N is for Novel – Week 4

June 25, 2014 § Leave a comment

More puzzle stuff plus a quick trip involving chocolate and a walk on my favorite bluff past some very literary trees.

N is for Novel

N is for Novel

P is for Pierr

P is for Pierr…and Perseverance

TIP:  Your Muse is everywhere you are.   xo Pierr




Novel Puzzle – Week 3

June 18, 2014 § Leave a comment

Now through week 3 of revision, I can admit, for the sake of accomplishment, I’ve been typing up easy chapter revisions, leaving the not-sure-yets for a bit later. But what I’m discovering is the more I go on ahead, the more the pieces that don’t quite fit, keep showing up. Everywhere.

putting it all together is like working a puzzle - but you get to make all the pieces

putting a novel all together is like working a puzzle – while you make the pieces

My challenge at the moment is to remove pieces I really like, that don’t fit too well anymore. Then to make new pieces, that do. I get afraid the whole thing’s going to fall apart – the plot is driven by phantom wheels or something.

check out the NEW pack of 500 !!

check out the NEW pack of 500 !!

Office supplies to the rescue. Everything’s in writing, hard copies as well as disk, so taking this apart just shouldn’t be a problem. I shall PIERRsevere. Heather Sellers (in her novel-writing-how-to book, Page After Page) suggests making lists of possibilities when stuck, our frontal lobe really likes this sort of thing (mine especially). So I’m off to make lists now. Week 4 will be fun. I have a Writer’s Faith – and tags!

more and more chapters to fix...

150 pages of the Novel after Week 3 of revision = more and more chapters to fix…

TIP: Use all the colors.      xo Pierr

Dodging Fear – Week 2

June 11, 2014 § 2 Comments

scared bunny in full camo -  ready to run

Scared bunny – in full camo – ready to run

Nothing to fear but fear itself, right? Yesterday I spent “very involved” in something else completely and didn’t even look at the novel revision project. First day I’ve done that since March (when I had 5 days of blocked panic, looking like bunny above, unable to move). But I’m not blocked. Just scared. I’ve been summoned for Jury Duty and this morning, I broke a rib. Ha! Guess what you can still do with a broken rib? Write.

So I made a list of my fears. Only one had to do with the novel. All the rest were ‘what if’s’ based on outside forces in the future which I have no control over.

TIP: The present moment is where it’s at.

I’m now into a case of one step forward and four or five steps back, which doesn’t surprise me, it’s just slow going. When you tweak something ahead, you have to go back and make sure everything leading up to the tweak is still true, all details match, make sense. This part has me confused a lot. When I can’t think at all, I stop and reread from page 1 – out loud, to myself…tagging page edges with note-t0-self on pale yellow stick-its (YAY office supplies).

yellow = like; fuchsia = needs work; green = yes it needs intense focus so keep going!!

Yellow = love it; Fuchsia = stay in chair; Green = yes you really need to focus so keep going!!

Here’s the first 100 pages of revision of this next draft. I’m typing it up in Scriveners so it’ll be easy to ‘compile’ and send off somewhere eventually through cyberspace (and it has this really cool virtual cork board with life-like index cards and push-pins = JOY).

My color psychology is this: Yellow is a given for every chapter – I know in my bones that eventually I’ll love them all – so I give every chapter a yellow tag right away; Fuchsia & Green tags are actually on the same chapters for notice and encouragement – Fuchsia means Fix-it! Green means Go! and together they mean “Keep going! You’re doing it!” My goal is to show you a notebook full of nothing but yellow tags. So see?–I’m being realistic and positive about the whole thing. Plus I love the act of pulling away one of those tags.


TIP: Remember to breathe.        xo Pierr


New Draft – Week 1

June 3, 2014 § 7 Comments

notes I took of critique on the 60 chapters I read to the Tucson 3

notes I took of critique on the 60 chapters I read to the Tucson 3

So now that I’m home again, back at my computer, here’s what I’ve been doing this first week.

Going through the notes I took of the critiquing of 60 chapters (they’re short, 2-6 pages each) I read to my writing pals in Tucson. Starting with Chapter 1, Page 1, I’m rereading out loud (to myself) and tweaking/revising according to comments on these pages you see in the photo. As I go, as I accomplish–and I always have to have some way to chart my progress, some teensy reward for each baby step–I color in the circled chapter number with orange highlighter pen.

There are a couple big questions in the plot I don’t know how to answer yet, but I’m not willing to spend time right now, this early, pondering them. My plan is to keep going with the revision of this next draft till I’m at the last page again. Maybe along the way these questions will be answered, but I suspect I’m going to have to spend time brainstorming possibilities for them on paper, which will be fun, too.

I like to write by hand, with any real paper available (yay graph paper!) anywhere (in my car, waiting for the ferry…on the ferry, at the library, but mostly home here in my apartment), with a favorite real pen (see photo below… thanks, Tam! for the birthday supply). Then type them into my desktop, editing and expanding as I go. Next I read the pages out loud to myself over and over, tweaking this and that till I like the sounds of it. This takes me hours. Feels like minutes.

Writing instrument of choice: Precise V5 Rolling Ball black ...thanks, TAM!!

Writing instrument of choice: Precise V5 Rolling Ball black …thanks, TAM!!

If I stumble as I read aloud I go back and figure out a way to smooth the voice; use different words, a different order. Sometimes they sound like they should make perfect sense, but they don’t, and I might miss that totally, which is why having reader pals is so important to the process of finishing.

I’m at Chapter 14 today. Actually it was 13 but it needed to be sliced in two. Not because it was too long. It was a dramatic decision.

I’ve been reading the last book- Dreams of Gods & Monsters -in the Laini Taylor fantasy trilogy, Daughter of Smoke & Bone. Talk about dramatic pacing. Wow! I’m a very slow reader (each of these books 500-600 pages), and many fantasy books I can’t handle because it’s hard for me to remember all the characters, let alone pronounce their names. But these three have made me a speed reader by comparison. How does she do it? She’s a master, that’s how. How did she get that way? Lots and lots of love for + years and years in practice of, her writing craft. Brava!!  xo Pierr

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