So I started my formal revision last night of a new middle grade novel. It's actually not particularly new. I started this piece more than two years ago, but it's been floating around in my brain longer than that. It feels really good that it is finally in a semi-finished state.
It's been a jumble of scenes, then it was a jumble of scenes with a loose plot. Finally, it was a jumble of scenes in a novel writing application (YWriter by SpaceJock).
For a long time it was 21K words--not long enough for a novel, even for middle grade. But last spring, I signed up to attend Sarah Aronson's Novel Writing Academy at the NESCBWI conference and I needed to finish it. My personal goal was getting it to 30K. Short, but respectable Middle Grade length.
At the Novel Academy, we did some storyboarding. I'd like to say my story board was lovely and beautiful. It wasn't. But it did give me some ideas to strenghthen my plot--do it, if you haven't. Here is a great post on Story Boarding for novelists--http://cathyday.com/2011/11/27/storyboard-class-at-wci/
This summer, I did some more polishing and finally had it ready for a beta reader. Anna Staniszewski (of MY VERY UNFAIRY TALE LIFE fame) offered to read for me! (duh, YES!).
So when I say "formal revision," I mean basically diving into the notes Anna did for me. But, um, it looks like this little book has already had a lot of work, right? I wish I could say I was prolific and fast. But the reality is, this is a slow process, no matter how you slice it. Throw in some real life, a day job, volunteer commitments, and some other professional writing (I do some freelance nonfiction writing), and it's hard to find time for unfinished projects.
I'm hoping this little novel will be in my agent's hands sometime this fall. In the meantime, I've got to reread this Revision check list by Talia Vance to make sure I get it right.
Whenever I think of giving up, I think of one of Dori's quotes from Finding Nemo. "Just keep swimming."
In this case, I guess it's "Just keep revising."