Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Preparing to Move On...

As I close out what will probably be my last round of revision on my current MS (well, until I find an agent, and then an editor and go through it a billion more times--UGH!) I've realized something rather terrifying: 

It's time to start a new book.


Well. It's not totally new, because I'm *hoping* my book will be a series, so I'll be starting Book Two. But...still:

OMG, I can't believe I'm going back to the rough draft/new words/spewing out crap stage. It's been over a year since I've been there!

And honestly...I didn't do it very well. 

So I thought I'd use the blogging world to call myself out and *hope* that it keeps me in line this time. 

Thus, I make the following resolutions:

1) I WILL write an outline. Not a, So-Detailed-It-Sucks-The-Life-Out-Of-The-Story kind of outline, but I will definitely organize and arrange all my key scenes before I start.

2) I WILL NOT revise until I've completed the ENTIRE rough draft. (Oh man was I guilty of that with my current MS. I think I was on Master Draft 10 before I'd even written through to the end)

3) I WILL bring CPs in right away. With my current MS I was afraid to show it to anyone until I thought I was *close.* And then they still found a billion things that were wrong and I had to do a ton of revision and lost a lot of time, so I will NOT make that mistake again.

4) I WILL NOT freak out about word count as I write. I KILLED myself over word count, and in the end I've had to realize: my books are going to be long. Not only do I write longer stories, but my plot is complicated. So "short" is NOT going to happen. 

5) I WILL impose deadlines to hold me to a writing schedule. I accomplished more between November 1st and January 29th than I did ALL YEAR! Having a deadline makes a BIG difference.

Okay, I *think* that covers my past sins and sets me on the right track for book two--but you tell me: Have I missed anything essential? Let me know if I have. I REALLY want to do it right this time. ;) 

(Oh, and sorry there's no USC Lesson this week. I'm still recovering from my crazy Sunday/Monday and didn't have the time to write it. But I'll have one for you next week, I promise.)


  1. Awesome! You can do it. Sounds like a great set of goals. I'm right there with you, churning out the first draft of a new WIP. I find the "no revisions until I'm done with the first draft" bit the hardest.

    Good luck and HAVE FUN! :)

  2. And about fah-reakin' time, too. Make it happen, honey. After all, when your new agent asks, "What are you working on now?" you want to have a good answer, don't you?

  3. Once you start - you'll totally fall in love with it!

  4. Such good self advice. I made most of those mistakes the first time around too and let me tell you, doing it the other way around cut my writing time in half!

    I'm with you on starting a new book though. I Just need to bring my brain out of mush mode so I can start one!

  5. 2) I WILL NOT revise until I've completed the ENTIRE rough draft. (Oh man was I guilty of that with my current MS. I think I was on Master Draft 10 before I'd even written through to the end)

    This is me!

  6. yay! yay yay! So excited for you! My usual advice: take 20 minutes to just breathe before going all Shannon! lol ;o)I love these & am actually right now applying the deadline one to myself, I lost it over the holidays & am playing catch up! yech.

  7. Hey, let yourself go with the flow if you find these rules aren't working for you.

    I never start a new ms. the same way. If this new structure doesn't work, give yourself the freedom to set it aside.

  8. Start a document where you can just dream about the new book.

    I find when I get bogged down, I reread the dream document, and I get re-inspired.


  9. Good luck!! Congratulations on finishing revisions on your last book! Take some time to celebrate before you jump into the next one! :)

  10. So exciting. I want to be there sooooo bad---I LOVE the drafting's so free and fun and creative....and way easier than revisions. But I used to have the same issue with revising as I draft--it kept me from moving forward for a long time, but now I have that under control--I allowed myself to stop and go back twice during the writing of my current draft bc I could feel when the plot had gone off course or my outline wasn't working and worked out for me and still only took me 6 weeks to write that monster. SO as long as you know you're limit and can stick to your goals, you'll be fine. Can't wait.

  11. Congratulations on a new start. I love drafting - it's my favorite part of writing.

    Honestly, I don't think there is a "right" or "wrong" way to do it...just do what works for you. So if some of your personal guidelines don't end up working, leave 'em behind, and just write. You'll still get to "the end". :-)

  12. I'm such a grass-is-greener type of girl, but I think I secretly love revising.

    And YAY for book 2! I'm excited!!

  13. Those are some great goals, Shannon. It sounds like you learned a lot the first time around - which shows some wisdom. You go, girl! :-)

  14. J. Koyanagi: That one will be the hardest one for me. I can't turn off my inner suck meter that *knows* what I just wrote stinks and I want to go back and tweak it endlessly. But I can't tell you how many scenes I polished 20 times and then threw away because the plot changed as the story progressed. SUCH a waste of time.

    Simon: I figured you'd be happy about this. But be warned, Shannon in rough draft stage is even whinier than Shannon in revision stage. Prepare for pathetic posts. Especially during the outlining stages. *shudder*

    TerryLynnJohnson: I hope you're right. Once I get through all the prep. Ugh!

    Marybeth Poppins: Heh. Mush Mode. That's a pretty accurate description of my brain right now.

    Kara: Yay-so I'm not alone! Obsessive revisers unite!!!

    Southern Princess: Going all Shannon--LOL I love it! I will try. I promise. ;)

    Caroline Starr Rose: Very true. I'm hoping being a little more organized will be a good thing, but if it doesn't work I have no problem breaking these resolutions.

    storyqueen: Ooo-I LIKE that. I will definitely do that. It's good to have a way to re-fall in love with your story.

    Amalia T.: Aw, thanks. I will. I need a tiny break. But not too long, cause I don't wanna break my good habits.

    Frankie: You'll be here soon enough. And I love parts of the drafting phase, but not all--but I think that's cause I was kinda in revision as I drafted. Will try VERY hard not to do that this time.

    Jamie D. Aw, thanks. And I agree. Every writer is different, every book is different. These are just things that made my current MS take FOREVER, so I'm going to *try* avoiding them and see if it helps.

    Sarah: I do in some ways. There is NOTHING more rewarding than finally getting a scene RIGHT. It's the beating-head-against-wall to get there that SUCKS.

    Shannon: Aw, thanks. Wow. Wisdom? Me? I dunno. I might be too blonde to be "wise" ;)

  15. Awesome resolutions! Good luck on them! A new book is a new opportunity to improve :)

  16. Good luck! I'm wishing I could fall into a new novel, but I'm still revising. It seems like the more I revise, the more I see that needs revising. Of course, it is getting better. The process is just painfully slow.

  17. Nicole: Why thank you. And yes, improving is always good. It'd be nice not to need 14 drafts to get to a querying point.

    Myrna: LOL-I've been there. Just be patient. You'll get there. :)

  18. Congrats on getting started. I'll keep your list of resolutions in mind since I think they're excellent. BTW, I'm here following you from several other people's blogs. :)

  19. Ahh congrats! I'm almost finished the first draft of my second novel, but I've already started jotting down notes for the next one. So much to write and so little time.
    Have fun with the blank canvas. :)

  20. Sarajayne: Hi! Thanks for stopping by, I can't wait to get to know you better. And I'm glad you like my resolutions. We'll see if I can stick to them...

    Karen: Aw, thanks. I'm excited and nervous. I have lots of ideas...but nothing too concrete yet. Must. Find. Plot. AHHHHH!


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