so I can write it. And make sure it matches their personality and level of self-awareness and stuff. For some reason in dialogue that's less of an issue for me.

Other slow scenes are ones where there is action but not much dialogue, as that tends to feel like writing a whole lot of action beats one after the other. Where a scene is description heavy for any reason, I often have to slow down, as there might be things I have to research, or clever imagery to invent, or...you get the picture, I hope. (pun intended)

Which bits of a manuscript write themselves for you? And which are like pulling teeth?

What parts of the writing process do you love/hate?

And finally, if I'm a bit quiet in the next little while it's because I'm getting some writing done at long last. There's nothing like the feeling you get when you're on the downhill stretch and the end is in sight.

NB: All those of you who wrote your 50K in November and won NaNo, take a well-earned break. December's my month! For January...well, we can draw straws or something. ;-)


14 comments:

Rachael Harrie said...

You go girl!!! That's so fantastic you're almost there. Can't wait to hear what the agent thinks.

Ok, you can have December, I'll take January ;) Though my roll started today, so I'm going with it, like it or not!!! :)

Funny enough, I'm having the most trouble revising my first 6 chapters. After that, I'm flying through. But those first 6, ugh!

Rach

Quinn said...

I'm just like you in that dialogue is the easiest for me. It just comes. The hardest part for me is setting. I'm just never sure how much to put in or where or how. That's what I have the most trouble with.

Hart Johnson said...

Dialog is easiest for me, too. And it is one of the places characters most often surprise me--they respond to each other differently than I have planned, but it seems right when i'm done, so I go with it. I really love the rushing action sequences, too--or high emotional tension. I've had a couple times when I find myself sitting there sobbing and realize I've just cranked out ten pages and think 'wow.' The hardest part is in-between... they are here, doing this, and my next planned biggie is THERE doing THAT, and in there, this character needs to have achieved THAT... Often I need to take a power walk to sort out the logistics on those...

I am doing 'big edits' this month, so some fresh writing, but mostly sorting details... need to keep a little writing karma for that!

Su said...

December is my semester break! I have to use it to write!! I promise to back off again in January. :)

Adina West said...

@Su and all the December writers: Okay, dammit, we can share December too. It can be the post-NaNo productive writing month. PoNaNoProWriMo? ;-)
@Rach: Beginnings are seriously horrible, mostly because there are such expectations placed on them.
@Quinn: Yep, setting description is hard. I try to include just enough to give an impression...then let the reader's imagination fill in the blanks.
@Hart: I HATE the filler scenes - and like you that's when I tend to get blocked and need thinking time while waiting for inspiration. And hey, if you're making yourself cry while writing you're definitely doing something right! I have yet to have that happen...

Deidra said...

As many of the above commenters mentioned, dialogue almost always flows fairly easily. Also, for me, lovey-dovey scenes flow easier than anything else I write (although I can hardly comprehend why, since I find mushy stuff to be nauseating most of the time. I suppose it's because sometimes, the only couples that aren't nauseating are novel couples, because they seem more truthful to me than real life. Weird and backwards, I know). Not the mushy stuff as in "Oh, I love you; I love you too", but more like "in her moment of weakness, she pulled him close to her and buried her face in his chest to hide her expression". Maybe it's because I used to be really shy?

The slower parts are usually the descriptions of setting, because I tend to skim those in reading, and habitually want to do it in writing too.

And as for NaNo, I'm taking the month off from my novel to gain some distance anyway. The revisions start in January, though!

erica and christy said...

So THAT was my problem all month long. I don't know if I got more than three chapters written. Can I take a small part of December? :0) Best of luck to you! Thanks for your comments on commenting today! christy

charlotteotter said...

I seem to struggle with backstory. I spent from August to December reviewing for my agent and it was never plot points or writing style that she wanted changed, but always always backstory. How much, when to include or exclude, which parts were important, which parts (sniff) had to go. Give me a plot and I'll race off with it like a bloodhound, but backstory seems to be my bete noire (ahem).

I hope she loves your revisions and that you hear good news soon! As we speak, Balthasar's Gift is on submission on three continents. December is the month of pressing refresh for me!!

Adina West said...

@Deidra: Your favourite/not so favourite bits sound like mine. And okay, you can share January. ;-)
@erica and christy: Due to commenter demand I have magnanimously decided to also share December. Use it well!
@Charlotte: Fingers (and toes) crossed for you. You'll definitely need to do something to distract yourself from that email inbox...

kangaroobee said...

This is so interesting. I find the action the easiest, dialogue second, and setting in third. The hardest thing for me just starting out with MG (as I don't count my first novel at all) are those lines that add a little something, whether it be an interesting fact or something from the backstory. I guess the more you read the better you get at the niggly things. Excited for you Adina, good luck!

The Sisterhood said...

For me, dialogue is easy, but takes a little work to make it feel like the time period I'm writing in. I like to write a good action scene where something goes horribly wrong in the end. I visualize it step by step and make sure there's an adequate amount of emotion worked into it. A good romantic scene can be tough because if I rush through it too quickly it feels like a couple of horny teenagers just wanting to get it on. I have to be careful with those ones.

Good luck with the work on your manuscript!

♥ Mary Mary

Aurora Falsestart said...

Adina- I am thrilled for you that you have come this far along on your journey. Looking forward to reading more as your personal plot thickens. ;)

(Writing mojo: clever.)

Aurora Falsestart said...

One other thing: I read your very wise and helpful commentary on a post I ended up removing for personal reasons. I cannot thank you enough for the time you took and deeply appreciate solid counsel from someone further down the road.

L'Aussie said...

Good work Adina. It is really hard sometimes isn't it? I love snappy dialogue. Nothing easy about revisions so keep at it! What better way to spend Christmas hey?

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