A Plan

I spent the weekend at loose ends after sending Hot Shot and DLB to my agent. The plan was for me to start working on a book I wrote in 2004 and never submitted (long story). I'm going to revise the partial and have it ready to go after my agent reads (and likes) those 2 books and Surface.

So....I have this lack of urgency, at the same time I have this urgency. It's summer after all. I should be writing.

The plan my cps helped me come up with was to revise 3 partials, at the same time I work on Alex. I made a calendar, giving myself deadlines for each partial (remember, these books are complete, just need revision.) Still. Easier said than done. Saturday I sat down with neon colored notecards and started writing scenes, etc, hoping to get enough feel for the book again that I could write a good synopsis, because frankly my old one stank. I also went through the scenes that have already been through critique group (the good thing about writing 17 manuscripts is that you always have something to send to critique group.)

All this did was overwhelm me.

Sunday I was getting over karaoke and getting ready for company, so I didn't write, but Sunday night I had a brainstorm. I would literally cut the partial into scenes and work on one scene at a time. So yesterday morning I did just that, and found I had 8 scenes to revise. Okay. Manageable. I put each scene on my calendar, and then the synopsis the last three days. So I revised the heck out of that scene last night.

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How do YOU get ready to revise?

Bad news - I didn't get any written on Alex. I reset my Excel spreadsheet and I want to write 6 pages a day. Hopefully today will be better, though it doesn't take much to get me off track. I wish I had Trish's discipline.

I watched Kiss Kiss Bang Bang yesterday, which I thought would be a buddy movie with Robert Downey Jr and Val Kilmer, but it was more of a noir mystery. Then last night The Last Samurai was on, so we watched it. Good movie. But no wonder I didn't get anything written on Alex.

Today, I'm getting Eight Below! I've been dying to see this movie.

For Trish, because she isn't feeling good:

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10 comments:

Robyn DeHart said...

I think your plan sounds like a good one. And very manageable considering the books are all done.

I've actually never tried to ressurect an old manuscript and give it new blood, but I have plans to do this in the future. I guess I would use my regular revision plan to do that, although the one I need to work on needs all new GMC's and whatnot so it might take more work. Generally I read the thing all the way through, making notes in a seperate notebook, then I write myself a revision letter and tackle teh big things first, then the medium and so forth.

Kelly said...

Love the pix of David. Yum.

I think your revision plan sounds doable. I usually drag out the calendar and set aside a week to reread the manuscript and make notes and then depending on how much work it needs figure out how many chpts I can do per week and log that in. Then I cross my fingers and hope I can stick to it!

Kristi said...

Revisions are the bane of my existence...and I like your plan better than my own (which usually entails reading and revising at the same time...and getting bogged down so much I don't finish). Yeesh!
PS -luv luv luv the pic. :-)

Trish Milburn said...

Oh, thanks for the picture! :) I just finished watching season 1 of Buffy. The guy is just hunky. I need to see if Bones is on DVD.

Revisions -- geez, I've done them all kinds of ways, but I think your scene a day works well. It allows for not burning out and having a manageable chunk to work on each day.

Stacy Dawn said...

Overwhelming is a good word. Breaking the overwhelming up into managable sections is a feat unto itself...you should be proud.

Rene said...

Ummm...I usually write the first three chapters, go back and revise them or rewrite them then continue on to finish the book. I don't revise a whole lot, the story is written in my head and gets revised as it is typed, if that makes any sense.

Stephanie Bose said...

hey Mary : )

I do something similar... I break my ms into scenes, and add a title page to each one that has pov, setting, purpose, character interaction, etc. and then decide whether that scene is worth keeping. Right now, I have a historical fiction novel that's half done, and I've broken it into 38 scenes, looking to see what can be trashed, improved, added, etc.

Approaching it scene by scene is a great way to revise because you can focus better, and it also gives the opportunity to move scenes around. I put each scene on a notecard, noting pov, other main characters, scene purpose, etc. and then stick them on my corkboard. That way, when I write the synop or put scenes together, I can move them around more easily.

Good luck with it... I know you'll do a great job!

Steph

mary beth said...

Mary, can I just say how much I LOVE your blog!?! Once again I've learned something awesome I can use on my own writing.
I never thought of breaking revisions down to scene by scene. I have started reading over my major themes and story questions before I start writing every day just to make sure I don't go off on a tangent. I don't know if that will make a difference or not.
Allison Brennon's blog yesterday was about writing suspense. It made a lot of sense to me.

April said...

Wow, you're my inspiration, Mary! I just started on my revisions last night and it's slow going!

Good luck!!

MaryF said...

Robyn, so good of you to stop by!!! I remember you saying you use a legal pad, right, to make your notes. Do you still sit in that lounge chair? ;)

Kelly, that sounds like a great plan. Also very doable!

Kristi, don't I know it about revisions being the bane of my existence. From October, I've been revising. Alex is the first new story I've written since then. I think I would get bogged down in that plan, too.

Trish, Bones isn't on DVD yet. I wish they'd at least show reruns! I quit watching when they switched to Wednesdays - LOST, you know. Manageable was what I was looking for with this plan ;) Then I blew the plan today playing Scrabble.

Thanks, Stacy!

Rene, that sounds ideal - what a lovely gift! Robyn's mom gets the whole story in her head like that. Drives Robyn nuts ;)

Bosey, I tried the notecard route - even made up my own, kind of bastardizing the ones from Carolyn Green for my own purpose. I got maybe a third of the way through the story and just got frustrated. Right now I'm looking at critique group notes and the writing itself, which, let me tell you what a difference two years makes. Wow. But I need to resurrect my corkboard, I think.

So glad to help, Mary Beth and April! Mary Beth, I like the idea of reading over your themes to keep on track, too.

Now to figure out what my theme IS!

Just kidding.

Sort of.

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I'm a mom, a wife, a teacher and a writer. I have five cats and a dog to keep me company. I love bookstores and libraries and Netflix - movies are my greatest weakness.
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