Writing

Random Q & A

This week I’m frantically working on my third draft, and thus a little scatterbrained in the real world. Since I’m late posting—and don’t have time or focus for a coherent topic—today I’ll answer questions from Ann and kill two cockroaches with one shoe. Hi, Ann!  *waves*

Ann writes, “I like your title: The River’s Edge……this is your second draft, isn’t it? Do you still feel that another draft is necessary, and is it your intention to find an agent or submit it to a publisher? If I remember correctly, this isn’t the first novel that you’ve finished, is it? Although I don’t know if your first ever did the rounds…..”

Answers: I finished my rough second draft of TRE in mid-March, had three critique partners read it and offer feedback, and am now working on the third draft (which has so many changes, it might as well still be the second draft). My goal is to finish the third draft by mid-May, give it to my test-readers for their feedback, and then do a fourth draft in June. And yes, it will definitely need a fourth draft. I want to double-check all my details, revisit the site of the story, and get some professional advice about the jobs depicted in the novel. The fourth draft is also when I strive to make the language shine.

I do intend to query agents for TRE. I’ll hopefully start querying in July or August, depending on how busy this summer is. TRE is my second novel; the first was called EYES OF LIGHTNING. I queried for EOL in late 2008-early 2009. I received a few requests for partial manuscripts, but no takers for the full. By that point I was a little burnt out and needing a break from it, so I started a new novel—TRE. Since then I’ve learned a lot about why EOL couldn’t get an agent, and I hope to rewrite it some day to improve it (maybe even this autumn, depending on what happens with TRE).

Ann also writes, “I seem to  have reams of paper (even though computers were supposed to downsize all that paper usage!)….because I tend to print out chapters and stuff that I’ve typed in order to carry them around with me for editing and rethinks…..as well as that, I tend to ‘clip’ out of magazines and papers for ‘research’ purposes. The problem is, one runs out of filing space. How do you keep your writing room so neat?” [referring to the pictures I posted of my office].

Answers: Just so you know, I have an unfair advantage because I enjoy organizing. It’s like a fun hobby for me. I know, I’m a nerd. But concerning your reams of paper, I would only keep them for as long as you need them. For example, print off a chapter for editing purposes, make the edits on the computer (backing it up in multiple places), then throw away the paper. If there’s something you can’t bear to part with, or you think you’ll need it someday—like the magazine articles—set up a system that works for you (drawers, shelves, boxes, etc). Here are some pics of my office that may give you some ideas.

I allow myself two trays of messiness. The top tray is stuff I need to take care of ASAP. The bottom tray is semi-important stuff that I haven’t decided what to do with yet.

I keep all my writing books on the top shelf. The books lying horizontal are ones I’m currently reading/using/needing easy access to.  If you want to collect similar objects in one spot, I suggest a decorative box which doubles as organization and decorating, LOL.

This is the filing cabinet drawer devoted to my writing stuff. It has all my past journals and notebooks. The blue binder in the back contains all the clippings, etc, associated with my first novel. The folders toward the front are associated with current writing projects. I try to keep similar things grouped in one folder or notebook.

My office also has a closet (not pictured), and in there I have a stack of magazines and a plastic tub full of files—stuff I’ll probably never use, but I’m keeping just in case!  Once a year or so I try to go through all my stuff and throw out what I don’t need anymore.

Well, back to my third draft so I can stick to that schedule. Now that I’ve made it public, I have people to hold me accountable! But if anyone (including Ann!) has any other questions, just stick them in the comments and I’ll get to them when I can. Enjoy the last week of April!

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