As writers, we know the basic process for writing a novel. Get idea –> Outline idea –> Dump a bunch of words into a document –> Revise those words until they shine –> Words now form a complete novel. But what you actually just did is complete the five processes of Project Management: Initiation , Planning, Executing, Monitoring & Controlling, Project Close.
That’s right. Writing a novel is essentially a project. The deliverable at the end is the final draft. Over the next few weeks I’m going to talk about how applying traditional Project Management practices to the process of writing a novel can not only greatly increase your productivity, but also the quality of your output. I know a lot of writers are pantsers, but I am a HUGE planner, not just with outlining but with creating a schedule, identifying risks associated with the project (these can be anything from time constraints on writing to market risks, such as working on a concept in a dead genre), etc.
For today’s post I’ll just give a brief overview of each of the five processes and what you’ll expect to do in them over the course of the next few weeks. Consider this a training course in prep for writing a novel, just in time for NaNoWriMo!
The pre-planning phase. It’s where you define the basic characteristics of the project. For example, this might be where figure out the basic premise and decide it’s worth pursuing. Part of the initiation phase is creating a “Business Case” which might look more like a pitch blurb you send to your critique partners to see if they like the idea.
Planning is where you do all the upfront work for your project. You gather the requirements here (aka research), you define the stakeholders (your beta readers), you outline, you create a schedule breaking up the work into smaller “batches” (aka scenes). You define the milestones (aka you want to send your agent the first 3 chapters by x date, for example). Here you identify the risks associated with your project (this might include similar titles already published or a certain structure that may be difficult to write, etc). We’ll talk about this in more detail later.
Here is where you put your plan to work. Quite simply, here is where you get the stuff out of your head and put it to paper.
4. MONITORING AND CONTROLLING:
In Project Management, this is where you continue to oversee the project as a whole and make sure it’s running smoothly. Here is where you Manage Stakeholder Engagement (aka sending to your CPs) Control Quality Assurance (revising based on feedback). Scope Verification (making sure you don’t go over word count or have plot holes). Etc.
This is where you declare your draft is done and either send it to your agent, editor, or start querying! You would also create a Lessons Learned document so you can learn from your mistakes for the next novel.
So over the course of this blog series, I’ll go through each Phase of Project Management and show you how to apply it to your own novel writing process to increase your success!*Side note, I am a Project Manager at my day job and I’ve been trained in the Prince2 in the UK as well as the PMI in the US. In other words, I know my stuff!
Hi future mentees! Just a few months ago, back in April, I was in your position entering contests to try to help me get a new agent. I found those contests so valuable that when I signed with an agent a month later, I wanted to “pay it forward” and help other writers get where they need to be. Now only a few months later, I’ve signed with the amazing Jim McCarthy at DGLM for a YA sci-fi. It’s been a whirlwind and I intend to make the same whirlwind happen for you too!
For purposes of this contest, I’ll be mentoring Adult and NA only. Don’t worry, I’m an avid reader in both genres and I have both an NA and Adult manuscript in varying stages of revision.
Here’s all the reasons why you want to pick me:
I work in digital publishing in NYC at a well-known publisher, so I know the ins and outs of the publishing world and how to take a manuscript from shitty first draft to so-good-even-commas-don’t-need-editing.
Prior to working in publishing, I spent 8 years in the TV industry as a computer animator. It was often my job to come up with commercial concepts and write pitch treatments. I am excellent at writing pitch letters. My own queries had a nearly 95% request rate each time I queried. I’ve also critiqued tons of queries for writer friends and EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM went on to get an agent. This is totally because of me (okay, maybe it’s because their books were awesome as well)! Anyway, I know how to take a query from confusing/shitty to make it sparkle in a way that forces an agent to sit up and pay attention.
I am a very editorial when it comes to critiques. I’ll give you a big picture edit letter as well as line edits. I make a lot of comments. If something isn’t working for me, I explain why it isn’t working and offer suggestions on how to fix it when possible. I give compliments when appropriate as well but I don’t sugar coat. My goal is to help you make your book as good as it can be, and therefore lying to you to stroke your ego will not do you any favors.
I’ve had not one but TWO books dedicated to me by authors I’ve critiqued. That’s how valuable they found my edits!
I love to brainstorm and would be happy to discuss revisions with you. Sometimes talking it out and bouncing ideas off someone else is the best way to choose the right direction, not the wrong one.
In other words, here is my wish list!
- I especially love when genre fiction is combined with literary writing. Lush descriptions, gorgeous sentences, but also witty banter to round it all out. I’m a sucker for a great one-liner.
- I love bad boys who choose to turn good (Damon Salvatore, Spike, Logan Echolls, for example).
- I want to root for the protagonist and love interest to get together, but the romance should not be the main plot. It can be as subtle as a thread weaved throughout or a fully fledged subplot.
Sci-fi is my first love and I am eager to find the next great one! I’m looking for stuff that’s more like ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND, INCEPTION, THE HOST, ORPHAN BLACK, IN TIME, etc and less STAR WARS, BLADE RUNNER, JURASSIC PARK, AVATAR. So basically, no interplanetary wars but yes to mind fucks! I prefer character-driven over plot-driven. Contemporary sci-fi or futuristic, both are a go. I’d love to find something with a really cool concept that hasn’t been done before. I love books about technology that can do cool new things. Would love something in the vein of EXTANT (or in a similar vein, CONTACT by Carl Sagan).
Give me great relationships on top of the sci-fi elements, like Rose and Ten on Doctor Who, or even Sarah and her clone sisters on Orphan Black.
Anything goes really for me in sci-fi though virtual reality and aliens invasions aren’t really my cup of tea (but I loved the unique spin on extraterrestrials that THESE BROKEN STARS had). I’d prefer to stay away from books involving mind-uploading since my YA sci-fi tackles that and I view it as a conflict of interest.
Retellings that fall under this category are welcome.
Adult Magical Realism
I am a big sucker for magical realism, something grounded in reality but with a slight magical twist. This can range from the contemporary fun type of magical realism (13 GOING ON 30, GROUNDHOG’S DAY) to the serious and beautiful (BENJAMIN BUTTON, ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE, LANDLINE by Rainbow Rowell, THE RETURNED by Jason Mott, LIFE AFTER LIFE by Kate Atkins, IMAGINARY GIRLS by Nova Ren Suma).
I’d love to find something that plays with novel structure or something really quirky. A voice that pops off the page will get you far with me. Wacky plots too. I’d prefer stories that are more grounded in contemporary than magic, with the magic just being the catalyst but not the plot driver (the above are all examples of this).
Retellings that fall under this category are welcome/
College-set Contemporary NA:
I’m interested in a romance set in college with a unique, high-concept hook. I want to be swept up in the story and root for the protagonist and love interest to get together. But I prefer some other plot or subplot that also drives the story besides the will-they-or-won’t-they.
Voicey is best, as is 1st person POV (but it can be dual). I love books involving the arts. I’m not that into sports plots. I am interested in stories involving college Greek life (fraternities and sororities). I want to drool over your sexy love interest, but sexy can come from charisma OR brains. Nerdy love interests are hot too! I recently loved FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell, and for an oldie but goodie (before NA was even a thing), I love I AM CHARLOTTE SIMMONS by Tom Wolfe. Light contemp NA is great. NA doesn’t have to be all about sex.
Unfortunately, since the NA market thrives mostly on contemp, I will focus on that, but I love a good sci-fi, so if you wow me with one, I’m interested! Retellings are welcome as long as they are contemp but please no Pride and Prejudice.
Exceptions to the Above
If you have a mind fuck of a book that’s outside the above categories, GONE GIRL, for example, or S by JJ Abrams and Doug Dorst, I might be the girl for you! I’m a big fan of Chuck Palahniuk-type books as well. FIGHT CLUB is one of my all-time faves (as well as his earlier works, SURVIVOR and INVISIBLE MONSTERS). I want something that breaks all the rules of the genre in a smart and unexpected way. Something that’s never been done before. Something that will make be sit up and go WOW. Again, Adult or NA only.
I love a good mystery so keep me in mind for those!
THINGS I DO NOT WANT:
- High Fantasy or Urban Fantasy (I might be willing to look at Contemp Fantasy as long as it’s not too heavy on the fantasy-part).
- Historical fiction other than a retelling
- Gory violence
- Religious themes
- Erotica or something that compares to “Fifty Shades of Gray”
- Contemporary that focuses only on marital problems
- Books involving mind-uploading (due to a conflict of interest in my YA sci-fi).
Please go to Brenda Drake’s blog for instructions on how to submit to me. Personalized queries aren’t allowed this year, but if you are interested in me, please shout out via twitter, the comments, or my email!
FOREIGN EXCHANGE Cover Reveal and ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER Giveaway!
Here are a few of Denise’s thoughts on Foreign Exchange and its cover…
I’m so incredibly excited to share my cover of Foreign Exchange with you! This book holds a very special place in my heart. I wrote it during a very difficult year of my life, and the characters and their stories were a real bright spot for me.
Because this book is so important to me, I’m giving away something VERY important to me to go along with this cover reveal. I was fortunate enough to receive an early copy of the highly-anticipated Isla and the Happily Ever After by one of my all-time favorite authors, Stephanie Perkins. ISLA and Foreign Exchange are both romances with swoon-worthy boys, and they’re both set partially in Europe. So I want one lucky person to receive my advanced copy of ISLA in to get you excited for Foreign Exchange!
Read on, check out my cover, and read the first chapter of Foreign Exchange below. It’ll all help you in earning extra entries to win my copy of Isla and the Happily Ever After!
And here is the beautiful cover…
Jamie Monroe has always played it safe. That is, until her live-for-the-moment best friend, Tristan, jets off to Italy on a student exchange program. Left alone with her part-time mother and her disabled brother, Jamie discovers that she is quite capable of taking her own risks, starting with her best friend’s hotter-than-hot older brother, Sawyer. Sawyer and Tristan have been neighbors for years, but as Jamie grows closer to the family she thought she knew, she discovers some pretty big secrets.
As she sinks deeper into their web of pretense, she suspects that her best friend may not be on a safe exchange program at all. Jamie sets off to Europe on a class trip with plans to meet up with Tristan, but when Tristan stops all communication, suddenly no one seems trustworthy, least of all the one person she was starting to trust—Sawyer.
“Foreign Exchange is a fresh contemporary YA that will keep readers compulsively turning pages until the very end. Combining international intrigue with a steamy forbidden romance makes for a can’t miss read.”
- Eileen Cook Author of Year of Mistaken Discoveries.
“A pitch perfect voice and delicious chemistry kept me turning those pages!”
- Tara Kelly, author of Amplified and Encore
“Foreign Exchange is heart pounding and suspenseful…the teenage dream of escaping the boredom of suburbia by travelling Europe and spending quality time with a hot guy shifts into a dangerous nightmare.”
- D.R. Graham, author of Rank and the upcoming Noir et Bleu MC series.
One of the entries in the Rafflecopter below will ask you a question from the above chapter!
This contest is open internationally!
Don’t forget…this copy of ISLA could be yours…
* Note – If you cannot access the Rafflecopter Widget through this blog, access it HERE.
The last few weeks have been pretty insanely awesome for me, both from a writing-standpoint and a day job standpoint. I’ve tweeted about most of this news, but I haven’t posted it here yet. So, here are some fun newsy updates from me.
1. I have a new agent!
A few weeks ago I signed with Jim McCarthy of Dystel and Goderich! I’m super excited to be working with him. I love his revision ideas for my YA sci-fi and I can’t wait to get started on revisions.
The query process ended up being a bit untraditional for me and happened relatively fast (basically about a month from first query to offer). I only sent 5 unsolicited queries (Jim was one of them) though I had roughly 15 full or partial requests from contests (I participated in #PITMAD, #RTSLAP, The Writer’s Voice, and Nest Pitch). I ended up with two offers of rep from two awesome agents (and all of this happened while at BEA!). Yay for a new agent!
2. I’m going to be a Pitch Wars mentor!
I’m ridiculously excited about this and I can’t wait to pay it forward since I had such a great time entering contests last month. More info about this in the next few weeks.
3.Day job funtimes!
I got a promotion at work! I’m now officially a Project Manager instead of an Associate Project Manager. Woohoo!
Woohoo! June has been very kind to me so far!
This post was one of my most popular last year, and with BEA upon us again next week, I thought I’d repost it. But with some new additions! The additions will be written in blue.
For a first time attendee, BEA (Book Expo America) can be overwhelming. This will be my sixth year attending the conference and over the past few years, I’ve developed a list of tips for surviving and enjoying BEA. (Please note I’m attending via my day job, so I’ll be wearing my professional Digital Publisher hat as well as my Book Lover hat.)
1. Make a schedule.
Anyone who has gone with me to BEA in the past knows how much I love schedules. I include every possible thing I want to see–whether it’s an autographing session, a conference session, or a galley giveaway. I also include stuff I’m not interested in myself but I know my friends might be. I always carry extra copies because there’s always someone who never thought to bring a schedule. And yes, I schedule lunch too. (More on that in a bit.)
Print separate schedules for each day to limit what you need to carry. I usually leave the follow days’ schedules in my suitcase.
2. Don’t get to the Javits on time.
Get there either really early so you’re first in line (like 7:30/8) or get there late so you miss the line entirely. Arriving on time means you’ll be stuck on a ridiculously long line.
If you’re going with friends, designate someone each morning to be the “place holder.” They arrive early and hold spots for others. Please limit this to only 2-3 people though and make sure you let the people behind you on line know you have others joining you. People may see this as frowned upon, but I guarantee everyone on line is doing it.
3. Get coffee before you get to the Javits center.
Avoid the on site Starbucks! The line there is longer than any other autographing line in the entire conference!
I usually eat on my walk to the Javits (from Penn Station) or while waiting in line. Yay for multi-tasking!
4. Check a suitcase but carry a backpack plus tote bags.
Schedule in periodic drops to the suitcase to lighten your carrying load. I think checking a suitcase for the day is $3 and overnight is $10. I usually leave the suitcase overnight one night so I don’t have to lug it around to parties since I commute into the city from NJ.
Leave a bottle of water in your suitcase so you don’t have to carry it on the floor. Alternatively, bring an empty bottle of water and fill it up as necessary at the water fountains.
5. Eat lunch early or late.
The Javits is expensive (for non-NYC standards. If you’re from NYC, then the food there is reasonably priced!). And crowded. I suggest either eating lunch either at 11am or after 2pm. From 11:30-1:30, you won’t get a seat and you’ll spend an hour on line anyway. Alternatively, bring a power bar or a snack. There’s nothing around the Javits to eat at unless you walk several blocks away (or eat at the gross McDonald’s nearby).
The shortest line always seems to be the BBQ place, so get in the mood now!
6. Be selective.
Don’t take every galley you see just because you can. Don’t be greedy. Take only the ones you know you will read, leave the rest for others. The conference is mainly for librarians and booksellers, not readers (except on BookCon maybe).
Don’t forget the panels and conference sessions either. They are often informative and entertaining and well worth skipping a line to see.
7. Get to autographing lines early.
And I mean EARLY. I often lined up an hour before certain authors I knew would have long wait times. I have never seen an autographing line without a long wait. If you want a book, plan in advance for it.
While I suggested saving spots on the opening line above, savings spots in autographing lines is a no no. Don’t do it. Everyone who wants the book needs to wait in line the entire time.
8. Dress to your standard of comfort but look professional.
I’ve seen other BEA tips lists suggest wearing sneakers. I’m not going to suggest that. I’ve never worn sneakers to the convention, even two years ago when I attended at 9-months pregnant. Yes, you will be standing nearly all day. But that doesn’t mean you have to wear sneakers. Wear cute flats or sandals, something you can stand in all day. I always wear a dress. I never wear jeans.
I find Toms to be the best shoes to wear. They are cute but comfortable and look more professional than sneakers.
9. Carry business cards
They don’t have to be super fancy or graphic designy, but you will want something to hand out to all the people you meet. Otherwise how will they find you? After all, you should be networking. Which brings me to…
Write your twitter name on your badge so people know how to find you easily!
You’re among your kind at BEA: other book lovers! Start a conversation with the people next to you on line. You clearly have the same interests. I’ve made great friends at BEA that I’ve kept in touch with.
But don’t pitch agents or publishers. This is not the time or the place.
11. Avoid twitter.
Otherwise you’ll drain your phone battery. Plus, you want to be present at the conference, not with your nose to your phone all day. (We’d all prefer you with your nose to a book you picked up!)
You won’t find outlets at the Javits unless you have access to one of the lounges. I generally bring two phones, my personal one and my work blackberry, and I leave the blackberry turned off so when I need to call my husband to pick me up at the train later, I have a phone that actually works still.
12. Get a Taxi on 10th ave or 9th ave, not in front of the Javits
You will be waiting forever if you try to snag a taxi in front of the Javits, but if you just walk a block or two, you’ll have your pick of taxis.
Except during Taxi turn over time, generally around 4-5pm. The day time taxis are done for the day and the night time taxis don’t start yet. It’s harder to find a taxi during this time. Utilize the free buses the Javits provides. Last year I took one to the Marriott Marquis and then walked only three blocks to Port Authority instead of the bazillion blocks it would have been.
13. Don’t be afraid of the subway
Seriously, it won’t bite. It’s not that complicated to navigate with since most trains run straight up and down. Trust me, I take the subway every day to work and I’m still in one piece!
But the subway won’t help you if you need to go across town.
14. Enjoy the people as well as the books
My fave part of BEA is hanging out with my writing/book-loving friends who I don’t get to see the rest of the year. I always come back exhilarated about writing and reading thanks to our conversations and the general atmosphere of being in a place where everyone loves and appreciates books. Remember to have fun.
15. End the weekend with a pedicure.
Your feet will hurt. Treat yo’self!
REVERSE is an 80k YA Sci-fi in the vein of BIG BANG THEORY meets BENJAMIN BUTTON.
Normal after school jobs are overrated, so seventeen-year-old Arden Varga steals her classmates’ memories and sells them to other students. Who wouldn’t pay top dollar for a night as the homecoming queen? Arden’s making serious bank until someone from her school for science geniuses hacks her mind-uploading app and erases her memories’ greatest hits. Vivid flashbacks rip her out of the present and dump her into past mistakes she never wanted to relive. Those forgotten experiences all feature a boy named Sebastian Cuomo, a rival classmate who breaks into school to do homework and makes even quantum physics sound sexy. Unfortunately he can’t remember her either, but the past reveals they’ve been harboring a secret time manipulation project together…and a secret relationship.
As they team up to investigate how to stop the disruptive flashbacks, who carved out their minds, and what they mean to each other, the hacker uses their secret app to make time itself go backward. With the clock counting in the wrong direction and time keeping Arden in the past longer and longer, she must find the culprit before she’s trapped forever living life in reverse.
My work has finaled in the RWA “Get Your Stiletto In The Door” contest and the RWA North Texas’s “Great Expectations” contest. My short stories have appeared in various literary magazines such as ShatterColors Literary Review and The Hiss Quarterly. I studied creative writing at Syracuse University under Junot Diaz and Mary Gaitskill, and I now work at a well-known educational publisher in NYC where I oversee the creation of tablet apps, eBooks, and other digital products.
First 250 Words:
The problem with stealing other people’s memories is you start to lose the difference between what’s theirs and what’s yours. Luckily, I know how to exploit that—as long as the teachers don’t find out, anyway. Normal after-school jobs are overrated when you have a secret during-school-business.
I flip through a list of cataloged memory files on my mind-uploading app as a line of students snakes away from me, each one wanting to buy a different experience. Charlotte Marion, my partner in crime, doles out numbers as if the students are waiting in line at the deli. Once they receive a number, they disperse across the courtyard and mill about like strangers trying to act normal before they break out in a Flash Mob.
“I need the answers to the Organic Chem homework.” The first customer out of thirty lifts a tablet, revealing a mess of stylus-created scribbles on top of complicated math problems.
Charlotte holds out her palm, indicating ten bucks. The girl shifts her weight from foot to foot, skirt swishing around bare legs. Dark clouds swirl in the washed out sky, turning the mirrored building in front of us into a sheet of gray. Cold and clinical, more like an office building than a high school for science geniuses.
Charlotte nudges my shoulder until my lips pop open. “Number two!” I yell, tapping my stiletto on the concrete path.
The customer hands me the cash, and I get to work selling the girl someone else’s stolen memory.
Today is my sister’s wedding anniversary (and by typing this, hopefully I will actually remember to wish her a happy anniversary today) but it’s also Day 26 check-in!
I’d like to give away another prize from our huge prize arsenal today! Today’s winner is…
Daniel R. Davis!
Congratulations! Stop by our goal-setting post, and choose your prize from those still listed. Email Denise at d(at)denisejaden(dot)com with your choice and we’ll get it out to you as soon as possible.
And if you didn’t win, there are still LOTS of great prizes to be won, so keep checking in each day…
We’re in the final stretch, folks! Only a few days left to meet those goals. In keeping with the “S” theme, today’s topic is success. Specifically, success when you aren’t successful.
For those of you who reached your goals, you are awesome! And those of you who didn’t, you are also awesome! Because March Madness success does not necessarily mean completing what you set out to do. Every word you write toward your goal is progress and that progress is an achievement. I don’t know about you, but I count any achievements as a form of success. Without those, I’d have less words and more importantly, I’d be further from completing my goal than I am now.
Because, WIPsters, I will not complete my goal this month. I realize now it was too lofty to try to do an entire book overhaul in 31 days. I am likely going to end up 2/3 of the way done, which is great! I’m proud of that progress. Halfway through this month I realized I was going in the wrong direction and I had to backtrack a few chapters, so even though I dumped a lot of words and a lot of time, I needed to write those wrong ones to find the right ones.
So maybe, like me, you reached to far with your goals. Or life got in the way. Or you changed your mind or your heart. That’s okay. Because you still started your goal, which is just as important as finishing it.
How do you measure success if you are not successful at your original goal? Do you change your self-imposed deadline date once March is over or keep going as you are now?
And, of course, how did you do this week? I can’t wait to hear your progress!
Hello WIPsters! I can’t wait to hear about your progress this week. But first, I’d like to give away another prize from our huge prize arsenal today! Today’s winner is…
Congratulations, Jennifer! Stop by our goal-setting post, and choose your prize from those still listed. Email Denise at d(at)denisejaden(dot)com with your choice and we’ll get it out to you as soon as possible.
And if you didn’t win, there are still LOTS of great prizes to be won, so keep checking in each day…
Two weeks ago I discussed scheduling. Last week setbacks. Continuing with the “S” theme, today’s topic is SPRINTS. As in writing sprints.
Dear WIPsters, these are my savior. They encourage me to write when I’m too busy, too tired, too excited by a fun twitter conversation. They force me to focus. They hold me accountable.
So what are they exactly?
15 minute intervals of focused writing. No Internet. No television. No day job work. Strap that child in a high chair and ignore her. (Okay, maybe not that last one.) I user timeanddate.com/timer to set a 15 minute countdown clock.
But what fun would a sprint be without people to hold you accountable? The key for me is that two of my critique partners, Chandler Baker and Jen Hayley, are on gChat all day with one. Throughout the day, one of us will initiate a sprint. If it wasn’t me who initiated, then often it pushes me to get a bit of writing in when I otherwise wasn’t planning to. Plus we hold each other accountable by reporting our progress after each sprint.
I tend to be more productive in each 15-minute sprint than I am during a solid two hour block of writing. Therefore, if you’re having trouble making progress, I suggest you split up your writing into small increments throughout the day and see how it helps.
Do you write in large chunks or small chunks? Once per day or throughout? And how is everyone doing on your progress?
I finally made it past the chunk of chapters I was stuck on for a while and the next few chapters should be smooth sailing. Yay!
Hello lovely WIPsters! We’re not quite halfway there yet but almost. Last week I discussed using a revision schedule to break up your larger goal into bite-sized milestones. Did anyone try this method? If so, how did it go for you?
One thing I wanted to discuss today is setbacks. A setback can be of the time suck kind: your kid getting sick and needing attention when you normally write, unforeseen overtime at work, changed plans. Or it can be of the writing kind: realizing several chapters you just revised aren’t working and you need to rework them all over again with a new plot line, getting stuck on some aspect of your book like where to place a certain scene and trying it in several places results in a domino effect of changes, writing yourself into a corner, etc.
Almost all of the above happened to me last week. So I’m literally working on the same chapters I was last week but now they are newer chapters since I had to change the entire plot/setting/etc that happened in them. In my case, I was clinging too hard to the original straight contemporary of this version because I liked a particular sequence of events. But last Friday I had a lightbulb moment where I realized keeping that sequence made no sense in context anymore. It had to go but since I’d weaved the new plot around it, I had to unweave it all and put it back together again. In a different order this time.
So my schedule is blown but that’s okay. Because progress is progress!
But I’m curious. How do you handle a major change to your draft in the middle of drafting? Do you go back and fix it right away? Or do you make a note of what needs to change and tackle it in the next pass? Or another method entirely?
Sound off in the comments! And don’t forget to check in about your progress.
Head to Denise’s blog tomorrow for Thursday’s check-in!
Hello fellow March Madness-ers!
How are you doing on your goals? So far I’ve been super productive and I’ve hit my tasks exactly as scheduled. “Scheduled?” you ask. Well, more on that in a moment. But first I’d like to give away another prize from our huge prize arsenal today!
Today’s winner is…
Deana J. Holmes!
Congratulations, Deana! Stop by our goal-setting post, and choose your prize from those still listed. Email Denise at d(at)denisejaden(dot)com with your choice and we’ll get it out to you as soon as possible.
And if you didn’t win, there are still LOTS of great prizes to be won, so keep checking in each day…
Now, I’d like to talk about goal setting. Specifically, setting small bite-sized goals that are not only realistic but achievable. In my day job as a Project Manager (in digital publishing), one of my main tasks is to create milestone schedules that break down large projects into smaller “deliverables.” This way, each person working on the project knows what they need to get done in a particular week. I usually divide projects into batches that each have their own due date, so if a smaller task falls behind, it’s okay as long as the batch due date remains the same.
I’ve started to apply this same scheduling philosophy to my writing and revisions and since then my productivity has greatly improved. This is an example of a schedule I’ve created to help me track revision tasks. This is a blank version:
|Chapter #||Task Name||Type of Revision||Duration||Due Date|
|Batch 1 (Chapters #-#)|
Here is an example of how I’m using the schedule for my revision. I’ve made it generic so as to remove any details about the book, but basically I am turning a straight Contemporary novel into Magical Realism and adding a mystery element with clues and a search.
|Chapter #||Task Name||Type of Revision||Duration||Due Date|
|Batch 1 (Chapters 1-5)|
|1||Add in info about what Protagonist wants||Line edits||1 day||3/1/2014|
|1||Add: Antagonist gives Protagonist a key||Line edits||1 day||3/1/2014|
|2||Delete scene with brother||Delete scene||1 day||3/1/2014|
|2||Protagonist finds the first clue||New Chapter||2 days||3/3/2014|
|3||Remove info relating to Old Subplot||Line edits||1 day||3/4/2014|
|4||After Protagonist gets to class, add in brief scene where she searches for Antagonist online. Love Interest catches her||Addition to scene||1 day||3/5/2014|
|4||Reset location of date with Love Interest||Line edits||1 day||3/5/2014|
|5||Protagonist and Love Interest find second clue.||New Chapter||2 days||3/7/2014|
I’m proud to say I’ve actually ahead of schedule at the moment. I’ve already completed all tasks for Batch 1, which gives me more buffer room in Batch 2.
And good news, March Madness-ers! I’m putting up a blank Excel version of this schedule (with an example tab) for you to download and use yourself!
The Excel version looks a little different:
It includes additional tabs to log new issues that need to be fixed in a 2nd revision pass. For example, in chapter 5 I realized I needed to change the timeline from a Wednesday night to a Friday night, so I wrote down “Fix timeline consistency in chapters 1-4″ to tackle in pass 2 so I can keep forward momentum of the revisions without constantly backtracking.
Now how did you do today?
And don’t forget to stop by Denise’s blog for Thursday’s check in: http://denisejaden.blogspot.