And thus ends another round…

Well, the current round of ROW80 rounded out yesterday, so now, in a roundabout kind of way, I’m going to summarise my successes and failures for the round.

Goal 1: write at least 500 words a day until the first draft of my novel, 2 Brothers, is complete.

I completed the first draft of 2 Brothers in the first few weeks of the round (yay, go me!) and since that time have been letting it marinate a little on my computer. Honestly it will probably be next year before I have a chance to go back to this novel and really start to tear it apart, mostly because I have made a promise to myself to FINALLY self-publish at least one (although probably 2) novels next year, so understandably the focus is on those (much more information about this when I set out my goals for the next round starting on July 7th)

Goal 2: once goal #1 is achieved switch to editing mode on The Utopians, aiming to edit half a chapter a day

I made some significant progress on Utopians during this round. I have thoroughly edited about half the novel, plus added in 3 new chapters which (at least in my opinion) fix all of the continuity and timeline issues present in the story. The good news is that despite spending the past few months with these characters I still completely love them 🙂 Still a long way to go, but I am hoping to have this novel sent off to my beloved alpha-readers in the next few months.

Goal 3: keep up with my aim to read 50 books this year.

I’m up to 18/50 for the year, which puts me about 6 behind schedule. I have to pull my finger out on this one and try and get ahead before November because I know that I will not be reading at all while NaNoWriMo is on. This week I read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and absolutely loved it! By far the best story I’ve read this year despite the tears (and oh weren’t there some tears). Highly recommended. 

Goal 4: complete beta-reading of LS Engler’s novel – Soulless.

This goal was added fairly late in the round, just to keep me honest and make sure I got it back to LS by the required date. Done, complete, finished and returned.

 

So, really, it was pretty much a round of successes, despite falling off the wagon a few times, I managed to get back on and really started to hit my targets. Can’t wait for next round with some big goals ahead. How about you? Do you feel like the round was an overall success despite some minor stumbling blocks? Are you looking forward to digging in for the next round? As always, I love hearing from you.

Jody Moller

 

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Almost at the finish line

Another two weeks has flown by without a ROW80 update. But don’t fret, I’ve been plenty busy 🙂

 

Goal 2: once goal #1 is achieved switch to editing mode on The Utopians, aiming to edit half a chapter a day
Scrap that 🙂 Editing has been temporarily abandoned in favour of drafting my 3 extra chapters.

Done, d-done, done, done. I just finished the draft of those new chapters and I will now spend the last four days of this round of ROW80 switching back into editing mode.

 

Goal 3: keep up with my aim to read 50 books this year.
I read Beautiful Darkness, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl this week. I thought it was better than the first book, but still not really up at the level I was expecting. I’ve now read 17/50 for the year… lots of reading still to do 🙂

 

Goal 4: complete beta-reading of LS Engler’s novel – Soulless.

Yay! Another one to tick of my list. I finished going through LS’s novel and emailed back my ideas.

 

All in all it’s been a productive 2 weeks and I am looking forward to seeing how much I can get done over the last few days of ROW80, and of course, starting to think about the goals for the next round.

How was your week? Are you getting close to reaching the goals you set yourself for the round? As always, I love hearing from you.

Jody Moller

Timeline Troubles

So for the past two weeks I’ve kind of fallen of the ROW80 railway tracks and have been tramping through the forest instead. Almost two weeks ago now I decided to finally get off my backside and write up a thorough time-line for Utopians (which might have been a task I’d been putting off since I first wrote the outline for the novel about two years ago now…oops). Having an accurate timeline doesn’t always matter in the novel, but for Utopians, where I am rotating through 3 different POVs, I really needed to confirm that all the events lined up in the correct order.

I was less than 5 chapters in when the alarms started sounding in my brain. Something was wrong, possibly massively wrong, with the start of my novel. Having committed the classic beginners mistake of starting a story in the wrong place before, I now take great care to ensure the first chapter is provides the perfect opening to the story (and I still love the opening of Utopians that finds my MC Mila waking up in a body bag). The problem was that Chapters 2 & 3, rather than providing similar openings for my two other MCs Jett and Austin, not only failed to introduce them the way I would like but also didn’t fit in at all with the timeline I’d managed to construct.

I bit of serious brain storming (and maybe a few glasses of wine) later and I managed to come up with a fix – the novel needs 3 extra chapters! Which leads my to my new goals.

Goal 2: once goal #1 is achieved switch to editing mode on The Utopians, aiming to edit half a chapter a day
Scrap that 🙂 Editing has been temporarily abandoned in favour of drafting those 3 extra chapters. I completed one chapter this week, plus some reworking of the surrounding existing chapters. 2 to go!

Goal 3: keep up with my aim to read 50 books this year.
Not a good week on the reading front once again. But the next (new goal) goes someway to explaining that.

Goal 4: complete beta-reading of LS Engler’s novel – Soulless.
I wanted to put this in as an official goal so I stay on track. I’m just over half-way through the story and (good news here LS) well on track to get it back to writer on time 🙂

Do you write timelines for your novels? Do you sometimes have difficulty trying to decide on the perfect place to start your story?As always I love hearing from you.

Jody Moller

The Editing Process

Slowly but surely I’m switching off the writing brain cells and switching on the editing ones, which means that slowly but surely the editing process is becoming easier. I’ve had a few people ask about my editing process, so, if you’re interested, I’m going to run through it step-by-step. 

1. The complete read through

At this stage I’ve had at least a few months breathing space after finishing the first draft and I do a complete read through. Usually I do this on my Kindle but now that I’m on a Windows 8 computer I can’t work out how to do my Kindle conversions anymore (if you know how to do this please let me know), so for my latest novel, The Utopians, this was on my computer. While I read I make notes on anything that stands out to me – consistency, plot, anything that doesn’t make sense, repetition etc..

2. The sentence-by-sentence edit

This is the tough one (and the one I’m in the middle of now with The Utopians), where I read through every sentence at least 2-3 times to make sure it sounds right. I remove redundant words (‘that’ seems to be the most common one getting culled), I improve the cadence of my sentences, I also correct anything I noticed in the first read-through.

3. The character edit

For this one in the past I have rearranged the chapters of my novel based upon POV character, and will probably repeat this again with The Utopians. The character edit is all about getting the voice of each of my characters to be distinct, they each have particular phrases and words that they use. Despite the fact that my novel is 3rd person I want each character to be identifiable by the language and tone they use.

4. The out-loud read

In the past I have relied on doing this myself, but it doesn’t work all that well as I tend to read over my mistakes. This time round I’m planning on using my Kindle (ahh!!! see above) to read-it aloud to me, which allows me to do basic line editing.

After that it will be off to my delightful alpha readers (read – loving family members) who will tell me which bits don’t work so I can fix them up and get it ready for the beta-reading process.

Now onto my ROW80 goals:

Goal 2: once goal #1 is achieved switch to editing mode on the apocalyptic YA novel, The Utopians, aiming to edit ~5 pages half a chapter a day.

I hit a bit of a lull this week only managing to get through 3 chapters. I had mountains of marking for the other (read – paid) job. But the Autumn session at the University is almost over so in another week and a bit I am unemployed again until Spring session begins and will be concentrating on getting this novel finished. But some good news, I did break through the half-way point of the novel this week, the 50% plot-point line has been crossed and I am climbing to the 75% mark.

Goal 3: keep up with my aim to read 50 books this year.

Nought, zero, zilch. Busy. Week.

Do you have a regimented editing process like I do (the scientist in me fights her way to the surface every once in a while) or are you more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-editing-pants kind of editor? Do you know of any programs to convert to Kindle format that are compatible with Windows 8 (please, please, please)?

 As always I love hearing from you.

Jody Moller

Climbing back onto the ROW80 wagon

Half a chapter. That’s how long it took me to fall off the editing wagon. Half a chapter. A week and a half ago, I finished the first read-through of my novel and prepared myself for an intense edit that would probably take upwards of 30 days (and that was provided I could manage a chapter a day) and I lasted, yes that’s right, half a chapter before the wheels fell off and I was brutally reminded that I hate (and I mean Hate with a capital H), I hate, hate, hate editing.

Deep breath. Okay. Now that my little rant is over, I can happily tell you that despite the fact my little wagon has no wheels and can now only plod along at a rather slow pace, in the past few days I have climbed back on and started working my way through the novel. I am currently sitting partway through Chapter 3 and am aiming to finish a chapter every other day till I reach the end.

As for my ROW80 goals:

Goal 2: once goal #1 is achieved switch to editing mode on the apocalyptic YA novel, aiming to edit ~5 pages a day.

So the revised goal is to try and complete a chapter every 2 days (we’ll see how we go). Also I now no longer have to call it my ‘apocalyptic YA novel’ as I have come up with an (at least temporary) title ‘The Utopians’.

Goal 3: keep up with my aim to read 50 books this year.

Big fat fail on this one. I am currently reading Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia, but it’s taking me forever and in the mean time I have fallen at least 2 books behind schedule.

Do any of you have any advice for a failing editor? Do any of you prefer the editing process to writing? As always I love hearing from you.

Jody Moller