I figured it’s pretty timely for me to talk about revisions since I just finished some for Hacked Investigations 2: Savage Bytes.

Also, don’t forget… In celebration of finishing up Savage Bytes and Jungle Heat’s recent release, I’m going to do a giveaway of one (maybe two depending on how many comments I get this week) of your choice of either Techno Crazed or Jungle Heat if you leave a comment. You’ll get one extra entry for each of the following, follow the blog, follow my Twitter @sarahmakela, and Tweet or Retweet. (Please let me know in the comment, if you do the extra entries.) I’ll pick the winner(s) next Friday!

Anyways, I used to think of revising as going to line one, sentence one and line-editing straight on through. Maybe doing that multiple times, and boom! Done! Not anymore. I’ve actually developed a system. Something, if you follow my blog, know is pretty rare for me. Still, revisions are intense. They tend to take me a little longer to complete (probably also due to the fact that I don’t read at super speed like some people *winks*).

I do have to admit though. I’m beginning to slowly find them easier, especially now that I have a system, which is fairly new since I only started with it at the beginning of this year. Another thing is I’m also less intimidated by the process of going through the book and making it shine. In fact, some days I prefer it to writing, but then again, I think that switches whenever I’m doing one or the other. I’ve had days where I’d prefer to write than edit. Usually when I’m to the point where I’m revising, I don’t have time to let myself go with whims and fancies. 🙂 By that point, I’ve used up those privileges.

Anyways, here’s my revision process. Hopefully it helps!

  1. I print out the entire story and then wince because I’m not a fan of using lots of paper. (Although, it doesn’t work as well for me when reading over the manuscript on screen the first time.) 
  2. I grab some post-it notes, a pen, and my manuscript. 
  3. Read over the manuscript making notes about major things that bug me. (Step away from the typos and grammar! It’s not time for that yet.) 
  4. Once I’m done with that, I implement the changes for the notes I made and kick myself for making so many great catches. 
  5. Next, I do line edits. 
  6. Sending it off to a critique partner is an awesome idea. Although, sometimes it’s not possible due to deadlines and schedules.
  7. Also, if there’s extra time, I’ll either put the story through a text-to-speech program to have it read to me, or I’ll read it work out loud. I’ve tried it and caught errors doing so. Although, after a while my tongue started tripping over words. lol

So, that’s my process! What’s yours? Do you have tips for making it through revisions (somewhat) painlessly?

And the Waiting Begins

Hey everyone! Right when I state my great intentions last week of sticking with Monday blogging, I slack yesterday. Okay, I really take that back. Yesterday wasn’t a lazy day for me. As last week’s post stated, I’ve been immersed in revising, and yesterday was the culmination of that as I dove toward the finish line to get my novella in before the submission deadline. And that leads me to today’s post.

The waiting game. Waiting can be challenging, but I think it’s hardest when you send out a freshly revised manuscript for the first time. My head is all buzzed with thoughts of “This is the one! Woo!” and “Oh no, what if I missed something?” It’s the rush of a newly submitted project, especially since that project has been one of the most fun I’ve worked on in a while, and it’s in an entirely different genre. I’m also on edge since I tried out a more effective way to revise. My critique partner even commented on the draft being cleaner! Woo!

Anyways, I know that one of the best ways to deal with waiting is to write the next book. Although, for me, that’ll be editing my 2010 nanowrimo.org novel. But what other ways do you handle the waiting process while on submission? You know, besides from constant email checking. *grins*

Oh, The Ways to Revise…

So, I seem to have made it a habit to blog on Mondays. I think I’ll keep with that! =) And today’s topic comes from what I’ve been doing since January 18, err… give or take. Revising!

When I work on books, I haven’t really had a set thing of plotting or pantsing or doing a little of both. I don’t have a set way of building characters, they come to me in different ways. Sometimes they just float into my head, and sometimes I actively make them. (Although, on that note, this past time with my cyberpunk romance novella, I did actively build my hero using Holly Lisle’s The Character Workshop — Designing A Life article, and it worked wonderfully! So I’ll definitely have to try that again in the future.) But, I digress. The point is, I don’t have a set way of doing things.

Most often, I dive into revising by looking at page one, line one and working my way through. Reading each line, fixing each line. Rinse. Repeat. Honestly, the process overwhelms me sometimes. But that really isn’t the best way to see continuity issues and fix the big picture items that might be haunting the manuscript. I know this, and I’ve had my critique partner pick out those kinds of problems in a previous book.

Right now, I’m on a tight schedule with editing, so I don’t have the luxury of going through it three or four times to figure out those things. And geez, not like I’d want to!

There have been a couple of articles on revising, namely Rachel Caine’s Cruel to Be Kind method and there’s Lori Devoti’s Revision Checklist too, that I’ve always wanted to implement into my process, but I’ve been too in a hurry and stuck with the ol’ line-edit the manuscript to death trick. Ha! This time I decided to try them out. I’m basically using Rachel Caine’s process, but I’ll probably also do the Computer Search mentioned in Lori Devoti’s. All I can say so far is: WOW! I’ve made it through The Reading Pass, and I’ve found so many things that need fixed. Things I might’ve missed if I hadn’t been reading straight through.

This has shown me the ultimate importance of reading the book straight through a first time (and taking notes) before line-editing. I am so glad I’ve discovered these methods now. A really interesting article I found today by Jody Hedlund called Three Simple Stages of Self-Editing basically goes over the process Publishing Houses use when editing and how effective it’d be to utilize that system. That process is: Substantive, Line-Editing, and Copyediting. Basically, it follows, to an extent, the two methods above! And really, wouldn’t it be great to get into the habit of doing edits like publishing houses before getting contracted?

How do you revise? Do you have a set way, or are you still trying to figure out your process?

The End!

Last night, I wrote The End on my cyberpunk romance novella. Woohoo! Afterward, it felt like a weight had been lifted off my chest. I’m so excited about this story. I think it’s fun and definitely unique. I can’t wait for it to find a home! Now I’ll give it a day or two to cool down before hopping into edits. Eek!

But in the meantime, I’ll be able to return to edits on my post-apoc paranormal romance. It’s been going slowly due to the cyberpunk novella, but I’m just as excited about it too. Going over it, I’ve been surprised at how much I’m enjoying it. *sigh of relief* I just hope an agent and editor will agree!

Reading has been slow as well, but at least I’m doing some. I’ve never really juggled two projects like this before, so I guess it’s good practice for when I get contracted.

Hope everyone has a great day!

Busy, busy…

This month looks like it’s not letting up. I’m busy, busy, busy! But what better way to start a new year than that? What am I juggling? Writing (and then revising) a novella, revising a novel to share with my critique group, and being a good critique partner for my critique group (oh, and ya know, a good wife, healthy eater, etc., etc., etc). I think I’m really looking forward to February. lol!

But, I think I’ve done pretty well with the juggling so far. I’m nearly half-way through the novella; okay, I’ve only revised 1 chapter of my novel… pffft!; I’ve also participated with the critique group, so I’m not horrible there; and the good wife stuff… eh… I’m sure hubby would think so. =) But… no perverted thoughts, okay? *grin*

Anyways, just popping by to say hello and give an update! Now back to work for me.

The Year in Review… and Looking forward to 2011

Happy New Year everyone!

Wow, I can’t believe that the year is almost over. So much has happened this year. I’ve made writer friends and critique buddies. Revised a few different WIPs. Read 26 books. Co-founded the awesome blog, Castles & Guns. And I wrote two books! I also finally delved fully into the world of querying agents. I’d queried in the past, but it hadn’t been anywhere close to the scale that I did in 2010. And okay, I haven’t found an agent yet, but I’m certain good things will be happening within the new year. So much awesome stuff has happened recently, things that have kind of been building blocks toward better and more.

Yes, years end brings optimism for a more successful upcoming year, but that’s great, especially when one acts and makes a plan to stick to what they want to accomplish in the new year. I’ve formed my New Years Resolutions more like goals and have tried to decide what I really want to achieve in the upcoming year. With my “goals list” for 2010, I wrote down quite a bit of stuff I didn’t get to. Maybe because I didn’t work as hard at the beginning of the year as I did at the end of it, but I also think I acted more like throwing in everything and the kitchen sink, and I decided later what I really wanted to pick out of it. The bad point is it’s easy to get overwhelmed and think I’m not getting much accomplished, even if I got a decent amount of stuff done.

Anyways, so what am I trying for in 2011? I’m going to read at least 24 books. I want to write and revise at least 3 novels, write and revise some novellas, query the novels and novellas that I write and revise, possibly attend a conference (I’m torn between it and a Caribbean family vacation cruise.), and keep up and get better with social networking.

So what are your goals?

Making progress…

Although, why is it that I’m feeling more stress about getting things done this month than I have in a while? Could it be simply that Nano is next month? Or the fact that I’m really, really ready to be finished with this urban fantasy novel? I just want to send it out again to find an agent now that it’s in good shape. Yet in some ways, the stress isn’t really helping me like the good stress Nano brings that pushes me to do insane word counts.

Blah… I’m getting through it. I might toy with my deadline to push it back. Depends on how much progress I’m getting done. I don’t want to burn out. Still need to keep up my creativity for next month, especially now that I’m in an area that gets darker and colder than sunny, warm Florida. It’ll be my first real winter in several years. Yikes! I’m excited.

I also would love to spend a few days just reading before the month is over. Not only to catch up on my 2010 TBR list, but also just to detox from editing. Haha… I don’t want to be in an editing mindset and then have to switch over to a Nano mindset of just letting my fingertips take over.


I’m actually beginning to feel productive, even though I’ve been working pretty hard on my paranormal romance novella. Yesterday, I finally was able to submit it off to three publishers. It feels like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I’ve waited for a long while to be able to get it off the back burner, always looking to work on the next novel and not paying much attention to finishing up the final touches on it.

Needless to say, I now have to do put finishing touches on my urban fantasy novel. Ack… But hopefully it will be a bit easier and just flow out! My goal for it is to have those done by the 21st. There, I’ve said it. Now I have to stick to it. That would give me the end of the month to focus on plotting my upcoming historical urban fantasy novel.

It’ll also give me lots to take my mind off of the submissions, but I like putting those out of my mind anyway. I do like to keep in mind when I expect to be hearing back though. I don’t want to be waiting forever on something when a place has lost my submission. Guess it’s just a balance.

The Things You Learn On Twitter…

It’s National Punctuation Day! lol

I didn’t know there was a day dedicated to punctuation, but I guess it makes sense. Here’s the website if anyone is interested in seeing it. http://www.nationalpunctuationday.com/ One of the things they have in celebration of the day is a Punctuation Haiku Contest. I tend to stick with writing novels instead of poems, but I figured I’d try one out here.

Commas dashes quotes.
What would I do without you?
I don’t want to know.

In other news, I’m nicely settled into my new home. Yay! I’ve started back to work on my writing. I’m currently in the midst of edits for my paranormal romance short story (or novella, depending on submission guidelines), Jungle Heat. Soon it shall be ready to find a home. It’s being reviewed by my awesome critique partner, Marissa, at the moment. I’m also in the process of finishing up the remainder of tweaks on my urban fantasy novel. Can’t wait to work on plotting my upcoming National Novel Writing Month project, a historical urban fantasy about werewolves! I’m so excited! It’ll be the first thing I’ve written that really focuses on werewolves, and also, the first historically based thing that I’ve written.

Anyways, back to work!

A Weekly Update…

So, for now with the pressure of moving, helping with the awesome new fantasy-focused blog Castles & Guns (You should check it out. You know you want to.), and finishing up the remaining chapters of my urban fantasy novel (Yes, still…it’s beginning to drive me crazy.), I’ll be making weekly posts here so that I don’t go absolutely crazy with trying to update it on more than that.

Anyways, I just finished reading Touch of Evil by C.T. Adams & Cathy Clamp. Really good urban fantasy book. At first, I struggled to staying in the novel, but after a few pages, I was hooked. It makes the 14th speculative fiction book I’ve read this year, and 15th book total. Only 10 more spec fiction books until I reach my goal of 24 for the challenge hosted by Book Chick City.

If anyone is interested, here is the list of books I’ve read as well as the tentative list of what I’ve planned to carry me through the rest of the challenge. I’ll update it as I complete new novels. [Edit: I’ll update http://blog.sarahmakela.com/2010/09/speculative-fiction-2010-reading.html as I finish reading new books.]

To Be Read:

  1. Dancing with Werewolves by Carole Nelson Douglas
  2. On the Prowl Anthology
  3. Night Falls Darkly by Kim Lenox
  4. Curse the Dawn by Karen Chance
  5. Tempt Me with Darkness by Shayla Black
  6. Heart Duel by Robin D. Owens
  7. Dead Girls Are Easy by Terri Garey
  8. Minion by L.A. Banks
  9. Servant: The Awakening by L.L. Foster
  10. Watchers in the Night by Jenna Black

Completed (in order of read):

  1. Between Light and Dark by Elissa Wilds
  2. Sweet Revenge by Anne Mather*
  3. Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs
  4. Kiss Me Deadly by Michele Hauf
  5. Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews
  6. A Hunger Like Fire by Greg Stolze
  7. Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews
  8. Full Moon Rising by Keri Arthur
  9. Must Love Hellhounds Anthology (read Ilona Andrews’ novella)
  10. Embrace the Night by Karen Chance
  11. Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews
  12. Shadow Force by Linda Conrad
  13. The Becoming by Jeanne C. Stein
  14. Pride by Rachel Vincent
  15. Touch of Evil by C.T. Adams & Cathy Clamp
*Sweet Revenge by Anne Mather was my non-speculative fiction read this year.*