This past week was an enormous bouquet from my sister who gave me a week alone at her timeshare condo in Carlsbad, CA.
I wasn't sure whether I would uplug, but when I got there and found I'd left the laptop power cord at home I decided that was a sign.
Without blogging and Internet research, I focused on the task of revising the 100,000 words, give or take, that I had written in the first draft and rewriting of second draft of a YA fantasy. I was prepared with tips from other writers and had shrunk and printed out the manuscript. If you haven't heard of this process, you copy the file and change it to single-space, 10-pt font, which results in an easier-to-handle print version.
Then I read it through--just like a real book, oh my. I used colored post-its to mark scene changes and editing ideas. No stopping to re-write, just jot down that this scene should be deleted or that character's reaction needs to be explored or, uh-oh, I had changed the scene before and now this character is no longer in the picture (make him go away!) or whatever-happened-to-that-amulet-I- mentioned. I felt like a puppeteer controlling a stage full of marionnettes but seeing a pretty good run-through.
I also made a timeline. In the margin of the legal pad, I wrote the passage of days for the corresponding scenes written on the other side of the margin. I found myself noting an awful lot of "next day," which when tallied up led to the shocking realization I had written a six-month-long summer.
Granted, I live in California where we have a six month summer or, some may say, a year-long summer, but my story is in a fictional country where the seasons come and go. So I have some time management issues. Ha. Ha. Really, it won't be that hard to fix now that I'm aware.
My next step is to do the story map chart I learned about from the Literary Lab folks, who give great revision tips. I ran out of time to do all the revision chores I planned but I'm energized to keep the momentum going.
I did make time on this trip for pleasures, such as browsing this wonderful used book store, featuring eclectic and rare volumes.
Besides reading my own manuscript, I read two other YA books and the daily newspaper. And I indulged in "So You Think You Can Dance" and two Netflix DVDs--Sarah Connor Chronicles Season Two with that amazing opening sequence montage and Shirley Manson singing "Samson and Delilah." I confess I watched that opening several times. I also watched the delightful "Lost in Austen," in which a modern woman finds herself smack in the middle of "Pride and Prejudice." Totally funny and romantic.
And last, but way not least, I walked on the beach every day and saw amazing sunsets. And took their pictures with my cool camera phone.
I'm glad to be back, but also grateful to have had as productive and wonderful week as I did.
I missed you all, but in many ways, you were there because of the things I have learned from each of you and the way it is improving my novel-writing skill.
So, a big hello again *waves madly* and thanks.