Anyone doing the Big Edit?

MountainLark

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I remember hearing somewhere that lots of people get to editing their NaNoWriMo work during either January or February. Anyone here doing this, or know about it?

Thanks.
 
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It’s a logical time to start. In December, your novel is fresh in your brain & you might not be able to see it as it is. But after giving it a month or two (in other words, January or February), you can look at it with fresh eyes & catch problems you couldn’t see when drafting it.
 
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Morgan Morrow

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I'm getting ready to start my big edit after I submit a different manuscript to author mentor match. I'm in that weird space of shifting gears between works in progress.
 
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MountainLark

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I just looked up Author Mentor Match, as I hadn’t heard of it. Sounds like a great concept!

Best wishes with your upcoming edit. :)
 
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Nether

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I'll probably start editing my NaNo project after I finish doing a quick pass on another manuscript, since I want to try that AMM thing (which wound up on my radar the other month through posts on AW, and I want to try a different manuscript than I used in Pitch Wars... and I probably should have my query critiqued this time, although it feels odd having it critiqued for something like this instead of an agent).

My original plan was to start editing my NaNo project in December after I finished the first draft of my next manuscript (which would have been about a month after finishing the NaNo project because I finished drafting that a little early), but I hadn't finished something else by the time I finished that manuscript, and things were just hectic

I tend to be a reasonably fast drafter, but a slow editor/reviser/proofer. Partly because my routines are built around drafting, but also because it feels more fun (and there's more of a feeling of getting something done while drafting, and I haven't found a really good motivational metric for editing/revision (pages reviewed, for instance, isn't incremental enough)).
 

MountainLark

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I tend to be a reasonably fast drafter, but a slow editor/reviser/proofer. Partly because my routines are built around drafting, but also because it feels more fun (and there's more of a feeling of getting something done while drafting, and I haven't found a really good motivational metric for editing/revision (pages reviewed, for instance, isn't incremental enough)).

Uh-oh. I'd not thought of this. Scrivener was awesome for letting me know how far I'd come while writing, but you're right -- there's not much of a motivational analog for editing.

Ah, well. Hopefully I won't get bogged down.

P.S. I'm jealous that you're a fast drafter!
 
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Nether

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Uh-oh. I'd not thought of this. Scrivener was awesome for letting me know how far I'd come while writing, but you're right -- there's not much of a motivational analog for editing.

Ah, well. Hopefully I won't get bogged down.

P.S. I'm jealous that you're a fast drafter!

My current project makes me feel like I should move to Scrivener one of these days, since I'm tempted to jump around (and re-organize bits), which is more of a pain in MS Word.

And then I track my word counts in Excel, with a lot of little counters/trackers and the such. I'm not really familiar with what tracking Scrivener offers, but I imagine I'm getting a comparable experience... although possibly with a bit more effort at times.
 

MountainLark

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My current project makes me feel like I should move to Scrivener one of these days, since I'm tempted to jump around (and re-organize bits), which is more of a pain in MS Word.

And then I track my word counts in Excel, with a lot of little counters/trackers and the such. I'm not really familiar with what tracking Scrivener offers, but I imagine I'm getting a comparable experience... although possibly with a bit more effort at times.

I'm always impressed by writers that use Excel. Ooof. I'm such a disorganized mess, but Scrivener makes me look like Marie Kondo. ;)

After switching, I don't think I could ever go back to Word.

(YMMV, of course.)
 

Morgan Morrow

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I dipped my toes into my NaNo MS and was pleasantly surprised. It needs a lot of work, of course, but I'm happy with the framework I created. The ending evolved as I wrote the draft, so the first round of revisions is going to focus on making the face match the butt :sneaky:
 

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I would absolutely be editing my NaNo, but I entered Sisyphus this year, so I'm doing that until March, and probably won't start editing until after the Guessing thread closes.
 

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Yeah, my NaNo rewrite is probably going to be a lot of work, too. I think at least half of the "instructional" chapters need to be rewritten, and I need to make sure certain elements don't feel repetitive among them (because they'll touch upon certain subjects in different depth, and most are meant to link to the narrative in some meaningful way).

And all of that doesn't go into potential structural issues since I half-pantsed it (I wrote it with a sequence of events in mind, but I tweaked some of the events and there wasn't much outlining), and then there are my usual quirks like not including my MC's description (and probably some other prominent characters' descriptions) in my first draft

On the plus side, the concept and execution might be unique... although that can be more of a negative than a plus at times, since "different" isn't always good. Readers tend to want "familiar" over "same" or "different," which had also always been the case with me since I've either consciously or unconsciously looked for content similar to other things I've liked.
 

Morgan Morrow

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Does anyone find that a non-writing creative project helps you mentally shift gears between manuscripts?

I've been struggling to re-engage with my NaNo WIP, I have lots of ideas for what needs to be done but my brain isn't quite ready to get started on the hard work. So, I'm devoting myself to painting a neglected room in my house and I'm hoping that by the time I'm done I'll be ready to get to work on my story again 🤞
 

Nether

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Does anyone find that a non-writing creative project helps you mentally shift gears between manuscripts?

For drafting, I might be shifting gears by the end of the WIP headed into the next one. Usually unless I'm working on a short story between projects, I just jump from the last one to the next one. Halloween day, for instance, I wrote 6k~ words to close out a manuscript, and then I wrote 2.5k words of the NaNo project the next day. And when I finished the NaNo project (just 1.2k words that last day), I wrote 1.8k on the Christmas slasher the next day.

Between the Christmas slasher and Ralphie Rickets was a Real Boy, there were two non-manuscript days (12/19-20) between the projects. But I wrote and edited a 2.3k short story on the 19th, and then worked on a short story I abandoned on the 20th (it just wasn't working how I wanted, and long fiction is my priority). The short story was apparently a bit of a dud, since everybody who read it seemed confused on at least a point or two (beyond any other impressions they had), but part of the problem was I understated it since the contest I was subbing to was more upmarket. And I'm not sure whether my changes to the ending made it better or worse, although at least I fixed some other issues

In general, though, I tend to put off editing/revision for previously-mentioned reasons. I'm not sure how much gear-shifting is involved because I don't have it down to a routine or anything. And, unless there's some urgency (usually an external source), I kinda put it off. The only reason I finished the initial edits on my fourth manuscript was because I got bites from crit partners and a beta reader almost immediately. I finished some more fixes on the first manuscript because that sketchy indie publisher (who I never followed up with because I learned more about them (courtesy of AW's beware section, which is what got me to join the board), but supposedly they were pausing a lot of stuff anyway) full-requested. (Prior to that, my first manuscript didn't have a lot of standard formatting elements -- not even page breaks (instead I just lines for chapter breaks) because I didn't know how any of that worked.) And so on.

I've been struggling to re-engage with my NaNo WIP, I have lots of ideas for what needs to be done but my brain isn't quite ready to get started on the hard work.

I generally put off the more difficult or vague edits/revisions. It's why I still haven't touched my fifth manuscript (despite starting a first pass on my sixth and, more recently, my seventh) -- it's going to require a lot of thought in terms of sequencing the events/POV chapters, adding some markers to clarify the timeline, and deciding which revelations to push (for instance, a reveal I'd intended for closer to the end I put nearer the midpoint because it transitioned nicely)... and then, I guess, I add sly nods earlier where it doesn't feel like a continuity error. And I kinda went out of my way to not make any instance feel like I just ****ed up (because there are two characters who look almost identical other than the other feature).

The NaNo project (manuscript 9) should be less of a headache because it's linear (minus the "instructional" chapters, which I don't necessarily intend to be sequential -- just more relevant the scenario). However, as mentioned, it's going to be a lot of work since I'll likely need to rewrite the "instructional" chapters to make them more focused (although, in-universe, they're meant to be authored by a character, so they don't necessarily have to be perfect) and then polish more on polishing the rest after my initial edits.

I foolishly thought I'd start the revisions mid or late December (after finishing the first draft for manuscript 10), finishing up in the first week of January. Meanwhile I still haven't started because I've been hopping around other things. I'm hoping to be completely done with the first round of edits on my seventh manuscript next week, and then I'll start the initial read-through/mark-up on the NaNo project afterward... but I still to implement the rest of my crit partner's suggestions for my fourth manuscript so I can maybe put that through a full round of beta readers and have something ready for query.
 
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EVanMoore

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I remember hearing somewhere that lots of people get to editing their NaNoWriMo work during either January or February. Anyone here doing this, or know about it?

Thanks.
I finished my first edit in December, then my second, third, fourth and fifth (try not to judge me) by March. I find I work best if I just put my nose to the grindstone, otherwise I lose motivation and I can't keep track of what changes I planned to make in the future. So I just do it.
It's exhausting.

Now I'm querying the polished manuscript! All rejections so far, but I expected that.
 

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I finished my first edit in December, then my second, third, fourth and fifth (try not to judge me) by March.

It's a little fast for that many edits. How big were the changes each time?



Now I'm querying the polished manuscript! All rejections so far, but I expected that.

Once you have your 50 posts, you can ask people in SYW to have a look at your query, etc.
 
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I’m doing a medium edit on my NaNo novel. I need a beta to tell me what it really needs. I know I’m missing the BIG edit needed.
 

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It's a little fast for that many edits. How big were the changes each time?





Once you have your 50 posts, you can ask people in SYW to have a look at your query, etc.
BIG changes. I went from complete first draft of 70k words in 17 days of NaNoWriMo up to a bloated monstrosity of a second draft at around 160k words (I think) by December. I'm a very scattered writer. My carpal tunnel hates me.
Second, third and fourth were all after I got feedback from my writing buddies and my Guild, and they were pretty serious revisions but nothing like that first one. That got me down to 137k words... Then the fifth was changing around a few things I thought would work better, altering motivations and trying desperately to get my word count below 120k because I know a lot of agents won't even consider anything over that number (especially because it's not high fantasy, which I've heard can have higher word counts...?)

Got it down to 110k a few weeks ago, then had beta readers read it. Without any useful feedback I went through it a few more times. Then I had what I considered to be a polished manuscript :)

I should probably explain though: During NaNo my partner was really supportive and though I was still working full time he was awesome and I was able to get away every evening to write. Then at my job my coworkers were super supportive too, and they'd let me use the computers on every break to hammer down more on my story. Then even when I was ON shift if it was slow everyone was fine with me typing on my phone between patients (it was REALLY slow).

My jobsite changed a lot in the last week, and I had a goal of finishing and querying before April because I knew that I may not ever have the same opportunities I did in the last few months to work so hard on my passion project. It was a "lightning in a bottle" kind of situation that I wanted to utilize, knowing it was probably a once in a lifetime chance.

As you can see just from this reply: word count is not an issue for me. I can get that stuff down in a few minutes. But it's not quality, and that's where my many intense revisions come from. Ideally I want to work towards being a writer who produces more quality writing over a longer period of time, instead of a quantity writer who spews out chapters then has to go back repeatedly and repair them.

Edit: forgot to mention. I do know that I can post things to be critiqued once I hit 50 but I am not in a hurry. I'm hoping that I can be more useful to other people and learn more before I ask for any help. I feel like ya'll probably get a lot of people who get to that goal of 50 posts and then all they do is want feedback....
 
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