Unmet Goals

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What was I thinking

Maybe in a world where I didn’t get sick over the Memorial Day writing weekend, I didn’t have grad school, both kids had dance recitals, a graduation, and an awards program – my goals would have been accomplished. Surely I could have revised 10 picture books and a NA Scifi novel in a month. I can only dream. But sleep is precious to me so I had to rearrange my goals.

The picture books have been revised and reviewed. I will read them out loud to some kiddies one more time and by June 3rd start querying. I am very nervous. I have only queried as the result of a pitch contest so this seems very intense to me. I feel like after I hit send I should uncork some bubbly:)

As for the NA Scifi, my hope is that revisions will be done by the end of June. Which will be awesome! That gives me all June to think of nothing but Cailynn and the other characters from the novel – and they deserve my full attention.

I hope your revisions went well this month. As always share any revision stories or tips in the comments below. I also find your words helpful.

Notes On Revision From Writer Ashley Farley

As I hammer through revisions on two projects, I wanted to share a fresh prospective.  I “met” writer Ashley Farley through February Write-A-Thon.  This was a Nanowrimo type contest hosted by Ashley.  Through encouragement from her and my fellow participants, I drafted the novel I am currently editing.  Ashley self published Saving Ben, which can be purchased via Amazon:

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What is your revision process?

I don’t consider myself in true revision mode until my third or fourth draft, when the major work is complete and all that’s left is the fine-tuning. Of course there is always plenty of fine-tuning to do—grammar corrections and sentence restructuring, fact checks and time-line verification.

I always take a little time—at least two weeks—away from my manuscript before I begin to revise. Taking this break helps clear my mind so that I can start my revisions with a fresh pair of eyes. When revising, I read through my manuscript multiple times, each time with a different element in mind. I consider adverb usage. I make sure my sentence structures are varied. I analyze dialogue. And when I finally feel like I’m close, I follow these three steps in this order:

1)      Change the font as it helps errors stand out.

2)      Have Alex read selected sections to me—Alex is the automated voice on my computer. For Mac owners, these controls can be set in system preferences: system preferences-system-diction and speech-text to speech. Alex is the best thing EVER.

3)      Print your manuscript and comb through the pages with a red marker the old fashioned way. Words look different on paper.

What were the lessons I learned (about writing and my process) from Saving Ben?

Truthfully, I learned the most about writing and my process from my first never-will-see-the-light-of-day novel Legend of a Rock Star. I had BIG ideas for that book—three different protagonists with multiple points of view, plot lines that jumped back and forth within a forty-year time span. I changed points of view several times—from first to third and back again. I learned so much about what NOT to do with Legend that writing Saving Ben was easy in comparison. Well . . . almost.

The biggest lesson I learned with Saving Ben is the value in hiring a professional editor, for a manuscript critique as well as the line edit. My editor, Patricia Peters, is simply amazing. Not only did she correct my grammar mistakes, she gave me her valuable perspective on my characters and plot as well. Writers should never consider self-publishing without hiring an editor. And there are plenty available online if you do your homework. Well worth the money!

What do I think is the most common mistake writers make when self editing?

Impatience is the writer’s biggest enemy. Many writers rush through their edits, and without bothering to hire an editor, they slap their manuscript up on Amazon for the world to see their grammar errors. Writing takes time. Unfortunately, our instant-gratification society pushes self-published authors to crank out as many books as they can possibly write. Rushing the process creates undeveloped plot lines and shallow characters. Rushing the process is responsible for self-publishing’s bad name.

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ashleyfarley

About Ashley Farley:

I wrote a novel, SAVING BEN, in honor of my brother, the boy I worshipped, the man I could not save. It’s not a memoir, but a story about the special bond between siblings.

I’m a wife and mother of two teenagers. I have lived in Richmond, Virginia, for seventeen years, a city I love for its history and traditions. Personal experience with my brother inspired me to become involved with the leadership symposium in my son’s school where I’ve helped bring in speakers to raise parents’ awareness of the alcohol and drug problems children face. When I’m not steering volunteer committees or working on my next novel, I can be found swimming laps or playing tennis.

 

 

 

 

Today’s blog is part of the “I don’t like Mondays Blog Hop!” Check out the other participating blogs by clicking below.

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From the trenches: Revision Notes

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So I have a “new goal” of finishing my revisions by this weekend. As you may recall, I figured I was overly ambitious with my previous goal of trying to finish by the middle of this week. Mothers Day, homework, and life got me this past week.

Below you will find some items I have learned from revisions so far:

Picture Book:
1. It is so effective and interesting to read the picture book story to young children. The questions they ask are both hilarious and insightful!

2. Even if you’ve read it a dozen times, you will still miss something.

3. Know your audience and don’t try to dumb it down too much just because it’s a picture book. Little kids are super smart and can interpret the smallest things.

The NA/Scifi

1. Show don’t tell. It’s deep and its real. Go visit websites, read a book, or ask a writer to “teach you the ways of the writing force.” I feel like after my final CP review and locking myself away for a weekend to truly study this, I NOW understand it – and immediately spot the issues in part of my novel.

2. Even if you’ve read it a dozen times, you will still miss something.

3. You see a lot of info dump in Scifi novels, which made me want to keep my writing tight. After receiving feedback and reading it again with “fresh eyes” I see where I need to add more info.

Where are you in revisions? What things have you noticed about your own work. Feel free to share in the comments below:)

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Revisions

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So I finished Campnanowrimo. I am now left with 10 great picture book stories that need to be cleaned up and shown some love. Also, my NA Scifi is back from another round of CP’s (critique partners). It needs to be shown more love as well. May is super busy for me. My plan is to do revisions on both novels during the month of May. I have a tentative date of May 15th- which I recognize is CRAZY!

Clearly, I like crazy:)

Here is my revision process.

1. I will concentrate on 20 pages of the NA SciFi each day

2. I will revise on PB story a day (possibly doubling up some days because these are short stories)

3. Spellcheck, spellcheck, spellcheck (you will be surprised what you miss)

4. Copy and paste each section into speech software so I can hear another voice reading the passage to me. I find this super helpful.

5. Let the hubs go over the completed sections to make sure I addressed issues brought up by CP’s and betas.

I will check back in on May 15th and let you guys know how it went:) Please feel free to leave your revision tips in the comments section. I would love to hear them!