Sunday, November 1, 2009

Let NaNoRevisMo Begin!

For those of you scratching your heads and thinking, "um...isn't it NaNoWriMo?" you're wrong! (well, sort of). Yes, NaNoWriMo has officially begun, and that is what's getting all the big blogger hype. But some of us can't NaNo this year. Some of us are stuck in the middle of revisions on stories we love and need to finish them by a deadline and just can't take on the challenge of starting a fresh new novel. Thus, we have NaNoRevisMo.

I discovered the concept through Frankie of Frankie Writes, you guys know her right? (If you don't, you must check out her awesome blog immediately. Go! I said Go! Seriously, what are you still doing here?) I think the real concept is to take an old, untouched draft and dedicate the whole month to revising it, but her and I are tweaking it a little and just making this month all about revising our drafts, trying to get them nice and shiny and ready. (She's shooting for a December deadline. Me, January. Eesh!) And, as a way of supporting each other, we are also swapping WIP's and giving each other critiques.

Poor Frankie, I don't think she realized what she was getting herself into when she agreed to this. See, back when I was in college, I did a lot of critique groups, and found that the people in those groups always responded to me in one of two ways. They loved me, or they hated me--there were no inbetweens. The ones who loved me would beg (no really) to be in my group because I could almost always get them an "A" on their projects. And the haters, well, they yelled a lot, which eventually scared me off the whole "critique group" thing.

So I warned Frankie before I sent the critique of her first two chapters. I give a lot of comments--but that's actually a good thing. I only do that when I really like something. If I don't give a lot of comments that usually means I was so bored I couldn't be bothered. And I don't expect you to agree with everything I say or every question I ask.

My method comes from years of major hardcore screenwriting classes where literally every word was questioned. I treat plot elements that way. Everything a character does or says, I'm questioning it, wondering why they're doing it. If I can find the answer, I move on. If I can't, I leave a comment. Not because it's bad or needs to be changed, but because I want to make sure you--the writer--know the answer.  Because if you don't have an answer, your character shouldn't be doing/saying it. It's a wee bit brutal at times but it helps. (Now if only I could apply it to my own draft, where I'm way too easy on myself. I guess I'll leave that up to Frankie).

But as you can see, you have to have a thick skin to put up with me. So everyone give Frankie a round of applause, she may just be the bravest girl in the blogosphere. (Oh, and if you want to hear her thoughts on my critique method--which are hilarious--you can find them here.)

And you know what? Her draft is really good. Sure, she's gotten a ton of notes so far--some of which are only because she is running long and as much as it sucks, good stuff must go to leave room for the great stuff--but it's good. Great characters. Interesting concept. Yep, I'm jealous. And you guys should be jealous that I get to read it. *Ha Ha!*

She has yet to get my pages (I'm still trying to make them a little but she'll get them sometime this week. And then we'll see what she has to say (I have a feeling there won't be enough room in the margins for all the notes I'll need).

So yes, it's going to be an interesting month. We'll see if cat fights erupt between me and Frankie (God, I hope not, I would totally lose to her in a battle of witty blog posts.) And maybe, just maybe we'll meet our deadlines together.

What about you guys? What are your writing goals this month? Anyone else trying NaNoRevisMo?


  1. No, I've decided to abandon my second draft of third person, YA boy POV to dally with a first person, YA girl POV for the month of November. Then I will be go back to revising. I wish I'd read this post a couple of days ago though, before I got excited about NaNoWriMo. What you're doing is a great idea.

    If you ever need another critique friend, I'm volunteering. My YA fantasy (the one that's about to have abandonment issues) is going to need tough love sometime around January. Frankie's post made you sound golden.

  2. Hahaha Shannon, thanks for the blog love! I'm really enjoying myself I feel like this is prep for my future editorial letter so its awesome plus your just GOOD! I somehow doubt your manuscript is in as bad a shape as you claim with the way your mind works, but I'm excited to start helping you in return.

    Anyway Happy 1st day of Nanorevismo!

  3. Okay Shannon seriously Frankie put a gorgeous gold star on your 'talent'! I may be begging for screaming at a manuscript of mine soon.... lol.
    I think this is a great idea. I am working on a plot that has been creeping into my mind for NaNoWriMo, so it will be fun. My entries will be short and sweet on my blog from here forward unless it is a rant or rave :o)
    Good luck to you. I know everything will be awesome, oh and so jealous you are reading Frankie's...

  4. Myrna- Wow, you are a brave soul. You have no idea what you're volunteering for. :) But if you're serious, I would be happy to provide as much tough love as you want in January. Just email me when you want to send a few pages.

    Frankie- You're "enjoying" yourself? See, now I'm worried about you? :) But thank you for the compliment and for suffering through this with me. Oh, and about my draft not needing help? *laughs uproariously* It is SO much easier to tear apart someone else's work than it is to tear apart my own. I'm WAY too easy on myself. You'll see...

    Southern Princess- I can't wait to see how NaNo goes for you. And when you're ready I would be happy to take a look at some pages--but are you sure you want to put yourself through that? :)

  5. I certainly hope so! With both of your egging each other on, I have high hopes you'll both get your writing goals accomplished!

  6. Wow! Thank you! I'm willing to reciprocate, if you want another reader.

  7. Heather- Thanks for the vote of support! (And aren't you glad you didn't take me up on that offer I made a few months ago to read some of your pages) :)

    Myrna- Props for bravery. And I may just take you up on that! In the meantime, have fun with NaNoWriMo

  8. You sound like an awesome critiquer. I think it's interesting how some people are good at pointing out the nitty gritty stuff while others are better at big picture stuff. Anyway - sounds like you gave her what she needs.

    Happy revising!! I'm doing it too, although I've been doing it for awhile and will just keep on until I'm done, so not really an official participant of nanorevismo. :)

  9. Lisa - Wow, thanks for the compliment and for stopping by (Have I told you how much I love having you follow my blog, it's like having a celebrity follow me. Have I embarrassed you enough?). And I'm so happy to hear you're revising, that means we can expect another amazing book in the near future. If you ever need a critiquer...Totally Kidding. :)


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