Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Progress Report -- Fourth Draft Completed

I've finished the fourth draft of my work in progress. I believe my self-imposed deadline of Jan. 31 is an achievable goal. 

The manuscript is nearly 92,000 words; an increase of about 5k after the third draft. Will it continue to grow? Possibly, but my focus in the fifth rewrite will be to trim excess narrative and dialogue, remove pointless subplots, correct typos, fix grammatical mistakes, and rewrite anything that hinders the flow of the story.

The first thing I did, after completing the latest draft, was to print it. Coming from a background in the news business, I like marking up hard copy (preferably with a red pen) and being able to physically flip pages, rather than going back and forth with pages on a computer screen, while editing. I sometimes lose a sense of direction on the computer, especially after several rewrites.

If things go well, and I'm crossing my fingers, I'll have two more reads on the copy before sending it to my editor.  

And if not, I'll continue to work on the manuscript until I'm completely satisfied that it's ready for an  editor's eyes. 

Until the next time. . . 


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Exercising Constitutional Rights

I'm somewhat amazed, perhaps a bit befuddled, by those who have a problem with people protesting the election of Donald Trump as president. 

It's especially disheartening when it comes from bona  fide journalists who seem to believe that folks should simply accept the outcome of the election and move on with their lives. 
However, I'm not surprised by the outrage of "fake" news journalists who try to put a negative spin on anything that doesn't align with their extremist agenda.

U.S. citizens need to remember, or realize, that protest is one of our First Amendment rights, one that should be cherished—along with freedom of religion, speech, and the press. For those who haven't read it since high school, here's what it states:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Whether it's the Women's March on Washington this weekend, Martin Luther King Jr.'s Civil Rights March on Washington in 1963, Occupy Wall Street, Tea Party protests, anti-Vietnam War protests in 1960s, women's suffrage marches in the early 1920s,and others (labor, environment, human and animal rights, and more), shouldn't we accept and respect these fundamental exercises in democracy?

They are simply letting their voices be heard, rather than remaining silent and letting things run their course. It sure beats apathy, and later, regret, for not speaking out.

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." — Martin Luther King Jr.

Until the next time. . .


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Progress Report -- Third Draft Completed

I've now completed three drafts of my manuscript. Please hold the applause because I'm only about halfway through the process of turning a story into a published novel.

The third rewrite added about 7,000 more words, bringing the total to about 87k. The first draft had about 70k words.  It grew because I've been filling in gaps and holes. As I've posted before (as well as countless other authors), the idea is to get your story down in the first draft, warts and all, then go back and clean and fix it up.

I'll be starting on the fourth draft a couple hours after I post this to my blog (and eat breakfast, play with the doggies, do a few chores, etc.). I can see the manuscript grow another 3k if scenes need to be expanded. I may even add more subplots and backstory along the way.

Or it could have fewer words after going through the chapters if I find passages that should be deleted or rewritten. Dialogue will also be scrutinized.

During the last rewrite, I took copious notes to help me navigate through the manuscript. I also made revisions and edits along the way. It's a time-consuming process but something that has to be done--by the writer.

My hope to is go over the manuscript one more time, followed by a deep read to make sure it flows (and makes sense), and then forward it to my editor, by the end of this month, for her edits and comments.

Until the next time. . .  

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Progress Report -- Second Draft Completed

It took me nearly seven weeks, but I've completed the second draft of the sequel to "Old Ways and New Days." 

I have the standard excuses for taking so long in going over the manuscript -- holidays, personal reasons, and private matters. And there were probably a few  things I had no control over or not aware off when working on it. But I didn't quit.  Not that I would have.

Since New Year's Day, I made tremendous progress, if I do so so myself, working two or three hours each day editing and rewriting each page. It's a time-consuming process, one that can be mentally draining (especially on my overworked brain), but it had to be done. 

The manuscript was about 70,000 words after the first draft; now it's about 79k. If things work out like they have in the past with my other novels, it will probably grow another 5k or so before finished.

I'll get started on the third draft this afternoon. I'll be tying together some loose ends, providing a bit more backstory, and filling in some holes and cutting out others to tighten and strengthen the manuscript.

As mentioned in other posts, I want to complete the rewrites by the end of January, and sooner would be better, before handing it over to my editor.

Now to rest my tired eyes for a few hours. 

Until the next time.... 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Looking Ahead in 2017

As I wrote in my previous post, 2016 wasn't the best of years for me in terms of writing. And there were a few other events that didn't help matters.

But 2016 is history. Now it's time to forge ahead into the new year.

So here are a few of my goals for 2017:
  • Get in a set routine to write a minimum of two hours each day. As noted in other posts, the best time for me is in the pre-dawn hours because it's the most productive part of the day without the countless distractions.
  • Finish the manuscript for the sequel to "Old Ways and New Days" (I have a working title but I'm not revealing it at this point) and hand it over to my editor. I hope to see it published in the spring.
  •  Write six more short stories to complete the second volume to "Laments," to be released in late summer.
  • Get started on the third installment in the OWND series. I already know what it's going to focus on, but I need to finish the second book. I'm not the multi-tasker I used to be. Must be an age thing. Either that or I have too much on the table so I'm scaling back.
  • Write more posts to this blog. I'd also like to increase the followers (you can help me with that goal) here and on my Facebook page. 
  •  Participate in more literary events. I'm already committed to the Southern Kentucky Book Fest in Bowling Green and the Authors Fair in La Grange, Ky., both in April. I'd like to do more presentations at libraries and senior citizens centers and retirement homes.  By the way, my series falls under the boomer lit genre -- aimed for baby boomers. Feel free to email me.
  • My goal in Goodreads (feel free to connect or follow me) is to read a minimum of 24 books; that's two a month. I hope to exceed that count because I know reading strengthens my writing. Furthermore, I love to read and that's the best reason of all.
  • I also plan to travel more this year because it expands my mind and informs my writing. My tentative plans include South America, Washington, D.C., New England, and a few day trips to places in my home state of Kentucky.
Please feel free to share your writing goals. I'd love to hear from you. 

Until the next time....