I started 2011 writing revisions on my 2009 NaNoWriMo. I’d looked at the manuscript off and on since I finished it at the end of November, but it needed A LOT of work. When I say A LOT, I mean there were parts that had didn’t belong in a young adult contemporary story and parts that needed to be overhauled to the point that they would no longer be recognizable. It put me off and I didn’t want to do it.
The story haunted me though. I loved the plot and my two main characters. I wanted to fix it. So I picked it up again in December of last year and started plugging away.
A few years ago, while reading one of a million how-to writing books, I came across some advice that shocked me. The author suggested retyping the manuscript from beginning to end. *GASP* That would be….WORK. It also seemed pretty nonsensical at the time that I read it. Why retype the entire thing when I can just fix the one already in my computer?
But in a way, I’d been doing this all along. I wrote my previous manuscripts, one dead and one still awaiting the umpteenth round of revisions, in long hand. Yep, long hand. And some parts were undecipherable when I read over them. So once I finished with the first draft, I had to type it and, by typing it, I revised it.
When I realized that this was nothing new, retyping an entire manuscript didn’t seem like a big deal, just a lot of work. I’m not afraid of work. I don’t particularly care for the word, but working, especially writing, is a ton of fun.
With that in mind, I printed out the first draft, read and red-lined it, and then I got down to retyping it from page one to the end. A lot has changed from my original draft and this now-completed second draft. First the word count is drastically higher. As you know, the goal of NaNoWriMo is to write a 50k novel in thirty days. So that’s pretty much what I had. I finished it, ending and all, at 52k. The second draft is complete at 72k.
But aren’t you supposed to cut when you revise?
In this case, no. Don’t get me wrong, I cut two scenes that didn’t fit. My first draft had a lot of rapid fire conversations without any tags or descriptions. I pared down the lengthier ones and made the scenes clearer by adding a tag here and there as well as describing where these conversations took place. I added scenes that weren’t there before, but were needed to smooth out the timeline.
Still, this is only the second draft. It needs work. A LOT of work.
My next move is to set it aside for a month. Put some distance between us. If you love something…. and all that jazz.
While I wait, I’ve got another novel itching to get out. I’m going to do a mini-NaNoWriMo in February. My goal is still 50k, but I have to finish it in 28 days instead. That’s a little under 2k a day. In other words, February is a month of a lot of coffee and very little sleep.
If all goes as planned, and it rarely does, I will have another rough draft to sit on before retyping it from beginning to end.
And I’m looking forward to doing it.