Tag Archives: One-Pass Revision

Holly Lisle’s method for revising a novel. My first time, so wish me luck.

Return of the One-Pass Revision

After much thinking and banging my head against the wall, I’ve decided to do a One-Pass Revision on Pirouette the Third.  There are still issues, and it needs an edit, and the One-Pass combines the two and was pretty helpful the first go-around.  No tweaky pass this time.  I’d like to dive in and see what I can do.  I’m also going to modify it slightly to include some of the methods in Holly Lisle’s HTRYN.  Particularly the notecarding aspect of it.  Another thing I’ll need to nail down is the main and secondary character arcs to better solidify things in my head.  I’m not sure it works quite right in this draft.  And a new blurb.

I might even try to start this while on vacation.  Thank you, Inner Slave Driver. 

As for other projects, Broken  is coming along.  It’s around 8k right now, and my muse dropped a HUGE bomb on me a few days ago about Claire.  Still puzzling that one out.  Also pantsing it almost completely, and I’m enjoying it.

With Flamebound, I’m up to lesson 8 on the HTRYN.  I also have some good ideas for the rewrite/revision/expansion.  Whatever it happens to end up being.

So with less than 2 days to go before vacation, I have A Plan.  This is a good thing.  Because for the past week or so I’ve been freaking out and mentally flailing over WHAT to do with Pirouette the Third.  Edit?  Revise?  Rewrite for the 4th time?  I’ve gotten some feedback and some of it leads me to think that I don’t — or shouldn’t — do another rewrite.  And I also have some mixed reviews on two versions of the first scene, which I need to also puzzle out.  Lots of work ahead, but it’ll be worth it.

2009 in review and 2010 goals

This year hasn’t been the best as far as emotional stuff is concerned.  The family drama that started in mid-October is still ongoing, and kind of derailed me a bit.  But, I persevere!

As far as productivity goes, I did very well.  I started and finished Pirouette’s five One-Pass Revision, got it out to critters, and have been rewriting the draft, implementing suggestions, cutting, adding, and hopefully making it better.  I’m almost halfway through the draft.  I hope to be done with it early next year.

It’s taken me longer than anticipated, which is okay, but sort of screwed up my schedule.  But it is really okay, b/c I’ll take however long it takes to make it submission-worthy.  As such, no query letters were sent.  I’ve decided to wait till the draft is done and critted.  The story, while essentially the same, has been morphing in interesting ways.  Hopefully in good ways.

Flamebound is on its way towards being totally revised, using Holly Lisle’s How to Revise Your Novel class.  I have high hopes for this.  I want to get Flamebound revised, critted, and submitted somewhere next year.  I can do this.

I planned on participating in Nanowrimo and writing a new novel.  Unfortunately, life had different plans.  Two days in I ended up quitting.  The book was to be Soulfire.  I’ve come to the conclusion that the timing just wasn’t right on this one.

I finished Survivor, which was a HUGE goal.   I hope to rewrite it in the next few years (depending on if I sell something, etc).

I don’t think I broke 100k on new words, but that, too, is okay.  Because I said I’d do some serious editing and finishing unfinished projects, which I accomplished.

I submitted my poetry chapbook, Life as a Moving Target, to a publisher.  Did not bite, but that’s okay.  I might try again next year.

For next year, I have a few more projects besides Pirouette the Third and Flamebound.  I have Unforgiven, which is a personal challenge to myself for various reasons.  I also have MindBound, the next book set in the Flamebound world.  And I’m seriously considering pulling out Darkweaver and starting work on it.  And then there’s Pirouette book 2 (Blood Dance). Ambitious, I know, but want to aim high.

I think the biggest goal for 2010 is to get something submitted somewhere, be it Flamebound, Pirouette the Third, or something else entirely.  I need to start moving forward with my goal of getting published.  I’ve been working like a madwoman, but I need to focus on that more.  So, hopefully I can do something about that next year.

So, to all, Happy New Year (a few days early!) and reach for the stars.

Slow progress.

Making very slow progress on Pirouette the Third.  I’ve been ripping it apart, deleting scenes or condensing them, and rewriting others.  I’ve got it down to 117k which is really cool.

I’m focusing on Alisia and Lucien’s relationship arc, as well as the subplot.  I realized that I may not have been as brutal as I should have been when I did the One Pass Revision.  I also found out some big flaws (thanks to my critiquers) that needed fixing.  But that’s okay, because I want it to be stronger, and it will be when I’m done.

I like what I’m getting.

Although sometimes it feels like I’m juggling three balls.

As for Soulfire, got a tentative plot in mind and things are starting to gel.  I’m very happy about that.  I have a possible first line, and the theme song.  And a 73-song playlist.  The theme song is Baba O’Riley by The Who.  I realized that it could be a metaphor for the future dystopic Earth I’m creating.  That really made my day.

Nanowrimo in 19 days.  I can’t wait.

Also did a major overhaul on my website yet again.  This version is simpler and cleaner, and I love it.  Check it out at http://www.erinkendall.com.  Most of the links aren’t live yet, however.  The Writer link is.

And lastly, I’m beginning to have problems with my wrist again.  So it looks like I’ll be voice reccing Nano again.  Was hoping to avoid that, but hey, I’m glad it’s possible.  I still have a good chance of getting 50k that way.

So that’s what’s going on. 

Nineteen. Days.


Pirouette is officially done!!!!   I just finished the final edit 2 days ago.  It feels really strange to not be working on it.  I’ve worked on it for almost 5 months solid.  Now, I’m thinking, now what?  It’s out to my critiquers, so now I just have to wait to see what they say.

Currently, I believe it’s good, but not necessarily ready to submit.  Why?  Because there are things that I’m not sure about, bu I didn’t want to get into an endless loop of rewriting/editing, and some of it just might be me.  I can’t be objective any more.  After a total of 5 passes, I’m not even sure what end is up.  So that’s why I need critiquers. To show me where I may have faultered, to assure me about things that might be okay.  So, after I get the crits back, and if there are things that need to be addressed, I will do another edit/rewrte/whatever.  For now, I’m going to try to put it out of my mind.

But, I am glad that it’s finally done.  Never thought I’d get here.  One step closer.

Next project up is Survivor, which I promised myself I would try and finish.  Right now, I’m currently dead stuck on a plot point.  I’ve been thinking about it for the past two days, wanting to write again, but not feeling quite ready.  So my plan is to break out the Tarot and do a reading.  A bit unusual, but I think that’s what I need.  Something to wake my sleeping muse.  I think she thinks it’s vacation time or something.

I also have two plotbunnies nipping at my heels.  I promised myself one new project this year, so I have to choose between them.  One is a paranormal romance, Soulfire.  It’s going to be reworked.  What I got so far is really cool, and I’m dying to start writing.

The other one, I Wake Up Alone, is based on a poem I wrote a few years back.  A situation in my real life prompted this poem and an idea to combine and it turned into a really cool concept.  I’m thinking novella length.  I’m also trying to decide if it ends happily (which would make it paranormal romance) or a bit sadly (which would make it straight horror).  I blame TV tropes for this, because I discovered that there are about a zillion ways to end a book/novella.  Mercy me, as Alisia would say.

And finally, here are my final ending stats for Pirouette:

Type in attempts: 3
On manuscript page: 729
Scenes rewritten: 21
Scenes cut: 18
Scenes added: 7
Scene re-rewrites attempted: 3
Final wordcount: 141k
Sanity level: 99.9%

I’m happy, and I’m looking forward to the future.

Type in done, final edit begun.

I’ve been insanely busy, and have been wanting to post forever.  I finished the Type In on May 4th.  Took a few days off to recharge, and I’m 26 pages into the final edit.  At least I hope this will be it.

All that’s left are some cuts and tweaks I want to do.  I’d like to have it done in a few weeks, but I have no idea how long it will take.  The revision, start to finish, took 4 months.  Then again, it’s my first one, so there’s a bit of a learning curve.

One Pass Revision is an interesting way to revise.  Would I do it this way again?  Absolutely, except mine would be something like a Four Pass Revision.  I can’t hit it all in one go like Holly Lisle.  Maybe with practice, I will someday.

I discovered something interesting.  While I was editing, both on paper and on the screen, I was able to see it more clearly.  What I mean is that I saw my awkward phrasing and such and was able to correct it.  Now when I did some rewriting, I found that I’d already improved just from the One Pass alone.  I was able to look at it objectively and see where it needed work.  I did alot of awkward phrasing and repetition.  So on that count alone, it has helped me tremundously.

Now, looking at the entire draft as a whole, I feel like a sculptor.  I have to chip away at the material until it’s final shape reveals itself to me.  It’s still a bit elusive.  But, you’re thinking, I’ve already done the one four pass, how could I possibly not know?

It’s my process, and it seems to carry into One Pass.  I never know everything, even after finishing.  I still need to chip away at what’s left.  And I have to cut another 28k.  I was hoping to get it closer to my goal of 120k, but that just didn’t happen.  I have some ideas, though.

Is Pirouette any better?  I’m not sure.  My gut says yes, this is an improvement, but we never really know until we send it out into the world, do we?  I hope. 

And I’m getting very antsy to work on something else.  Most likely Survivor.  I also have a few plotbunnies nipping at my heels, and that’s never good.  I figure if I don’t finish Pirouette now, I never will.  It’s easy to get into the trap of always writing first drafts and never editing.  Editing isn’t easy.  In fact, it’s the hardest part in my opinion.  The first draft is more for me; the rest are for the world, and with that in mind, it’s tough.  ‘Specially when you’re a perfectionist like me.  I’m terrified that it won’t be good enough.  I’ve put almost 5 years into this book.  But whether it gets published or not, I’ve learned so much about my process and the process of editing and revision that it will be worth it regardless.

So, that’s where it’s at.

I recently got an iPod (!) and day-um, talk about inspiration!  Music and my muse get along very well.  Is this a good thing or a bad thing?  Hmm, not sure yet.

When revision becomes rewriting

Things have been a bit rough with Pirouette.  I completely rewrote Alisia and Lucien’s first scene together, which makes the others different, which requires more rewriting.  I think the change makes it stronger.  I’m also dropping one very important part of the plot, which will also require some scenes to be rewritten.

It’s looking more and more like I’ll be rewriting stuff.  Why?  Because I have gut instincts that are telling me so.  And plot.  Is this scene moving it forward?  Is it necessary?  If the answer is no, I rewrite.

I have cut about 25k so far.  Still need 40k cut, so I’m tightening things up.  At the moment, the book is a mess.  The chapters are all wrong, and I rearranged some scenes for pacing.  I’m not even sure if it makes sense right now.  But I will look at that after I’ve made the changes, when I proclaim this revision done.  I can put it back together and make it pretty once that’s done.  I need to see the entire thing before I do anything else.

So that’s where I’m at.  I’m trying not to look past the day’s work because it seems so overwhelming right now.  I’m on manuscript page 108 of about 900 (double spaced!).  Scary but true.

I’m thinking of calling this draft 3.  Or would it be 4, after the hard copy revisions?  No clue.

I WILL finish this.  Hopefully by the end of the month.  It’ll give me an idea of what it’s like to be on a deadline.  And with my process, I need all the practice I can get.

And……I have two new plotbunnies clamoring for my attention.  Been trying to resist the pull as we speak.  But it’s strong.  But Pirouette is the most important project right now.


I’m into the type-in now, and it’s been killing me.  Sounded like the easiest part, just type in the changes, right?  Wrong!  Not when you’re still not sure if your scenes have enough conflict, or if some scenes don’t do anything for the story (yes, I’m still finding those this late in the game) or if you’re questioning everything from characters to plot to descriptions.  In short, I’m having second (third?) thoughts.

What’s weird is that I was fine through the 2nd pass, and fine through chapter 3.  Then I hit a wall that I can’t seem to get over.  I had a filler scene that was, plot-wise, useless, so out it went.  Then I started thinking.  One part of it was a revelation for the male lead (one teeny tiny part — like, three sentences) so I decided to add a scene where he has this revelation, and ramp up the conflict.  Unfortunately, that scene led to some changes, and I’m not sure I want to go that far.  And, I’ve rewritten the thing at least 4 times.  Just ain’t working.

Since this is my first time doing this, I have no idea if it’s normal.  I’m trying to stop my Inner Editor from tearing me to shreds.  It hasn’t been easy.  I haven’t been feeling very well for the past week and that’s colored my opinions.  But I’ve been staying strong, and trying to be positive–that no matter what, I WILL end up with a better story.  Granted, it may take more time, possibly, but it WILL happen and I WILL start submitting it.  It’s just been a looooong time since I wrote first draft words, and I’m starting to really feel it.  And rewriting, for my purposes, doesn’t count.  😦  Sooooo soon I’ll be starting on Survivor again.

So that’s where I’m at.  Desperately trying to keep my head above water and sane while I finish this type in.  I’m hoping this is it, save for one final edit.  But time will tell.

Strength.  Gotta have strength.  All along, I’ve been saying that  believe, with everything in me, that I can make this happen.  That I can make my dream come true.  That belief has kept me from giving it up, or taking long breaks.  It’s what makes me produce so consistantly.  I HAVE to do this.  Otherwise, I’m just not myself, and I feel it deeply.

Soooooo I’m working on it.  Things might get tough, but that’s okay.  What doesn’t kill you to write makes you a stronger writer.  You heard it here first.  😉

No longer wangsting.

Sorry about yesterday’s post.  I feel ALOT better after putting things into perspective.  I don’t suck as a writer; I just suck at fight scenes.  Flamebound will be whatever it needs to be, and whatever length it needs to be.  I’m okay with that.  I have my own process, which is messy and chaotic, but it’s mine and I’m still learning what works.

So, in short, everything’s fine, I am fine, and my writing doesn’t suck.  My attitude, however, did, and I’m working on making it better.  Optimism, optimism, optimism.

Status: depressed and confused

That about sums it up.  The 2nd pass went wonderfully until I went to rewrite the big fight scene — the climax of the entire book — and rewrote it about 5 times.

I suck at fight scenes. 

Intellectually, I understand the mechanics of it, but when I try to write it, it comes out wrong.  I mean, really wrong.  It’s actually kind of scary.

But there is a ray of hope: I used to have the same problem with sex scenes.  And I’ve pretty much conquered that, through practice and sheer will alone, so perhaps this will be the same.  Maybe it will take awhile but it will work out.  Problem is, while I’m angsting about this, time is slipping by.  I have a second scene to rewrite, but that’s it –and the type in.  I feel at loose ends right now — I decided to take a mini break that became a real break when I got sick, and now after about 3 days, I’m twitchy as hell.  I even considered starting a new project, totally on the fly and without an outline, just to make the feeling go away.  And remember, except for the scenes I’ve rewritten in Pirouette, I haven’t done any real writing.  I’m going to remedy that soon with Survivor — but not yet.

There are some personal things weighing on my mind as well, which haven’t helped matters.  I use writing to get away from it all, but if I can’t write…well…..it has to go somewhere.  Usually, it’s within.  But I’m okay.  This too shall pass.

Read Flamebound for the first time since finishing it on Dec 19th.  Oh boy.  It’s going to need ALOT of plot work.  Everything else is pretty solid.  I might lengthen it and submit it elsewhere first.  Because there’s no way I can cut it down 15k.  Well I could, but I don’t think it would do the story justice.  And it’s all about the story.

So that’s where I’m at.  Hoping things improve.  Hoping I can write again soon.

Pirouette Revision, take 2.

I’m up to 89 pages (of 482) and it is going well.  I’m feeling pretty good about this.  I hope to finish (or be close to finishing) by the end of the month.  Then it’s type-in time.

I’m confident that the changes I’ll be making will make it even better.  And one more step closer to the submitting process.

I also submitted Life as a Moving Target. Wish me luck.  Am considering putting together another chapbook for another publisher.  I need 60 pages minimum and the deadline is in mid-March.  It would be cool to have my stuff out there again.  It’s been too long.