It’s finally happening. I’m at the end of preparing for rewrite. I celebrated early, dancing around until I was dizzy(er). After all, this past Mardi was Gras. Inevitably, Mercredi des Cendres rolled in; bringing clarity and sobriety. I was forced to remember that though I was at an end, it merely heralded the real beginning.

To get a feel for the size of the rewrite task, I broke out my two manuscripts – the one with the copious editor’s critique notes and the commented one that I intend to revise into. I swear I heard them ‘thud’ as I pulled them up on the screen. Each at four hundred and two pages, more than one hundred fifteen thousand words; the behemoths seemed primed to squash me.

Even so, I chose to be undaunted. I briefly revisited my two guides (referred to in this post). Then I scrolled back to the beginning sections of my artifacts doc; and attempted to reacclimate myself to the story. WTF? More dancing – I had unexpectedly placed myself at the beginning of my path into the rewrite. Here’s the plan:

  1. First things first – breathe! …And recharge my creativity. Take time to revel in gratitude and appreciation for having come so far. This time last year, I didn’t even know that what I’d spent a year writing was merely a first draft. The year’s growth alone is much to be thankful for.
  2. Finish the storyboard. Only three scenes to go.
  3. Close the manuscripts and leave them until after I’ve thoroughly reviewed my guides. Give myself time for a refresher on storycraft.
  4. Ease into the rewrite by starting with my elevator pitch, short synopsis and long synopsis. For me, this seems to be a perfect spot to address them. Not only am I checking off items I will need, working on them at this point helps me ease into rewriting the story. I might even try a query letter! Yeah, I know – bass akwards. A query letter without a finished manuscript. But – I can tweak it while I’m rewriting.
  5. Review the character and plot descriptions to refresh my memory; and update them as necessary to bring them into agreement with the outline and storyboard.
  6.  Rewrite! Woo hoo! I should be well into the first chapters by the time the second session of Row80 starts.

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#ROW80 update, 03/13/2011:

  • Goal 1: Completed the outline and story board addressing the issues from the editorial critique of my original manuscript. Yay! On the down side, it took two months longer that I thought it would. For the rest of this session my goal is now easing myself into rewriting.
  • Goal 2: Did far less than 3 hours writing per day this week. I could blame it on big distractions, but I won’t. I just didn’t get it done.
  • Goal 3 – Haven’t missed a post!

How are things wrapping up for you?

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15 Responses to Dauntless Dancing

  1. wow, i love the way you itemize your thoughts and great come back with the details. i am trying so hard to write my fourth book and it is aching me. thanks for sharing.

  2. writeanne says:

    A truly professional approach. Do you ever use then services an editor?

  3. Congratulations!!

    I remember when I was facing rewrites. Actually, I’d finish a chapter and do an immediate revision/rewrite check (some were extensive…).

    Then, I printed the whole thing out, crawled out of my writer’s cave/apartment and went to a coffee house to read and revise, again.

    After about three passes I sent the MS off to the editor.

    I’d also submitted the MS to a very special Review Board…

    Months later: Editor’s and Review Board’s changes incorporated and my own “final” revisions…

    About a month later: I will not touch this manuscript again. It’s ready for publishing.

    Now, continue with pre-publication promotion till the May book launch 🙂

  4. 365andMe says:

    Hard to believe it’s almost the end of round one. I plan to be a little bit more smarter with my goals next round. 🙂

    Congrats on hanging in there. I’ll be posting major changes on Wednesday so that I can get ready for the next phase of this challenge.

  5. CathrynLouis says:

    Purple’s Theory, thanks for commenting. I find the details helpful as I try to make sense of what I’m doing. Three books already? Marvelous. I’m sure you’ll master the fourth.

    Hi Anne! Yes, an editor critiqued my original manuscript last November, and I’ve spent the time since then using hs remarks and other things I saw to set up for rewriting. I’m excited to be finally about to start.

    Alexander, kudos for finishing your book! I know I have a few solid months ahead, but not sure how many.

  6. CathrynLouis says:

    365andMe – it’s a learning experience for all of us. I expected to be well into the rewrite by now. I’ll be smarter next time to. I’ll look for your Wednesday post!

  7. Katy Bennett says:

    Congrats on finishing the prep work and best of luck with the rewriting.

  8. Well done on the progress you’ve made! I wish I could be as organised as that with my writing and uni work; I usually manage to get everything done but I think that’s more down to luck than anything lol Also, if I were faced with revising a manuscript of that size, I would probably have a mental breakdown.

  9. CathrynLouis says:

    Thanks, Rebecca. It is a big manuscript. But if I wrote it once… At least that’s what I’m hoping! 😉

  10. K.M. Weiland says:

    My fantasy manuscript weighed it at 180k at the beginning of last year. After several months of hard work, I managed to trim 40k words and noticeably streamline the plot and characters. Rewrites are tough, but *so* worth the effort.

  11. CathrynLouis says:

    K.M., 40K words gone – that’s impressive. I have no idea how my wourd count will turn out. I’ve got 20 new individual scenes and three new chapters vs. no deleted scenes and 1 deleted chapter. In terms of months to do the rewrite, I hoping for your ‘several’ rather than ‘many’.

  12. Well done! That is a big accomplishment and it requires a lot of self-discipline and organizations. Rewriting is more important than writing, I think. It forces you to look at your work from a distance.

  13. I wish there was an edit button somewhere…lol. I meant to say organization and not organizations, in my post above.

  14. CathrynLouis says:

    Rewriting is absolutely more important! That’s the subject of my next post. 🙂

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