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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Weekly Writing Recap

Major Revision/Rewrite of Violets & Violins
Status: 90,000 words out of 100,000

Words added/rewritten this week: 14,000

Yes. I added 14,000 words to the rewrite.

No. Those are not original words.

I experienced a pleasant surprise this week, as well as a not-so-pleasant one.

I reached a point in the earlier revision of Violets & Violins where little needed to be changed before I added it to the current rewrite. Not only that, but I also had the discovery that the final quarter of the previous version was better than the first three-quarters. To my delight, I seemed to have matured as a writer during the previous rewrite. There's far less telling in the final chapters, more action and plenty of conflict.

On the downside, I realized the story is going to end up longer than the 100,000 words I predicted. I'm not surprised, since I tend to write a loose first draft. What this means, though, is that I'll have to cut and tighten. While not what I planned, I've learned from experience that doing so makes my stories stronger.

For now, I'm focused on adding the final chapters and getting to The End. I want a complete version before I put Violets & Violins on a diet. The day is fast approaching when I'll reach that point, and I'm excited.

• • • • •
Do you write flowing first drafts that need to be trimmed, or are your early attempts skeletons in need of fleshing out?
Have you ever read a manuscript you wrote over a long period of time and noticed your writing had improved as you went along?
When reading stories, do you like those that are concise with focus on action or those that paint a period and setting using the bold brush strokes of description?


Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

Wow! You've been a busy girl! 14,000 words! Way to go!

I tend to rush through and get the story out there...the skelton. Then the first revision is "fleshing it out".

When I read stories that I have written before, I see that my writing has improved. Sometimes I end up rewriting those stories again.

Jessica said...

Yikes, that is an incredible amount of wordage! Congrats! You'll probably find trimming easy when it's time to do it. :-)

My stories seem to err on the short side, but I've been targeting LI with them, so maybe that's why? I'm lengthening one now and it was a stretch to get it to 75k. I don't know if that means there's not enough conflict/plot points to sustain a single title or if I'm just that good with writing tight. *snort*
I guess we'll see when I start querying, right? LOL Do you have a particular pub house in mind?

Cindy said...

14,000 words, that's amazing! Great job!

I typically try to get all the facts and all the action in the first draft. So my revisions usually add words.

I definitely see improvements between different manuscripts. I just edited a manuscript I wrote three years ago and then one I finished writing a few months ago. There were huge differences. Not just improvement in my writing, but a drastic difference in my writing style. It's great!

I love a good balance between action and grander doses of description. Especially when their blended to make the action sound like poetry. Aren't words fun?

Kristen Torres-Toro @ Write in the Way said...

Hi, Keli!

I can never predict my word counts, though I seem to end up in the low 90's every time. Congrats on getting so much done! I know that feels great!

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Keli, That's fabulous progress!!! I have noticed in my writing improvement as I go. It's neat and refreshing to discover this. Isn't it?

I need to smooth out transitions and do some fleshing out as I edit usually, along with a pile of other "fixes"! So very much fun!

Jill Kemerer said...

Awesome!! I always end up cutting about 5% of my novel, but later adding an additional 5-10% in revisions.


Anne Barton said...

What a great week, Keli! I'll bet it was a great feeling to discover that the last quarter of your draft was better than you remembered. You're *almost* there!

Hope this week is just as productive for you . . . and all of us!

Keli Gwyn said...

Wow! I've been busy writing today while the comments have been pouring in. Thanks for all the encouraging words. You're the best!

Donna, getting the story down is crucial. I have a magnet over my computer with a quotation by James Thurber: "Don't get it right the first time, just get it written!"

Jessica, sounds like you write tight. I could take lessons from you. I think I have a Dickensian bent. If only I were paid by the word. :) No publishing house in mind at this point. My goal is to secure an agent first.

Cindy, I'm glad you're able to see how far your writing has come. Must feel great. And, yes, words are such fun.

Kristin, sounds like you're a consistent writer who comes in at a great length for single title. Yay for you!

Eileen, I enjoy the editing passes almost as much as writing the first draft. It's fun to watch my story get better and better. Glad you're enjoying the joy of seeing your work improve.

Jill, I'm sure you're removing the dross and adding pure gold.

Anne, I'm closing in on the end of the rewrite, and it feels great. Then I begin editing in earnest. Hope I don't have to graduate from scalpel to meat cleaver when I see the final word count though.

Jarmara Falconer said...

Good luck with your writing

Keli Gwyn said...

Thanks, Jarmara. Hope your week is going well.

Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought said...

I'm on my 3rd novel and have noticed my writing improving. It is so encouraging. I noticed you wrote on Kristen's blog that you liked Ramona...I loved her and talked to my family about her as if she was a best friend. :D
~ Wendy

Keli Gwyn said...

Wendy, I'm glad you're seeing progress and are feeling encouraged about your writing. My first five and a half books were, um, interesting. I've heard it said we have to get those first million words out of our system before we start producing something good. Seems to be the case for me. :)

Another Romona fan, eh? Fun! I was the good Beezus type who wished she had Ramona's courage. How about you?

Edna said...

Oh I don't know what I would do if I had to write that many words, now I can talk them really fast as I am an OLD Southern Belle. ha ha


Keli Gwyn said...

Edna, thanks for making me smile with your comment. Get me talking about my writing, and I'm sure I could spew at least that many words. :)