What’s Happening in Your Neck of the Woods?

My kids have one week of school left! I’m excited because I don’t have to get up quite as early, but to be honest, I’m not looking forward to 8 extra hours of bickering. I’ll probably rent a camper and park it in the backyard. Not sure if I’ll put them or myself in it.

I’m working on revising the 2nd novel I wrote.  I was ecstatic about this book when I wrote it and thought I knew it all without ever reading a craft book (this is where you seasoned writers shout, “Amen!” 

Can I just say…for the love! It’s taking me longer to revise than my other mss because it’s pitiful. PIT-EEE-FULL!

But salvageable.

 The plot is solid. I’m pretty good at plot, I’ve yet to be asked to revise one (I have been asked to revise numerous other things.) 

For example, every key scene for my MCs were in a bed. LOL Nothing going on that shouldn’t, it’s just they ended up in the same room for one reason or another. As I was reading, I was like WTC? And the writing? First I had to go back and nail down whose POV it was going to be in per scene/chapter, because I’m a recovering headhopper (Thanks, Nora. I blame you.) Then I had to print it again and cut scenes. Some were a joke, some were great but not necessary and it was over 100K…almost 120K! I knocked out at least 5,000K just by removing “just”. I might be exaggerating. Probably not.

Then I had to amp up the tension between the two. My main character was too perfect and I wanted him that way when I wrote him, you know before reading a craft book or studying a novel. That meant completely re-writing the first several chapters since their motivations changed. Well his did. Hers is still the same.

Then I had to cut backstory. That knocked most of my word count down. I’m at 95K now (I’ll keep it no more than 100K) I’m still hunting for the right place to enter what I think is important, but haven’t found it, so I just highlight places it might work for when I print it, yet again. I’m almost done with getting it up to par for the kind of first draft I write now…now that I have read craft books, written more, studied more novels and read writing blogs.

I’m not frustrated. It’s been irritating at times, but it’s also been a good laugh and fun to see how far I’ve come and where my strengths and WEAKNESSES lie. And I’ve enjoyed getting to know the characters again, better.

In fact, Julie Jarnagin @JulieJarnagin and I played a #badwriting game one day and tweeted some ridiculous lines we wrote. It was fun and it was a great stress reliever. If you’re interested, tweet some of yours and use the hashtag! 

Practice does make progress!

Oh! This Sunday is my 17th anniversary! I know…I look so much younger. I was a wee babe when I married. I kind of was. 19. So this year I’ve been with my husband longer than I’ve been single. We’ve been together 18 years. We’re probably just doing dinner and a movie, but that’s us. We’re simple. 

Looks like we’re getting a membership to the Country Club again this year. Here’s all the reasons I don’t belong. I wrote this last summer. Top 5 Reasons I Do Not Belong at the Country Club.

What’s going on in your neck of the woods? Summer plans? Anniversaries coming up? Any funny WIP stories?

19 thoughts on “What’s Happening in Your Neck of the Woods?

  1. Happy Anniversary! Wishing you many more happy years! Dinner and a movie sounds perfect. Enjoy!

    I'm revising. It's going good. I just had two major graduations, and I have a big family wedding coming up – including traveling. Gosh, I'm tired already…have a great weekend!

  2. Jessica – I can relate! In February I finished my first draft of the first novel – without reading a single craft book! Then I discovered the blogging world, ACFW and James Scott Bell and I realized there was a whole world out there that I didn't even know existed. It's been a crash course since then! As I go through my first re-write I am SHOCKED at how much I didn't know. My characters were too perfect, I had way too much backstory and I did a lot more telling than showing. It's been a lot of fun re-writing, now that I have a better handle on how to do it. 🙂

    In our neck of the woods (Minnesota) my sister is coming home from Colorado for a week with her brand new baby! Happy Friday.

  3. Happy Anniversary! 17 woot!

    Ramping up tension as I edit in these woods, too.

    And my kids still have 4 or 5 weeks of school left–cra-zy!

    Jam packed weekend w/ b-day parties, soccer, LIBRARY BOOK SALE, and other events. Go. Go. Go.
    ~ Wendy

  4. Happy Anniversary!!!! (I was married at 19 too…been married for 26 year now)

    Editing…sigh…not my favorite thing. I just got back from a writing retreat where I started a new story. Fun stuff! I'd like to do several writing retreats this summer. Not gonna happen, but I can dream. 🙂

  5. Happy Anniversary!

    I'm in the throes of editing my very first novel. Like you, the plot is good, but in my case oh-my-sainted-aunt-Jemimah the writing is deplorable. It is taking me about 4 hrs for every 5K words.

    Summer. Ah. As a homeschool mama, I'm SO ready for summer.

  6. Happy Anniversary, Jess! Hubby and I celebrate 18 on the 29th of this month 🙂 And I have…er…a few more years until I've been married longer than I've been single. Was 26, almost 27, when we got married.

    My kids have THREE weeks to go! I MAY survive. Looking forward to it being over – for the most part. Wanna SLOW DOWN!

    I'm taking FOREVER to get through my first novel WIP too. SOO much to fix. But i'm learning TONS and TONS from all the online classes and craft books and stuff I've been devouring – so it's all good.

    Tomorrow is CRAZY busy – so trying to take a deep breath today(which is only fairly busy).

  7. Happy anniversary!!!

    I loved listening to you talk about your WIP…especially what you said about "just." That's my go-to word, it seems. And in my first WIP, seriously, my characters were eating in EVERY scene. I think that says something slightly unhealthy about me… 🙂

    Tomorrow I head out on a mega road trip with my mom…we're going to have soooo much fun! Headed to the Blue Ridge writers conference. Can't wait!

  8. Lol. I loved our #badwriting tweets. So much fun! I'm thankful to have such a great #amediting partner in crime 🙂

    Can you email some of the scenes you cut to me? My WIP is way too short. If I take some of your book and add it to mine, they should both be about the right length. That could work, right? Okay, maybe not. I guess I'll get back to work.

  9. Aw, I loved this post…just hearing you chat. Can't wait to chat in person later this year!!! (I expect lots of hugging and giggles. And no JAWS or coffee.)

    The last few weeks have been crazy. Just lots going on and lots of migraines. Not as much revising as I'd like, but hopefully this weekend I'll git 'er done. Tonight we're babysitting our friends' baby and watching Downton Abbey. I might write a little too right when I get home.

    Tomorrow I've got a local writing group seminar thingy with Susan Meissner. So excited to learn from her (I love her stuff!). Then date night (dinner and Avengers!).

    Sunday we're gonna go to church and grill some stuff on our new grill…and swim! Yay! Oh, and I'll write too.

    Is that all TMI? I could have just told you I'm busy, but what fun is that?

    Happy weekend, friend!

  10. I was determined not to be a teenage bride. So we got married the day after I turned twenty.

    Good luck on your unwriting (cutting an oversized story down to size). I've been there. My giant baby was 150,000 words.

  11. I loved this, Jessica. Thanks for detailing your editing; makes me feel like I'm not alone! Editing is H-A-R-D! I'm about ready to start book #2, and the editing from book #1 has made me approach my pre-writing for book #2 totally differently. Keep it it, It's going to be awesome!!

  12. Happy Anniversary, Jessica! Mine and my husband's 10-year anniversary is today actually, and like you, I was a baby when I got married (20 years old). Our plans are simple, too…dinner and a movie tonight. Hope y'all enjoy your day, too!

  13. I need to get in on those #badwriting tweets! Especially in another week I'll supposedly be done my novel after doing this fast draft thing. Oiy, the revisions to come! LOL

    Happy anniversary!!

    Nothing really going on here. Kiddo has a birthday party, I need to finish planting my flowers, and my shower curtains are nasty, so I'll be taking care of that. exciting…

  14. Happy Anniversary, Jessica! You're not alone in rewrites. As of January, I had completed two manuscripts, and was very excited about pitching them to editors/agents. Four months and several writing craft books later… Rewriting. It's disheartening to realize I'm farther from the finish line than I thought, but also relieving to know the extra time will make the story so much better. 🙂

  15. You're so funny! I know what you mean about revising. I have a tendency to use the word "still" a lot! "She still stood by the still water waiting for him in stillness…still."


    Happy Anniversary!!

    I am revising tonight and relaxing with the fam, attending that writers group thingy with Lindsay tomorrow, then relaxing after church on Sunday.

  16. I am busier than busy, packing for the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. (I am teaching workshops themed to The Princess Bride Movie … oh, yeah, we'll be stormin' the castle!)
    Anyway, I still had to stop by and read your blog because, well, it always puts a smile on my face!
    My daughter and husband are going with me … so this was her last week of school –even though next week is!

  17. Happy Anniversary! You gave me a much needed laugh – and I feel your WIP pains! I just use JUST all the time:) And THAT…and every 1st draft I've ever written is at least 120K. I'm trying something new, my current WIP I'd like to keep simple and around 85K…yeah…we'll see about that.

  18. Jessie, I can't imagine that ANYTHING you would write would be that bad! Wordy, yes. Bad, no!

    They are having a "grand opening" of a new park here in our town today, and I promised Anna Marie we could go. I didn't promise we'd be there at 9 a.m. when it starts, but we'll be there at some point!

    (And – happy anniversary to you and TP! It's such a blessing to know your family!)

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