Revising Novels: Cleaning Up My Garbage Draft

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Revision…

I participated in NaNoWriMo for the first time last November and actually reached the 50,000 word goal. I was very proud of myself for “winning” NaNo, but I was well aware that what I had written was a giant piece of trash-hole. I’m fine with that and actually count it as part of my process. My very first draft of anything, whether it be a script or a manuscript or an e-mail, is my .5 draft, or (more affectionately) my Garbage Draft. This draft does not see the light of day. I don’t show it to anyone for notes. I don’t even like to talk about it while it’s in this stage. I use my Garbage Draft as a way to write all the bad ideas out of my head and start to form a path to the right ones.

My NaNo manuscript was a Garbage Draft. I just wrote all the way through without getting hung up on consistency in plot or character and without backtracking to revise. I just vomited it out. I had an outline, but it only took me so far. I let the story take me the rest of the way, which is something I enjoy about writing a novel as opposed to a script — there is a lot more flexibility.

If you are someone who has never written a manuscript of over 100 pages (like myself), the idea of revising something so long and dense is incredibly overwhelming. But luckily for me, I found YA author Susan Dennard’s blog and clicked with her revision method. She really breaks it down into small manageable steps that actually make you excited to get started! The only thing is that it will be of better use to me after I rewrite my Garbage Draft and am officially on my First Draft. But her ideas are amazing, so I have been using a hybrid of her method and my own while working on my Garbage Draft.

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NaNoWriMo 2013: Week 2

They aren’t joking when they talk about the week two slumps. I couldn’t even post this blog entry on time last Friday. In my defense, I was busy ravaging the Penguin warehouse sale and watching hours of Sister Wives, so I didn’t really have time for silly matters like blogs. I was hit hard with lazy disinterest last week and started off barely writing at all. But that gave me a challenge to work harder and catch up to where I was. Ultimately, that pushed me farther ahead in my word count than I ever would have expected!

Just living the Principle!

Just living the Principle!

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NaNoWriMo 2013: Week 1

Writing_Marathon_851x315_1It’s a week into NaNo, and I’m feeling pretty good! I’m at 19,173 words, and, despite having a rough day today due to illness and general motivation, I’m pretty comfortable with where I’m at. I’m excited for the writing marathon tomorrow and am aiming to have at least 6,000 words by the end of the day. I’d love 10,000!

I’m truly surprised at what I’ve been learning through this process. I entered into it with the attitude that it would be an exercise for me, but it’s been much more than that already. I’m shocked at how supportive the noveling community is! I’m used to pretentious, condescending writers who love being better than you. I never felt comfortable in the film world, even though I love it more than anything. On set and in discussing screenwriting, I always felt pushed aside. The most fun I have when talking about movies is discussing them with fans and people not in the industry. I’ve only had a handful of people (if that) treat my scripts respectfully when giving me notes, and because of that it’s been really difficult to have confidence or faith in myself.

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