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Added a post  to  , NaNoWriMo 2021

Hi All, How are you all? Jo has been posting and I 'saw' Brigitte at the romance writing webinar on Wednesday (which turned me on to planning - I even bought the recommended book 'Take off Your Pants' (no really) by Libbie Hawker  to see how she writes a first draft in 3 weeks, which if you think about it, is what NaNo is about. Trouble is I have so many books I'm part way through, prioritising is what I should be reading about first. I've been busy doing all those tasks I should have been doing in November, dodging the virus and reading up before starting to edit on January 1st. Seems like I learnt a bit about the need to plan by being so much of a pantser in November (hence the above) 

For anyone else about to launch themselves at their draft with a scalpel, I suggest you have a look at NaNo's 'I Wrote A Novel Now What? A Revision and Editing Resource Guide'. I found it through one of their recent emails but it'll be on their website. Now I must have notes on how to edit from 10 different places (including Jericho blogs, several of the webinars, a really good book called Writing is Rewriting and lots more), but the NaNo stuff appealed because it's only a few pages, clear, simple and gives further suggestions without being overwhelming. As a what to do first it looks useful and we can layer stuff like Psychic Distance in on top when we reach the right step - they give 11.

The twist is that I'm going to be editing the novel I wrote before, not the NaNo murder, because that is closer to being something I'd like to see published.  And also it's been 'resting' for well over a year so it's time has come. I may try and use the NaNo website again to goad me into action by setting deadlines. Will I see any of you back here at the same time?  Hope so.

Meanwhile, Seasons Greetings and Very Happy Writing (and Editing).

    • I'm currently editing the 50K that I wrote in NaNo. However, I'm not wielding a scalpel, or even a lancet. I'm busy cramming more words in to cover the awkward "And Lo! a miracle occurs" holes in the plot, simply because I focussed on writing 50K words. Word count now stands at 59K and I suspect it might (just like COVID) gallop ever higher.

      Editing is being done on a two-pronged attack. Firstly, go through the text with Grammarly, removing grammar mistakes. Secondly, use ProWritingAid to see what that throws up if Grammarly has given a clean bill of health. Thirdly, make sure my characters have more of a "face". Their words are on the page, but any descriptions are sparse, so need fleshing out.

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      • Sounds good. I'm like you, an 'under' writer but as I recall from a webinar (last year sometime) that's something most professionals do too so let's hope that's a good omen. For my NaNo book I'll need at least another 16k - to get to 70k - but actually it'll need more because I usually have to cut down on adjectives and adverbs when I write fast, so that's plenty of space for beefing up description and other empty corners. 

        I have no grammar or other writing aid, unless you count those in Word for spelling and grammar. Do they help? I rely on what I like (and hate) about books I've read over the years, things I've learned in webinars and lots of reading aloud.

        On the novel I'm about to start, it's actually my second full run though (postponed because I just had to try NaNo) so it's 81K nearly. There are several structural things I need to sort out, because of bright ideas in recent webinars, before I get to the grammar. This time I'm starting with a flatplan and finishing that will be my first task. 

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        • Hi Maggie P

          I set my NaNoWriMo '21 project aside and am currently (slowly) working on edits/rewrites of my Norse paranormal romance (which I began drafting in NaNoWriMo 2020). Onboarding editorial feedback (from JW manuscript assessment - highly recommend), test driving the constructive criticism and really having fun applying all my learnings over the past months to this manuscript. 

          I recently took a masterclass with novelist and memoirist, Joshua Mohr, and he spoke to his own editing process, which I found fascinating. Apparently, he goes through his drafts linearly multiple times, with a different focus each time through (psychology, setting, imagery, continuity, arc trajectory, etc.) rather than trying to focus on and address everything at once. Then, he will edit out of sequence (non-linear editing is something I've seen promoted here in JW too), and then he will do what he calls an "aural edit" where he reads it all aloud and makes edits from there (Kevin Barry spoke to this as well in his JW session on dialogue - which was fantastic and I highly recommend viewing as there were several writerly gems in that interview). Joshua really encourages seeing your book from a multitude of vantage points. He said editing is an opportunity for verifying your decisions for the book and your loyalty should always be to the narrative. He also said our job as editors of our work means that we get to be "reckless, relentless explorers on our book's behalf." He mentioned that one of his books had something like 18 edits before he initially submitted it to his editor. While that sounds excessive to me (a newbie who is still learning some basics of the craft), it certainly explains why his books are gorgeous on the line level!

          Lately, I seem to just keep getting all the reminders that art is not efficient and some things take as long as they take. In the end though, no matter what each of our process is for editing, we all get to do it if we want our stories to be the best they can be. Best wishes to everyone on your edits/WIP! And also, happiest of holidays to you! Be safe, have fun, and keep going for your dreams/goals. 

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