Once again, Camp NaNoWriMo provided the structure for me to complete a writing task. Two years after I wrote the first draft of my novel through Camp, this year I spent those 31 days on a complete, top-to-bottom revision, turning Draft 2 into Draft 3. This isn’t the finished draft by any means, but it’s closer. In addition to the day-by-day pressure to finish that I got from Camp NaNo, I also relied on the 31-Day Revision Workshop posted in Janice Hardy’s Fiction University blog. Both forms of structure were important to keeping me going.
I learned some interesting things about my book and myself as a writer in this process:
- There was so much excess that I needed to prune away! I probably took out a hundred examples of “that” and another hundred of “just.” I cut out dozens and dozens of unnecessary dialogue tags and bits of stage direction (he nodded, she shrugged…). I converted a ton of “he was X-ing” to “he X-ed.” I insisted my characters stop saying the same thing over again in slightly different words. I rooted out extra adjectives draped all over the place. There was so much that had to go, the book was about 1000 words shorter when I finished than when I began.
- Yes, I tend to overwrite. But this doesn’t scare me any more, because I know it and I can find and eliminate it in revision.
- I still like my book. There have been days when I didn’t, and nights when I can’t imagine what made me think I could be a writer, but when I come back to it I find there’s still something there that speaks to me. Kay’s story is important, at least here inside my head, and I’m going to keep pressing to tell it the best way I can.
So what’s next?
- Running the whole thing through a computer system to get word frequency counts, so I can find and eliminate some more of the things I say too often
- Revisiting the chapter breaks, since I have a nagging feeling that some chapters should be combined and others broken up
- Putting it away for at least a couple of weeks, probably a month before looking at it again!
In the meantime, I’m pleased to be able to hang the Camp NaNoWriMo WINNER badge on the site. One small step forward in this very, very long process.
Walking the hallway at my school on a summer day with no students about, I stopped to snap a pic of the perfect perspective in this hall. Such a satisfying, mathematically correct image! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Posted in response to the WordPress photo challenge: Satisfaction
The flower shop of one of my local grocery stores sets out arrangements to encourage people to buy, and this one stopped me in my tracks a couple of years ago. I guess this is what you can do with the blossoms your toddler picks for you that have no stems; just pile them in a goldfish bowl with a handful of leaves. Since then I’ve seen enough similar arrangements, with blossoms or succulents enclosed for no good reason inside glass and wire, I figure this is now a thing. I have a whole collection of photos I call “Captive Plants.”
Posted in response to the WordPress photo challenge: Unusual
Yes, today is this little blog’s third birthday! I like to have an image each time representing the event, and today I pulled together the number 3 with one of my other interests, showcasing one set of polyhedral dice, suitable for Dungeons and Dragons or other tabletop role-playing games, all showing the number 3. Cool, huh?
My main topic today, though, is to look back at another year here at WordWacker. Here are some highlights:
Some Statistics: Things are growing as well as I might hope. Yes, I’ll never make any Top Blog lists, but what’s happening here is generally making me happy. I’m up to 281 posts and 191 followers (up from 131 followers at this time last year). Hi, followers! I love you all! I’ve lost two followers on the WordWacker Facebook page (from 8 down to 6), but that’s never been anything other than a mirror of the blog itself, so it doesn’t surprise me. On Twitter, where I post occasionally, I’ve gone from 18 followers to 75.
Blog Posts: Here’s a breakdown of what I posted on this year. It adds up to more than 60 because some posts fall into more than one category.
- Photo Challenge: 37 (some just posting a photo with little comment, like this one on Earth Day pointing out There Is No Planet B, some with associated essays, like my post on the science of water in Water’s Edge)
- A-Z Blogging Challenge: 28 (the 26 letter posts, the Theme Reveal, and the Refection looking back at the experience)
- Writing: 23 (including longer posts relating to writing in general, like this one on Cultivating Creativity, and shorter ones like this one encouraging people to Visit the Shark: Do You Know Janet Reid?)
- Wedding: 4 (I managed to restrain myself from focusing on this ALL THE TIME, but did have an early post showing the dress as we were Counting Down to the Big Day, and a look back at the event when it was over, sharing my wish that the couple will Live Long and Prosper.
- Miscellaneous: 8 posts that really didn’t fit any of these categories, like this Poem I dropped on a day when I was feeling too sick to do anything else.
Writing and the Book: The initial goal of this blog was to chronicle my writing journey. As you can see from the blog post statistics I’ve shifted away from this to a certain extent, but I don’t want to lose that focus. Here are some changes I’ve made, and what I plan for the future in this arena.
- I continued to participate in Janet Reid’s flash fiction contests through 2016, but then I stopped getting involved. This was partly to redirect my energies in other directions, and partly because the people who participate in these contests are so amazingly, astonishingly good that I wasn’t in the right league. I’m still a faithful reader of Janet’s blog, though, and if you’re interested in writing or the business of getting published, you should be too!
- I’m participating in Camp NaNoWriMo right now, pushing to revise my novel by the end of July. (Yes, I should be working on that RIGHT NOW!). The last time I did this, in 2015, I was posting compulsively about it. This time I just posted once when I signed up and will post again when I finish. Win or lose.
- 10 Minutes a Day: I pledged in January 2017 to write at least 10 minutes a day, and post my progress on the blog. Mea maxima culpa – I failed to follow through. This spring semester was the most demanding one I’ve had in a long time, with routine 50-hour weeks at work, and I just couldn’t keep it up. Yes, I know lots of other people work more hours than that and still manage to crank out wonderful books. I am not one of those amazing people. Good to know, I guess.
- Wednesday Words: In October 2016 I started a regular feature on writing that I called Wednesday Words. I wrote or reblogged on this topic regularly until WordPress changed its photo challenge day from Friday to Wednesday. At that point I switched to Weekend Words, but posted under this tag only once, on February 13. After that I just ran out of time. I miss this regular focus on words and writing. So I plan to come back to it in some form or other, even if it’s just once a month, after I finish the revision I’m working on now.
So, bottom line: The blog is healthy and growing. My interest in doing it is still strong. I plan to make some changes, bringing writing and books more into focus, but mostly I plan to do more of the same.
Here’s to a long healthy blog life in the future! I hope you join me.
I was recently in a hair salon and had to take this picture of the bathroom. Obviously not a good place for anyone with body-image issues. Or vampires.
Posted in response to the WordPress photo challenge: Collage
This week’s photo challenge is about things that connect us, so I offer this picture of a railroad spur that serves some businesses in my area.
Posted in response to the WordPress photo challenge: Bridge