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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » The Hatrack Novel Challenge - 109,382 words and FINISHED (Page 2)

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Author Topic: The Hatrack Novel Challenge - 109,382 words and FINISHED
Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Liz B:
This is all very exciting!! You know what? Send me what you have so far. I will figure out a way to distribute it. Hard deadline for the whole thing is going to have to be May 28. That will give me a chance to figure out distribution & at least some kids a chance to read & respond before the last day of school (June 8).

Send attachments or whatever to liz3blue at gmail dot com.

I'm afraid I've missed the deadline. [Frown]

Between moving back to Detroit for the summer and my vacation in South Dakota, I lost a couple weeks and never really got back on track. I'm settled in and getting back into writing now, but they'll never have a chance to read the second half before your semester ends now.

So let me ask generally: Are they interested in what they've read so far to the point where they even want to read the second half? Would you like me to email you in a couple weeks (hopefully) when I have the second half done so they can read it just to find out what happens, and then maybe they can email feedback to you on what they think? Or would you just like a brief five or ten page synopsis of what happens through the end of the story just so they can see how it ends but without reading it?

Apologies for leaving you all hanging, this writing a novel in a few days or even weeks thing ended up being a challenge indeed, much more so than I thought it would be. And yet, I've accomplished much more than I ever have before on a single project, so it's been an illuminating experience for me as a writer.

But let me know what you, and they, want to do.

I should also add that I'm highly interested in their feedback on the story. Any medium you'd like to employ to get what they have to say to me would be much appreciated. I'd love to actually see video of a class discussion, but I'd also be happy to read email comments or brief write-ups or whatever they'd like to say and have me read.

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Lyrhawn
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So despite missing the deadline for a finished product, I have been plodding along with this.

I'm up to 45K words of continuous story, plus another 5K or so in half-written chapters. I spent the last month on a big re-write of the second half of the book and now I'm pushing forward with a new goal of finishing before the end of the summer.

Liz if you see this, I'm still curious as to how the kids received the half they read, and if they were wanting to read any more of it.

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Lyrhawn
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Up to almost 60K words and I like to think I'm on pace to finish by the end of the summer as planned (well, my second plan). I have a few more half-written chapters and firm plans for how the rest will go, so for the first time in a few months of struggling, I don't feel like I'm walking through quicksand to move forward.

It's actually starting to look like a real book!

My original goal was a roughly 70,000 word novel, but as things stand, I think I'm going to be closer to 100,000 by the end, and that's before major revisions, which I'll tackle in the fall.

Work continues!

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SteveRogers
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You didn't mention the possible sequel. [Wink]
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advice for robots
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Do you feel like it's a rough draft, or is this pretty finished stuff? Just curious how you've been handling the underlying structure of it as you go.

I've written 60K words in a rough draft but I found myself skimming over so many holes and leaving so many loose ends that it was ridiculously unreadable. So now I'm working through a fairly in-depth outline to fill in the holes and make the elements easier to tweak before I begin actually writing the next draft.

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by SteveRogers:
You didn't mention the possible sequel. [Wink]

I actually have ideas for a couple of sequels, as you know. I originally scripted out a pretty loose arc of three novels, but in writing the last few chapters, I think there actually needs to be four, but the extra book could be written as a series of short stories rather than as a part of the linear arc.
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by advice for robots:
Do you feel like it's a rough draft, or is this pretty finished stuff? Just curious how you've been handling the underlying structure of it as you go.

I've written 60K words in a rough draft but I found myself skimming over so many holes and leaving so many loose ends that it was ridiculously unreadable. So now I'm working through a fairly in-depth outline to fill in the holes and make the elements easier to tweak before I begin actually writing the next draft.

It's a pretty solid draft so far. There are no breaks or holes in the narrative. I do have probably another 10-15K words in partially written chapters and snippets, but I don't count them until the narrative catches up to them and they can be properly slotted into place.

There's going to be a lot of tweaking when I take my second pass at it. As of now, I'm mostly focused on getting the plot down so it all makes sense, and a majority of the dialogue. There are some sections where things move too fast and I'm going to have to add in material to slow the pace, and I'm also going to have to add in a couple character building moments here and there, as well as some style elements. For example, I already know I need to add a chapter at the beginning. The introduction is brief and the main characters are thrown into the action before I really feel like the reader has a chance to know who they were before things get going.

I normally start with a pretty in-depth plot outline. Of course, it wouldn't be much fun if there weren't surprises, so things definitely deviate from the plan, but I still start with one. I rarely have "Okay, what happens next?" problems. Most of my blocks come from transitions, how to get from one element to the next. A lot of those will need tightening up in the next draft.

I do edit a lot as I go. As I write new chapters I go back a few and reread to make sure they fit, but I also end up making a lot of little tweaks when I spot things. I've also done a couple of major re-writes of a couple chapters. I've also done a couple of big rewrites when I've discovered something about a character that changed all their previous appearances. That's happened twice now, where I wrote scenes for characters based on them being one way, and I had to go back and change their demeanor and actions based on how they developed later.

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SteveRogers
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I've been trying to edit as much as his stuff as we go, so we can keep a clearer idea of where the narrative is going as it progresses. And we've kept in contact pretty regurarly for brainstorming sessions.

Though, my ability to contribute has waned in the past few weeks due to a variety of factors.

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Lyrhawn
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Still, it's about six thousand percent better with SteveRogers editing than it would have been without.

Just about every major and many minor rewrite I've done has come either as a result of a brainstorming session I had with him, or from comments and criticisms he's made after reading it. It's been a remarkably productive collaborative process.

I don't know how people write good novels without help.

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SteveRogers
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I imagine most published novelists would tell you they didn't write a good novel without help.
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Lyrhawn
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Fair point.

Out of curiosity, does anyone know what it's like to work with a professional editor? What exactly do they do and what is the process like?

(No offense to SR, who is an excellent editing partner)

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SteveRogers
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[Wink]
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Lyrhawn
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For anyone interested or following along...

This weekend I'm going to try to race to the finish and complete the novel! I have five more chapters planned (given my track record, that probably means seven or eight will actually be written), which means, on average, probably about another 19,000 words, though almost 10,000 of those are already written in really rough shape, I just need to piece some things together.

I took a break from writing after my last update here, so I haven't written in about two weeks, but my semester starts on Monday, and I need to focus on school work right out of the gate, which means this takes a back burner position for a few months, except when I have free time (if that actually happens).

But I wanted to finish this draft before the end of summer, and since summer ends, for me, on Monday, I have two days to finish. Wish me luck!

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Teshi
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Good luck, Lyrhawn. I'm battling through my own novel at the moment.

quote:
Out of curiosity, does anyone know what it's like to work with a professional editor? What exactly do they do and what is the process like?
I don't, but I have a friend who's a professional copyeditor who occaisionally takes a look at my work and he adds home made cookies to my already rather large tab (we live in different countries so the debt is mounting). He doesn't normally edit fiction. What I get from him is clarity of sentence structure and meaning. He picks up on ideas/phrases I think are clear but really aren't. He also picks up on things like repeated and overused words and structures, mis-use of grammar, missing words etc.

He generally uses the editing tool in Word to tag and comment on my faults.

What he does not do necessarily is provide structural suggestions, but that may be just him.

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SteveRogers
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I'm interested to see what you will have added/changed since last we discussed this.
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Lyrhawn
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So am I.

I'm staring at a file of chapter outlines, a file with our brainstorming notes, a file with chapter snippets of half-written chapters and conversations, and a few hastily hand-written pages of ideas that are barely legible because I wrote them all at night in the dark while half asleep.

Hm...

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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
Originally posted by SteveRogers:
I've been trying to edit as much as his stuff as we go, so we can keep a clearer idea of where the narrative is going as it progresses. And we've kept in contact pretty regurarly for brainstorming sessions.

Though, my ability to contribute has waned in the past few weeks due to a variety of factors.

I'm quite relieved to hear that Lyr is getting help, as I volunteered to edit it, and then life SO got in the way and had to retract my offer. Thanks for filling shoes I prematurely offered to fill Steve.
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Lyrhawn
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SteveRogers was always going to help me write it, but we decided to move his writing portion to the hypothetical second novel, so his role sort of shifted to collaborative brainstorming partner and structural editor.

The hardcore, nuts and bolts editing is still ahead of us.

I think at some point we're going to have to turn it over to a professional if we get serious enough about it.

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imogen
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Out of curiosity, does anyone know what it's like to work with a professional editor? What exactly do they do and what is the process like?

(No offense to SR, who is an excellent editing partner)

I don't, but my husband is an author and I've seen the process from my perspective. Mind you, this is with in house editors - ie editors with the publisher once the publishing contract has been signed. I would be very, very, wary of freelance editors.

Professional editors pick up sloppy writing - show not tell seems to be a big part of it (ie avoid the big expositional scenes) - but anything where the writing gets in the way of the story. That can be as trivial as repeated words (most writers have a word or phrase they overuse without realizing). Good editors will also check for consistency (both within the story and in it's context - ie do the character names work for the time period?).

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Lyrhawn
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I've found having a least a couple exposition scenes is unavoidable in my novel. I keep them rather short and very well spaced out so the plot unfolds over the course of the entire story, "show don't tell" sometimes ends up being an unwieldly and complicated piece of advice. Sometimes it's faster, easier, and better to just say something, rather than spending twice or three times as long to try and hint at it or demonstrate it.
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SteveRogers
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For the most part, I think we've been able to tighten up the writing to avoid exposition as much as possible.
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Lyrhawn
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Close to the finish line now. I've added a lot in the last month since I posted.

I'm down to the final one or two chapters. Now I'm just trying to keep it under 100,000 words.

I think this will probably be finished in the next week, since it really is (finally) down to the last chapter, and a mostly written epilogue.

I'm also going to renew my request/offer to let anyone who is willing to read it. It'll probably be available in about two weeks. I'm figuring a week to finish, and a week to do some editing that I already have planned.

Your services will be appreciated. In the fantasy world where I actually get published (hah), you might even find your name in thank you page.

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advice for robots
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I'd be happy to read it. I'm mechanicalman at gmail. What level of critique are you looking for, if any?
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Bella Bee
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Congrats on nearing the end of an actual book-length novel!

I don't have a huge amount of time in the next couple of months and I'm not an editor by any means, but I'd be happy to read it (or as much of it as I have time to read) and give some feedback. My email's in my profile.

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Lyrhawn
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I'm not so much looking for copyediting, as I already know there are grammar issues and little things like that throughout (it is a first draft after all), and I plan on doing a fair bit of editing that'll probably make that sort of editing moot anyway.

I guess I'm interested in bigger, general questions:

Do you even like it?
Does it hold your interest?
What do you particularly like or not like?
Does the story itself make sense, what is confusing?
Are the characters interesting, what would you like to see less or more of?
Is the writing engaging or just terrible?

It IS a first draft manuscript, so some of the prose might be a little threadbare in places where more style and effort will be required in editing, but I'm not sure if I have the perspective to pick up on what's just plain awful writing since I've been working on it closely for seven months.

With this draft, I mostly want to make sure the story is down, makes sense, is actually entertaining, and the characters are mostly developed (or rather, are in the process of being developed) and as a reader you connect with or like them.

What holes there are in those aspects will be fixed with our first round of editing, and I'll also start to look seriously as style issues to make it much prettier.

In other words, an overall critique on everything.

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Lyrhawn
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I'm pleased to announce that after several long delays, I've finally finished a complete first draft of my novel. What was originally planned as a 70,000 word book topped out at 109,382 words. I'm sure editing will cull a lot of the fat from that, but we'll see.

So, AFR and Bella Bee, if your offer to read is still good, I'd love to send this draft to you with the same guidelines I posted above. I just need a really solid close reading on just about every aspect you're willing to take the time to critique. If you want to put comments in the text in a different color font, or use Word comment feature, or something else, that's fine. Anything would be helpful.

I know it has some rough spots, some thin area that need buffing up, spots where the style is sparse, and still others where the language is probably overwrought when I got carried away. Just point out anything that catches your attention.

And if anyone else is willing to read and will have the time over the next couple weeks, please feel free to volunteer. I appreciate it.

Thanks! And hooray!

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advice for robots
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Sure. Send it my way. I'm still more than willing to go through it for you. Hopefully my reading will be of some help. Congratulations on finishing up the draft!
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Lyrhawn
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Sent. Thank you!

This is the part where people can start saying, "Weird, I always thought that Lyrhawn guy was pretty well-spoken, but this is just a pile of crap."

[Smile]

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advice for robots
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Received. I'll get to work!
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Blayne Bradley
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Please also resend it to me as well.
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Samprimary
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Lyrhawn: While I really enjoyed the overall premise of your short novella, "Doom: Repercussions of Evil" I have to say I feel it is too short to qualify for a nano project. While there was a good enough introduction for the tragic protagonist John Stalvern much of the resolution is hazy and unclear and it is too vague to really be compelling in terms of outlying Stalvern's fall. How did Cernel Joson know what had happened to Stalvern? Is Cernel a name or a rank? How does a radio 'crackered?'

Still, B+

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Geraine
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
I'm pleased to announce that after several long delays, I've finally finished a complete first draft of my novel. What was originally planned as a 70,000 word book topped out at 109,382 words. I'm sure editing will cull a lot of the fat from that, but we'll see.

So, AFR and Bella Bee, if your offer to read is still good, I'd love to send this draft to you with the same guidelines I posted above. I just need a really solid close reading on just about every aspect you're willing to take the time to critique. If you want to put comments in the text in a different color font, or use Word comment feature, or something else, that's fine. Anything would be helpful.

I know it has some rough spots, some thin area that need buffing up, spots where the style is sparse, and still others where the language is probably overwrought when I got carried away. Just point out anything that catches your attention.

And if anyone else is willing to read and will have the time over the next couple weeks, please feel free to volunteer. I appreciate it.

Thanks! And hooray!

I will admit that I'm a sucker for some YA novels.... Too many Goosebumps books as a child.

I would like to give it a read if you don't mind. I'll throw it on my Kindle and go to town [Smile]

If you would like my email is my Hatrack username at gmail.

Since my in-laws are here in the country visiting and I don't speak Albanian, I find myself with quite a bit of free time right now.

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T:man
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After this week I will have tons of free time. I'd love to look over your work. I can't promise top-tier criticism, but I can always write my thoughts.
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Bella Bee
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Absolutely, send it over, I'd love to read it - and I'll try to give whatever feedback I can in as much detail as possible.

I have two crazy weeks ahead of me at work, but then hopefully over the holidays and into January I'll have a lot more time.

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Kwea
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You could always ask Icarus for input. He and his wife Cor have won several major awards down here, and are currently shopping completed books with the help of their agents. They aren't published, yet, but they are as close to it as you can be without actually publishing something...


About the differences in processes, anyway. I am not sure they have time to proofread or anything that time consuming, as they are both teachers as well as promising writers. But I bet he would have some ideas in general. [Big Grin]

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Lyrhawn
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Sent to Bella Bee, Geraine and Blayne. Let me know if anyone wants a file type different from a PDF.

T:Man is up next.

Kwea - Yeah, I thought about pestering Scott R as well, since I thought he had some actual publication experience. But I'm a combination of apprehensive of asking people that much better than me, for fear of devastating rejection, and don't want to bug too many people I know I really busy. Maybe after I get some initial feedback so I can fix the big stuff, so he doesn't have to wade through so much crap?

I don't mind pestering all of you. [Smile]

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Papa Moose
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I'm technically published, but not in such a way that it renders unto me any special ability or skill in critique. I can't promise I'll be able to come up with the time, but since it would cost you nothing to e-mail it to me and since I'm willing to try to come up with the time, you can send it to me if you like. My screenname, with a period between the words, at gmail. Or my janitor account here is still active.
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Lyrhawn
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Sent to T:Man and Papa Moose as PDF.

I don't expect anyone to be an expert, and frankly maybe it's better if you aren't. It's written for regular readers, so getting realistic feedback from people who would hypothetically read it is fantastic for the moment. Any thoughts you might have, whether I agree with them or not, will be helpful.

For anyone who is pressed for time, if you want to read a couple chapters at a time and send me your thoughts, it might prove easier for both of us. That way I can start cracking away at the first few chapters, and you won't feel the pressure to complete the whole thing quickly. But whatever works best for each of you is fine with me.

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Lyrhawn
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I should also ask if anyone wants me to reformat it to something more readable?

It's currently in single spaced Times New Roman 12 point font.

If something else would be easier to read for those I went it to in PDF form, or for the sake of commenting, let me know and I'll change it.

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Stone_Wolf_
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Congrats bro!
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brojack17
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I'd love to take a look. My e-mail is my handle at hotmail.

Thanks. I'm looking forward to it.

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Dr Strangelove
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If you want, I could take a look at it. Fiction writing isn't technically my thing, but like everyone else here, I can claim the qualification of having read a lot [Smile] . And it gives me another excellent way to procrastinate writing my dissertation. I think you have my email, but let me know if not.
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Lyrhawn
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I'm not sure what I did with your email. I think I had it saved on my old gmail account, but I lost that after I graduated. Can you either make it known here, or email me at "a h hobart at gmail"? No spaces between the words and letters.
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brojack17
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I got it. Thanks. I'll pull it down to the ipad and start reading.
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Lyrhawn
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If I've missed anyone who wants a copy, let me know.

Otherwise, if anyone would like to throw out random comments, with appropriate spoiler alerts, I'd love to see a discussion start here. Or you can feel free to email me comments however you see fit.

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Miro
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Not sure how I've missed this thread up until now. Lyrhawn, I'd love to read your draft. Could you send it as anything but a pdf? Then I can convert to an ebook more easily.

I just realized this is my second post all year. Wow.

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Lyrhawn
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Sent you a copy Miro. I'm honored to bring you out of pseudo retirement. [Smile] I hope you enjoy it. Feel free to post comments here or email me when you get to reading it. No rush. I've got editing in the back of my mind, but I'm not going to touch it for at least a week, maybe more.

Now that I've finally finished, I feel like I need a good two week vacation to let it sit before I tackle it again.

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Lyrhawn
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Hey everyone.

Just wondering if anyone has managed to make any progress and how you're all doing with it. I know it's only been two weeks since I sent it out, so no pressure, just curious to see if anyone has some thoughts they'd like to share or anything. I've already had one person get all the way through it with some very helpful feedback.

I look forward to hearing from the rest of you.

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Bella Bee
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I'm enjoying it, but as I said before I don't have a lot of time until next week, so I've only got to chapter 4.

Hopefully this weekend or at some point next week I'll be able to start sending some feedback - as I say, I like it so far.

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Lyrhawn
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No pressure! You can read at your own pace with whatever time you have.

I'm just curious to see how people are making their way through it. [Smile]

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