BotB Revision Complete!

As of this afternoon, it is finished. Done. Completed.

I’ve successfully gone through all 22 lessons in Holly Lisle’s How To Revise Your Novel course. I have in my hands a 13 chapter, 70,000 word completed manuscript.


*THUD*

It took 7 months to do, which is 2 months longer than I had hoped. The write-in and type-in portions of the course took longer than I thought I could pull off. Not sure what I was thinking there, honestly.

For any writers out there who have ever struggled with revision, I don’t think I could more highly recommend Holly Lisle’s course. HTRYN blew my expectations out of the water and the sheer number of things I learned over the last 7 months is mind-boggling. Next time she opens the course up for students, be one of them. It’s worth it!

Anyway, Sentinels of Mysera #2: Battle of the Bargaws is now ready to be looked at by my content editors and I’ve got a tentative publish date of July 2017 on my schedule.

Checked that one off the list and it’s on to the next.

Next is edits on my collection of short stories, Tales of Mysera. I’ve got a lovely stack of notes from my old shipmate, Tooley (who I met in last summer’s Mossflower Odyssey III: The Lost Treasure of Captain Blade). Going through my stories with his comments, plus a few things I learned through HTRYN shouldn’t take too long, so I hope to have a concrete publish date for those soon.

After Tales of Mysera, it’ll be once more unto the breach that is Sentinels of Mysera. I’ve got a few things to fix, and a few things to apply from HTRYN as well, but my goal is to have a date on that by the end of the year (or NaNoWriMo, if things really go well).

The road goes ever on and on…

Stay tuned for exciting new developments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BotB Revision Update #4

Last weekend, I sat down with my Passion Planner and did the review of April and started working on my goals and priorities for May. One of the steps in a new month is to look back at the Passion Road Map and Game Changers made at the beginning of the year and to see where you’re at and plan accordingly.

One step on my Game Changer is to work through HTRYN. When I made my plans last December and figured out everything, I figured that I should finish HTRYN by May 31, 2016. That date gave me several extra weeks in case I didn’t manage the lesson-a-week format on schedule.

I did pretty good staying on track until I hit Lesson 17. I figured revising 18 scenes a week shouldn’t be too hard. I figured I’d finish on time. I had Lessons 17 through 20 to get the write-in done.

Took 4 weeks to do 20 scenes, rather than 73 like I’d planned. Lots of stuff seemed to happen during those 4 weeks, such as two weekend trips out of town, my oldest kid’s birthday, my husband launching his new business. I just didn’t have as much time as normal to do revisions.

So as I made plans for May, I decided to really push to finish by my original deadline. I planned out how much per day and per week needed to be done.

On Monday, I had a very productive morning. Got done just a bit more than I’d planned and I felt pretty high.

Then I got that text at 1 pm that I mentioned in Numb.

I’ve tried. I really tried this week, but more than once I found myself sitting down in front of my manuscript and just staring. No words coming. Nothing in my head.

The numbness of that first day has faded. Reality has sunk in. There’s a pain in my heart that’s just been hard to describe. I’ve barely functioned the last few days. I’ve cried a lot.

So, my originally scheduled plan of being done with Battle of the Bargaws by May 31 isn’t looking too great. I’m going to keep working and keep plugging away, but circumstances have changed things. As much as is in my power, I’ll keep revising, but at those times when the grief is just too much, I’ll be giving myself permission to step back.

In a sense, this is Numb – Part 2. I thought writing on Monday night would help. It did, but not as much as I thought. I’ve dealt with death before, but never quite like this. I’ve lost a young student to an accident, a grandfather, an aunt, and a dear friend to cancer, and a young friend to sudden health failure.

This hurts more than those did.

I will be okay, but I’ll just need to keep taking things a day at a time. Some days, I need to take it an hour at a time.

BotB Revision Update #3

I have reached the next step in Holly Lisle’s How To Revise Your Novel course. Yesterday morning, I sat down for my regularly scheduled early morning writing time (squeezed in between getting the oldest off to school and the twins waking up for the day). I read over the lesson, sat down with my notebook to do the tasks set out in the lesson.

Less than 2 hours later, I was done.

Most lessons don’t work that way for me. I probably spent a good 15+ hours on Lesson 7, and I’ve had a few long weeks since.

I pulled out Lesson 17 and read it over.

I FINALLY get to make changes to the actual manuscript! The last 16 lessons have been evaluating what’s in the draft, figuring out what I want in the finished book, tracking down loose ends, checking settings and characters, and so many, many other things.

As of Lesson 17, I’m putting all that work into changing the manuscript.

It’s exciting, and scary, but thanks to Holly Lisle’s guidance, I have a very concrete plan to keep me on track. She even goes so far as to give you a diagram on her preferred table setup for revision. I modified it so it would work with my Wonderfile without a lot of extra rearranging each time I have to clear off my table for a meal, but I really appreciate how complete Holly’s classes are.


Fortunately, the next 4 lessons are going to be all focusing on cutting the manuscript, so I don’t have to worry about finishing the darn thing in one week.

Which is good, since if the first scene of BotB is any indication, I’ve got a long road ahead of me.

BotB Revision Update #2

I completed Lesson 10 of Holly Lisle’s How To Revise Your Novel course this afternoon. Lesson 10 is kind of considered a halfway point of sorts.

As far as I can tell, the worksheet portion of what I’ve been doing is done. I’ve got a good 1 inch or more of worksheets filled out and I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve both read through the manuscript or just skimmed through it, depending on need.

Wow…

Let me say, Holly is a master of making the right brain and left brain work together. There’s been a lot of left brain analytical work being done via the worksheets, but then Lesson 10 threw in a big ol’ right brain exercise that took a few interesting twists. I’ve had stuff simmering in my head for about 10 weeks now and, as each week goes by and I go through the lessons, more ideas and twists and things are coming to me.

I still haven’t changed a darn thing in the manuscript itself. But today I finished writing out the brightly colored note cards that are forming the new plot card outline for Battle of the Bargaws. I’ve glanced at the next couple lessons and I’ve got more to do before any actual changes will be made, but it’s getting closer and I’m really excited to see what I end up with when this is all said and done.

 


A friend of mine commented that he was looking forward to reading the manuscript when I’m all done with it. I told him I was, too. Hah! I’ve got a lot of little holes and things figured out and a couple more that I hope I’ll find ways to fill in as I go through the next 12 lessons.

Lesson 7 was a beast to me and it opened my eyes to my greatest weakness (or at least that I’ve discovered so far). I was once told that I had “colorful characters running around on a white background”. I thought I’d fixed that.

I’d only fixed a part of it.

The big exercise of Lesson 7 told me that my descriptions of my world were sorely lacking, but it also has given me a method to fix that without overdoing descriptions.

I’m excited to keep going and I can’t wait to see where I end up next!

Battle of the Bargaws Revision Update

Back in December, I mentioned that I was going to be joining Holly Lisle‘s How To Revise Your Novel (HTRYN) class.

I waffled a little for a few days on which manuscript to take through the class. I debated on running Sentinels of Mysera through it, but decided that learning this method of revision would be best with an actual rough draft version of a project, which meant that Battle of the Bargaws (SoM‘s sequel) would be put through the revision wringer.

If you follow me on Facebook, you’ll know that I’ve been posting a picture or so a week of my progress and you’re welcome to follow my page if you want a sneak peek at what I’m working on each week.

Personal opinion here, but Holly Lisle has a brilliant mind and her willingness to teach others how she does what she does is greatly appreciated by so many.

I wasn’t sure how Holly Lisle would manage to make revision into a 22-lesson/week course.

I now know better.

In a nutshell, Holly has you start out with very big picture stuff, reading through the manuscript and looking for spots that you love and spots where things fall apart, then you’re going through it again and marking characters, items, and ‘promises’ you made in the manuscript. Then you’re pulling apart your story into scenes, looking for plots, subplots, and then for conflicts, and so on.

Basically, she’s got you looking at the big picture of the story first and making all sorts of notes on worksheets and cards. Other than some reference marks in the manuscript, I haven’t actually changed a single thing in BotB yet. But the notes and the ideas that are piling up… wow! She’s got me looking at angles I’ve never thought of and as each day goes by, new life is being breathed into this story where I never thought it possible.

This has gone far beyond the ‘old’ method of revision I had tried in the past, where I basically started on Page 1 and started changing things as I thought they needed done.

And I dare say it’s better.

Not easy, but better.

I’m a little stalled out on Lesson #5 at the moment, working through the conflict of each scene and why it matters, but I’m progressing pretty close to my original schedule of one lesson a week with a target of finishing revision on BotB in May. And that should be finished and ready for content editors to read over. Holly has called it a “One-Pass Revision” and I now understand why she can revise a manuscript one time, because if this method is at all similar to how she personally revises, she essentially gets all the bases covered that could possibly need it.

I’ve added a couple progress bars over on the right hand side so you can track my progress on revision (as well as for the 2016 Reading Challenge).

Keep Trying Or Scrap It

I heard back from one of my content editors. I haven’t gone through all her comments on Sentinels of Mysera yet, but her initial overview was that she was neutral about the story. She neither loved nor hated it, but she had a tough time caring about the story.

Dang it…

Well, at least it was easier to swallow than the critique I mentioned in The Best Writing Critique I Ever Got, but it still wasn’t what I wanted to hear. Not by a long shot.

Now, it’s possible that my type of book just isn’t her thing and that’s okay. You can’t be what everyone wants to read. It’s still a bit of a blow to the old ego.

I’ve got another editor still going through the Tales of Mysera stories and Sentinels of Mysera, so I’m not planning on going through the first editor’s notes until I’ve got both sets in front of me.

Then I have a choice to make.

Does SoM get another major revision? Or is the story a lost cause?

The biggest problem I have with scrapping SoM is that it’s the first of a series and I’ve already written 6 rough drafts for almost the rest of the series, not to mention 3 books that are spin-offs from the main series. What happens to the sequels if the first book gets tossed? Twelve years of my life have been poured into writing this series. I love the world and I love the characters.

I guess I have a third option that is somewhere in between the umpteenth revision and the burn pile. I could write a new first book. I’ve had that suggested to me before. I don’t feel that the sequels will mean the same without the foundation of the first book behind them. The relationships that are established between the characters in the first book are important to their interactions later. I’ve pondered the need for a different first book, but I’ve yet to come up with anything that would be better than what I’ve got already.

My first attempts at revision have been difficult. Sentinels of Mysera has been my guinea pig in learning how to revise and each time I’ve tried, I’ve become more convinced that I should have taken Holly Lisle’s How to Revise Your Novel course the first time and saved myself a lot of headache.

Blah.

Well, Sentinels of Mysera is going to continue cooling on the back burner while I wait on the other editor. To keep myself focusing forward, I’m starting on revisions for SoM‘s sequel, Battle of the Bargaws. My goal for the rest of the week is to do the read-through and make the new plot cards for this revision.

Any authors out there got any good advice for the struggles with a first book? Have you ever had to scrap a project?