milestones

Fourth Draft Complete

Hey Folks!

My first major writing goal of the year has been met. I wanted to have the fourth draft of my novel completed by 2/21, and I’ve brought it in four days early. I’m currently on winter break so I will likely devote the rest of my time off to putting a dent in draft five. Right now, I think draft five will be the last one. We shall see. If I don’t feel like it’s ready, I sure won’t be rushing to begin the querying process. That said, aside from a few notable things I want to update, I’m not sure continuing to fiddle with the story will add anything of value and I’ve heard that that is when it is time to stop, lest you go on tweaking until the end of time.

I’ve quite enjoyed the revision process. Getting the first draft out was like pulling teeth, but I’ve found loads of joy (okay, the kind of joy that is drizzled with frustration) in figuring out how to make that little story I wrote better. I love challenging and pushing myself.

Stats on draft four:

Word count: 82,000

Time to complete: 48 days

And just for fun… stats from draft 1:

Word count: 71,000

Time to complete: over 364 days

Goals for draft five:

Do not allow word count to exceed 83,000 (awesome if I can find a way to hack it back down to 80,000)

Finish by 4/6

Make it as awesome and polished as I can

 

Happy Writing!

-ED

Follow me on Twitter: @ElleDesa_Writes

I’m on Pinterest, too: Planning My 1st Book , Writing Inspiration and Tips

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I wrote a book y’all

I finished the first draft of my first novel about a week and a half ago. I think it’s finally set in… both the fact that I actually finished it, and the fact that I have to do something else with it. I’ve spent a good deal of time working to convince myself that what I’ve created isn’t 100% crap. Now, it may be 99% crap, but I can work with that. The big question is where to begin! This time last year I was digging up information on how to outline and get your story started. This year I have to tackle editing the first draft. Do I start with spelling, grammar, continuity, content? Do I do all of these things at once, or make several passes through? It’s pretty intimidating to look at my near-300 page stack of creative vomit and try to figure out how to polish it into something presentable. All I’ve managed to do is go on a mini office supply shopping spree.

Editing tools!

Okay, that’s not all I’ve done… I’ve also taken all of my bookmarks for landmarks and displayed them in a shadow box. Completing a novel from start to finish was something on my bucket list (more as a challenge to myself, not an arbitrary thing to tick off a list- this writing thing is forever) and I have a habit of not adequately celebrating/acknowledging my accomplishments so I wanted to do something nice. I also like the idea of keeping up with this new tradition for any future novels I may write.

My first draft and all eight bookmarks for landmarks

My first draft and all bookmarks for landmarks

If you have any editing tips, please share them!

-ED

PS. Fun coincidence… today is an exact year since my very first blog post!

Bookmarks for Landmarks! #4

It took about 3.5 months, but I finally wrote another 10,000 words. I hit the 40,000 mark, which is also around my halfway point, on Thanksgiving morning. I’m not sure if my first draft will get there, but I’m expecting 75,000 to 80,000 words by the end. Now, based on my original timeline, I was to be hitting that milestone by the end of December, but unfortunately, some bumps along the way threw that off… Or maybe it’s not unfortunate at all. Maybe it’s just part of the process. I’m just so pleased to be writing again.

Bookmarks for Landmarks 40,000 words

Bookmarks for Landmarks 40,000 words

Hopefully I’ll be posting about 50,000 sooner rather than later. 😀

ED

Bookmarks for Landmarks! #3

Whoop! It’s a week later than I wanted, but I’ve reached 30,000 words.

My first week back to work was far more busy than I expected. I was bouncing from meeting to meeting, trying to prep for the first week of school and scrambling to finish up my summer classes. By the time I got home each night, I was beat. Writing just wasn’t happening. Naturally, this has made me a little nervous about meeting my goal of 10,000 words per month while working. I’m not going to change anything yet though. As always, we’ll see how it goes first and I’ll rethink my goals only if necessary.

Bookmarks for landmarks

Bookmarks for landmarks

Now it’s time to get ready for work. I’ve got a bunch of 14 year olds to meet in the morning.

-ED

Reading Challenge?

I need to read more.

I love to read, but I don’t do it as much as I’d like or should. I’ve probably read far fewer books than most aspiring authors and writing my first manuscript has definitely exposed a need for me to read more, but not just casually. I need to read attentively, making note of style and pacing.

Since I’ve been all about goals lately, I thought I’d set a reading goal to be accomplished by the end of the year. I’ll be extremely busy (grad school, teaching, coaching, writing) and I’m not sure what a reasonable goal would be, so I may tweak it as time passes. Right now, I’d like to read 10 books by December 31st (counting The Spectacular Now, which I started last week).  As a teacher, this last week and a half of summer, fall break, Thanksgiving break and the first half of Christmas break will surely knock out 5 or 6.

I imagine that most of the books I choose will be popular YA fiction, one because I’m writing a dystopian YA novel and two, because I teach 9th graders and I like keeping up with what they are reading, plus it gives us a good talking point other than biology now and then (even better if the book ties in with biology). I also want to do a few rereads so that I can take a closer look at some old favorites, but I won’t count any of those toward my 10 book goal.

Yay for goal-setting!

-ED

P.S. Something sure felt nice about reaching the 100th page of my manuscript today (25,899 words). 🙂

Bookmarks for landmarks! #2

Finally! 20,000 words! It took longer than it should have (24 days to be exact, which averages out to a little over 400 words per day) but I’ve reached my second mini-milestone. Yesterday I popped into a Starbucks while my boyfriend went on a big job interview down the road. I was able to pump out 1,900 words in an hour and a half. Maybe a change of scenery needs to happen more often.

Bookmarks for landmarks

Bookmarks for landmarks

Now it’s time to set a new goal. Doing this actually brings me some joy so 🙂 🙂 :). I have to go back to work July 28th. I’m feeling pretty excited about the start of a new school year but I’m definitely set to enjoy the rest of my break. I have 19 days before my days get pretty hectic; you can count on a separate post about how the heck I’m going to keep up writing while in school, working full time and coaching sports. Anyway, these last 19 days will not be obligation free either. I’m taking two summer graduate courses that end on the 31st and I have every intent to complete all my assignments before I go back to work too. That noted, I’m shooting for another 10,000 words. I know I won’t get there by writing everyday, especially when the school work piles up, but all it takes is a few very good days and I think I’ll have some of those.

(more…)

Bookmarks for Landmarks! #1

I’ve decided how I will commemorate all of my mini-milestones during this exciting time of writing my first novel. I’ll be purchasing a new bookmark and writing my achievement somewhere on it. I’m not sure if I’ll stop after my first draft or if I’ll keep collecting bookmarks until my novel is as polished as I can get it, but in the end, I’ll make a collage using all of the bookmarks and frame it. Here is my first one (for reaching 10,000 words, it’s written at the bottom but difficult to see in the picture). 🙂

Bookmarks for landmarks

Bookmarks for landmarks

-ED