Friday, October 18, 2013

Autumn Planning

For the last few weeks I've found myself offline much more than usual. I can't help it--where some people suffer from "spring fever" and the inability to stay indoors and concentrate when the first green buds appear on the trees, I have the exact opposite problem: "autumn fever." 

It's been that way all of my life, something to do with the turning leaves, cooler days, an Indian Summer wardrobe that pairs sweaters with cotton skirts, Halloween, Nanowrimo . . . my birthday . . . there's nothing about the season I don't love! 

And even though it's been a long, long time since my student days, I think autumn brings back a remnant of "back to school" determination and renewal to my psyche--all those great plans to accomplish by next semester! I recently read somewhere that deciding to become a writer is like signing up to do homework for the rest of your life. Too true--which is probably why I'm so interested in creating schedules, routines, and self-imposed deadlines; I don't want to mess up my assignments.

With that theme in mind, I've been busy getting ready for the writer's equivalent of term paper and doctoral thesis rolled into one:  revising my next novel. In this respect I've been a little bit like a squirrel hoarding autumn acorns for the winter. Do I have the right supplies? Have I done all my prep? I think so, starting with:

  • A complete first draft with a beginning, middle, and end.
  • First draft fully edited. (Four red pens hit the dust!) Areas that require new scenes and chapters all marked out for new writing.
  • Character names, dates, goals finalized.
  • To keep my characters and story events in order, I've created a "manuscript chart" listing my chapters.  This was important for me to remember both my timeline and to know exactly which characters appear in these chapters, and why. I've also included a section to remind myself why I even HAVE a particular chapter other than because it's so well written, LOL! I figured this last section could also be helpful for marketing and and editorial response, especially in the case of an editor requiring any kind of further rewriting.
So . . . I'm ready to go! Second draft, here I come. But first, I just have to take one more autumn walk with my journal-sketchbook in hand. These leaves are just too pretty to miss.  

Tip of the Day: What projects have you got planned for the winter? What "school supplies" do you need to purchase or make to ensure the work goes smoothly? In my case it was a bigger binder to hold all my revision notes, as well as some new magazine cut-out for those extra sections I need to write. It's good to have everything you need before you begin.

1 comment:

Sheri said...

Hope you had a terrific birthday, Valerie! And...looking forward to joining you in NaWriMo next, is it REALLY almost November!? I know what you mean about the lure of autumn...especially when you are basking in the wonderful warmth of Indian summer, as we are right now in the Sierra foothills. It is glorious...the colors, magnificent. I too am out walking and enjoying it every chance I get. Glad too to hear you are jumping into your second draft! I commend you on the fierceness of your discipline and dedication. Do hope it rubs off on me!