Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Work In Progress Wednesday #005

Today is not just WIP Wednesday, but also between birthdays day. Whose birthdays you ask? My husband Andy's b-day was yesterday on St. Patrick's day and my own b-day is tomorrow (Which is on the lesser known Feast of St. Joseph day. Poor St. Joseph, there is just no competing with green beer.).

And now... on to the Work in Progress Wednesday fun!

If anyone else out there in the blogosphere wants to join in on the fun, simply post your own WIP Wednesday entry on your blog and leave a link to it in the comments below. Or if you don't have a blog, feel free to report your progress directly into the comments box.

For more detailed information concerning what all this nonsense is about please consult the original Work in Progress Wednesday posting.

So, after finishing the first draft of my WIP aka Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea aka BTDATDBS. Um, yeah... I'll probably just continue to refer to at it as my WIP. Anyway, after finishing the first draft last week I was going to wait a week before starting on rewrites. But then Saturday night my husband was at a friend's bachelor party and my WIP started calling to me. I could not resist, and I started rewriting chapter one.

Now Annie in comments a few weeks ago mentioned that this was a fairly short time to let a work sit before jumping back in for rewrites, and I agree. When the words are fresh on the page, it is hard to have the distance to really see what is and is not working. The thing is that I wrote chapter one all the way back in July of 2008, so those words are way past their sell-by date.

Also, helping with the distance factor is my ability to quickly forget. (Sure, some people would call it a memory problem, but that's so negative.) As I've been writing I've submitted the first ten chapters or so to my online crit group, and as I've looked at some of their comments and then back at what I wrote there have been times when I've been like, "Wow, I don't even remember writing that."

The final reason though that I feel comfortable jumping into revisions so soon is that these are only Level 1 revisions.

Now you may be asking - What are Level 1 revisions? And do I need some sort of special clearance to work on them?

Level 1 revisions are... well they're kind of like this thingy:

This thingy is actually called a street roller (I found this out after much Googling trying to find an image of something that I did not know the actual name of. It was challenging to say the least.) Now I am not in construction, so I could be totally wrong about this, but I think this machine kind of smooths the blacktop and makes it all even.

And that's basically what I want to do with my Level 1 revisions, because right now crap is just all over the place. Despite the fact that I did kind of outline and plot the darn thing out, there were still elements and characters and just stuff that changed once I got into things.

Lady Glamis a few weeks ago at The Innocent Flower blog discussed this process as "working in layers", which is also a good (and less convoluted) way to think about it. I am specifically referring to her point #4 towards the end of the post where she talks about:

My first layers are polishing up the plot holes and character inconsistencies. Things that bugged me the whole way through the first draft that I kept telling myself I'd go back and fix later.

Ah. Isn't it nice when someone else's words say so well what you want to say, but can't think how to?

Anyway, I have a whole list of things that I've figured out after a scene was written, but afraid of losing my forward momentum I instead mentally filed them away (Or being aware of my super-forgetting powers I usually often recorded them on the same Word document where I keep plot points and character arcs.) to be taken care of during this Level 1 revision stage.

Really my end goal is to make my WIP pretty enough that I can ask some people to beta read it, without wasting their time with things that I already know need to be fixed. After I get my WIP back from betas, I'll take some time to absorb their comments (comments, especially the negative ones, are kind of like soup. They're always better the second day.) and then go in for Level 2 revisions.

So, that's been my week in writing. What about you? Anyone else working on rewrites, and if so what Level are you at? And if not in rewrites, where is your WIP?


  1. Love the steam roller analogy. :) That's pretty close to how I think of it too. Although smoothing the rough spots in my wips may require an earthmover first.

  2. Although I agree that time can help, every writer will establish different procedures. One story won't be better or worse for taking or not taking that extra time. It's all mental. I like having stuff fresh in my mind. By the time I finish a ms, whether it takes 2 months or two years, I have a list of things to revise already. Notes I've taken as I wrote--ie, go back and change this, fill that in, etc.

    We all have to find our own way...and know that it's right for us, otherwise we end up insecure--totally lacking in confidence. :D Not able to move forward... and on that dreary note, You're doing great! I say, take a break or dive right in, whichever suits your fancy. Good luck and hard work!

  3. So glad my words could help! I really do like levels, layers, whatever you want to call them. It sounds like you have a system that works for you, and that is the best thing that can happen for you during revisions!

    Your birthday is close to mine! Mine falls on Saturday. :)

    I still want to put a WIP Wednesday thing on my sidebar. It's so great to hear about your progress and process! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Tara - A STEAM roller. Steam was totally the word I could not think of. Oh, my gosh, thank you. That was really bugging me!

    Bethanne - LOL, I know you are a dive back in for revisions type person, and I agree everyone does need to go at their own pace.

    Lady Glamis - Your words did help -thank you for letting me borrow them. And that is so cool your bday is Saturday! Everyone knows, people born in March are special;)

  5. I too love the steam roller.

    What a cool idea (WIP Weds...almost looks like RIP thought! :D Heheh! Maybe RIP to those evil first drafts and plaques of typos instead of locuses?)

    I'll play. :) I'm always up for some feedback, both the getting and the giving kind! (I'll be out of town this weekend, so my responses might be slow to read others and respond to any comments, just FYI)

    My WIP is HOUND IN BLACK AND BLOOD (or Blood and Black - it likes to change on a whim) and right now it's off to a copy editor I hired to try and get rid of typos I'm having trouble finding. After that, query time.

    Here's a pitch I worked on:

    And here's chapter 1:

    Fun blog by the way! Glad you stopped by mine, so I could fin yours. :D

  6. That would be plagues, not plaques. <.<

  7. I LOVE the picture! And I like the other description, too, of the layering. I am always looking for better ways to describe this process. You know, without swearing. :)

  8. I love your idea of WIP wednesday. It makes me want to hunker down (between editing) and work more on my outline. Thanks for the inspiration!

  9. You're alot more organized then I am.
    I'm revising right now, and I just go through each chapt to fix them.
    Add more tension, get deeper into POV, correct names, check timelines, etc.

  10. The steam roller? My revisions are kind of like military boot camp: I need to break it down and then rebuild it. LOL!

  11. Screaming Guppy - I did not even notice the plague/plaque typo until you pointed it out. Sheesh, maybe we both need copy editors;) I will check out your links too!

    beckylevine - Yeah, swearing and also things like vague hand gestures are just not blog friendly.

    T.Anne - Glad I could spread a little inspiration around!

    December - It's funny you say I'm organized because I was just thinking today how NOT organized I am. I think in trying to describe it, that I am also always wildly clutching at straws.

    Jennifer - Boot camp - I love it!

  12. Hi Kate,

    Thanks for leaving a commnet on my blog.

    This is level one for me too, but I usually just call it the first editing.

    It does take several times to go through and get all the rough stuff out. Having beta readers, I've found, can point out some of the stuff that I've missed.


  13. I share your ability to quickly forget. Whenever I finish a NaNo novel, I don't even know what just happened.

    I like what you said about getting your rewrite polished enough for beta readers so as not to waste their time. I hadn't thought of that. This whole time I was thinking of waiting till my novel was as perfect as could be before asking others to read it. I think now I won't wait so long.

    I try to explain what level I'm at here.

    Now, I'm off to go read everyone else's progress. What a fun day!

    Oh, also, beckylevine, that is hilarious about describing the process without swearing.

  14. I love the street roller analogy. My post is up now at

  15. Wow, you and Lady G are like, so organized. I'm on round umpteen of edits for two different novels. It's embarrassing that they've needed so much work over time. I can only hope I end up with something after this that is marketable.

    Also wanted to let you know, Kate, that I am pimping your Work In Progress Wednesdays on the QueryTracker Blog tomorrow ( You'll have to let me know if you see a spike in traffic -- bet you will!

  16. Janice - Thanks for stopping by here too! It seems like we are in similar places right now with our rewrites.

    Annie - Yes the ability to forget is helpful with rewrites, less so when I am looking for my car keys;)

    Robin - Oh good I am glad my analogies are working!

    Archetype - Oh, I have been in the umpteenth revision too, trust me, and it is not pretty. Ooh, and I'll look forward to the QT blog mention - I never thought I would be so excited at the thought of being "pimped." :D

  17. Yes, layers. I just finished writing something (I am WAY ahead of schedule! Or maybe just...out of ideas?) and I know there are so many things that need to be smoothed over. I can't even remember some things that I know will need to be fixed. Great post!

  18. Elana - Holy crap, you are way ahead of schedule! Didn't you say on your blog that you had an Easter deadline. Wow. You go girl!