Saturday, June 13, 2009

Novel Writing: Celebration, Revision, and First Drafts

Hey, folks, welcome!

I'm going to do triple duty this week. I'm going to CELEBRATE!, give some revision tips for the SUMMER REVISION SMACKDOWN with Holly Cupala and Jolie Stekly, and add something about First Drafts (Vijaya Bodach, I hope you are humming along.)

First up, a big shout out for my author friend Conrad Wessehoeft. Congrats to him and yay! for his fab agent Erin Murphy. Conrad and I have been in the same critique group for 11 years (yes), and this is a book you will will want to watch for. Persistence is everything, folks. Really.

Here's the announcement: World rights to Conrad Wesselhoeft's YA debut ADIOS, NIRVANA, about a teenaged poet-musician who survives the first anniversary of his twin brother's death with the help of a dying blind man, the best group of thicks a guy could have, a demanding school principal who wants him to play the "pussiest song in the world" at graduation, and one very special guitar, for publication in fall 2010, to Kate O'Sullivan at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's, at auction.

Here is my wonderful group:

From left to right. Back row: Louise Spiegler, me, Conrad Wesselhoeft. Front row: Susan Greenway, Cathy Benson, Megan Bilder.
(Note: this is not my only wonderful group. I'm blessed beyond measure when it comes to the writing journey.)
Now for all the Smackdown folks. You never finish books. You only abandon them. I always feel like a worn-out, wrung-out dishrag when I'm finished with a revision draft.
As promised, here are some tips to handle flaw types.
Typos- It's a good idea to keep a list of your most likely typos so that you can keep an eye out for them.
Stuff that doesn't make sense: You are working too fast. Slow down and give yourself extra time to think as you move forward.
Deleted stuff: Never really delete anything. I keep an extra file called the dump. Any time I delete, that bit goes into the dump and occasionally I do go dumpster diving.
Stuff I've got to move is orange. I use symbols to make moves, like "o, p. 22" and on page 22 you will find the 'o'. That is the destination.
Stuff that is awkward or needs better wording is yellow. It's called a thesaurus, folks. Use it and often.
Stuff that I need to add to is green. If it is short, I just write the addition on the manuscript. If it is longer, I often keep some lined paper nearby and freehand a needed paragraph and staple it to the page.
I hope one of these tips helps you.
Now for the first drafters, what happens when you are stuck? Yes, sometimes a draft grinds to a halt. This is the most disheartening thing ever. I've found a few things that can help this. You can try rereading the manuscript from the beginning. Print it all out and don't take a pen. Just read. This can jump start you. Another thing to try is to skip ahead. Jump to a section where you are sure what to do and get to writing. Here's another thing to try. Pull out the Hero's Journey checklist and start marking off your story points. Is something missing? The last one is stick the manuscript in a drawer for a month. Let you unconscious mind work the problem out. It will sometimes. Hope this get you out of any miry patches.
This week's playlist hit: Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey singing "When You Believe". I hope it inspires you to keep going forward whatever stage you are at.

No doodles this week, hopefully my computer will come back someday and my tech stuff will be set right.
So here is your quote for the week. Have faith, folks.
Faith is like radar that sees through the fog. Corrie Ten Boom

6 comments:

Vijaya said...

Oh, Molly, wonderful news about Conrad's book! I know you'll remind me again when it's out.
Things are humming along ... but not fast enough.

Anonymous said...

You guys all look great! Conrad-I couldn't be happier for you. You so deserve this. I've tried to e-mail you congratulations but, I seem to have lost your e-mail--Can't wait to read your book. Here's to rave reviews!
Shelley S.
P.S Molly-love the dumpster idea!

Cuppa Jolie said...

Woo-hoo! Such great news about Conrad! Yow. And thanks for the great tip over at Holly's!

holly cupala said...

WOOHOO! Congrats to Conrad! It's great to hear his wonderful news!

Christine Rayl said...

I recently finished reading an ARC of Conrad's book and I cannot begin to express how much I liked it. I am on a committee made up of librarians, professors, authors with Texas Woman's University where we read upcoming books and select what we consider to be the top 100 books published for children/YA during a given year. If you could please tell Conrad that I am recommending his book for consideration (and will fight for it!) as well as recommending it to the YALSA reading group. I was unable to find a way to contact him and am hoping you will pass the news on. I will say, in all honesty, that I will have to fight for the book due to the use of the F word. I realize that it is realistic and I have no problems with it but others do. sigh!!!!!!!
Congratulations, Conrad! Excellent read and it was enjoyed by this displaced PacNW'ner.

MollyMom103 said...

Hey, Christine, I've passed your not on to Conrad. Thank you for supporting his book!