Monday, October 24, 2016

J'ai Vaincu le Livre!

An Update on Le Livre

Yay, I finished the typescript of le livre, The Last Generation!!

I got all of the story typed up and I feel great about my progress.  Right when I finished, I happily pulled up my favorite word counting website to check on my vocab and predicted reading level.

It was then I realized I had only written 9,000 words which is not quite the length of a novel.  In fact, it doesn't even fit into the category of a novella.  It's only one step away from being a short story, and apparently is called a novelletta.  I didn't even know such a thing existed!

Frankly I'm just happy the word "novel" is at the beginning of that word.

Image result for novel novella novelette

But anyway I realize I have to revise a ton.  I think the main thing my book needs is more character development.  As I was writing the first draft I was nervous that I would forget certain plot points I was coming up with on the fly, so I rushed ahead to those parts, often neglecting the character development parts.
But now I can rest easy knowing that no matter what happens, the book is safely on paper (well I haven't actually printed all of it, but it's safely in a Google Doc).  I can take my sweet time editing for character development and keeping things mysterious throughout.

The word counter didn't bring all bad news, however.  It revealed the story is still in the 9th-10th grade reading level which is perfect; exactly what I was going for.

Image result for 9th and 10th grade level books

I was actually surprised to find this out, because the beginning of the book is written so much better and with much more finesse.  Like I said, I rushed to get to plot points before I forgot them for the other parts of the book so not only did character development suffer, but my writing voice kinda got thrown to the wayside as I focused on word vomiting things before I forgot them.

I know am convinced that there is no need for NaNoWriMo for me this year.  I am having no trouble getting motivated to write and I hope to ride the momentum I'm feeling right now straight through the tedious editing and revising process.  I can do it!

Image result for editing meme

My goal throughout this editing and revising process is to turn my book into the perfect specimen.  I like to compare my book to a human body.  Right now, it's just skin and bones with not much to make it look nice.  I need to add the muscle of character development and stronger themes in the coming weeks, and finally cover it with a layer of fat that makes it transition smoother, but not enough to make the story overweight and boring.

Finally I need to dress it up all fancy with pretty vocabulary words and quotable sentences.  Yay!

All you writers out there...what tips do you have for character development?  What order do you edit and revise by?


  1. For character development: ask yourself, what drives this character? What would they feel in a given situation, and how would their actions show/contradict those feelings? What is one lie that they believe is true, about life, themselves, or others? Why do they believe that lie? What do they do in their free time, and does that match their personality? What events in their past shaped them into who they are today? Not all of that information necessarily has to make it into the story, but knowing those things will help you write them with more depth.

    For editing and revising: I sort of do mine all at once. I write down the general plot of my stories like a Wikipedia article, then write the novel chapter by chapter. I revise as I go, changing word choice, re-writing scenes if I'm not satisfied, etc. Then when I'm done I read it again and change what needs to be changed, adjust sentence structure, and re-evaluate the necessity of various scenes and characters. Since I do all that while I'm writing though, my final drafts are hardly changed from my first drafts, except it's spelled better. :)

    1. Wow, that's super helpful! I think I'm going to write a little biography about each of my main characters with those things you included so that I can keep things consistent and straight in my head. Thank you!!

      Hmm, interesting. How do you know when you're finally done editing and you have a final draft? I've been working on editing just the first chapter for awhile now, and I'm not sure if I can move onto the second. I want it to be perfect, but maybe that's not possible...!

  2. I'm a bit of an idiot and I edit as I go along, which slows me down to no end. But my biggest tip (inherited from my mom) is to read your work aloud. It will help you spot repeated words, awkward sentences, and also make it a little less tedious. If you don't already read aloud while you write, it will also provide a fresh take on it, and make it a little harder to overlook things because you already know exactly what you mean and how it should sound. And to top it all off, it's just kind of fun to hear it, with all the voices and fluctuations in speech just the way you want them.

    1. Oh that's a great idea! Thank you so much for the tip :)