At the Women’s Fiction Festival 2013 — What happened today

Image, Matera, Women's Fiction Festival, Italy

The Sassi district in Matera, Italy

Well, it’s my second full day at the Women’s Fiction Festival in Matera, Italy, and it’s been very insightful. We’ve had some great panel discussions, including one on screenwriting tips for novelists, which was led by James Dalessandro, author of 1906 and who also happens to be a poet/screenwriter/director/producer. Jane Corry led a very in-depth and compelling workshop on how to better revise your novel. David Gaughran was also on hand for a very interesting presentation of self-publishing and what one needs to think about when embarking on a self-publishing project.

Lessons I’ve learned today?

  • novels don’t have to have a nice, tidy ending (unless it’s a romance)
  • don’t write your novel thinking it would make a great film–write it thinking this is a great story
  • always read your writing aloud to make sure you have the right pitch and rhythm
  • keep main characters to a minimum–readers get lost when there are too many people “on stage”
  • don’t spend all day on Twitter–start a mailing list and send out updates to your readers this way
  • good metadata increases discoverability
  • invest in a good editor and a good cover designer

As always,  there was good wine and great food to be had. 🙂

It’s 30°C here today and I feel sapped of all energy, so I need a nap. And then I will do a little more writing. 🙂

By the way, if you haven’t heard yet, Ernessa T. Carter has a new book out called The Awesome Girl’s Guide to Dating Extraordinary Men and it’s…awesome! You need to read it ASAP!

The slow process of revising

Image

Not a stack of my manuscripts, but it pretty well could be…

I always thought I could be one of those writers who could breeze through revisions. I read so many stories about how Hemingway could revise quickly, that all good writers can do so. But so far I am struggling with the whole revise 20 pages in 2-3 days jazz that so many other writers seem to be able to do at the drop of a hat. Maybe they are better at sticking to deadlines. Maybe they are exaggerating. Maybe I am too easily distracted.

I think the biggest problem is that I try to revise when I come home from work, when I’ve already spent an entire day writing and revising copy, and my brain refuses to cooperate. I’ve tried revising in the morning and I can usually manage 1-2 pages per day if I stay focused. Did I also mention that the old MFA student in me will spend way too much time wondering if the sentence I wrote is perfect? Yes, every now and then the twenty-something version of me pops up and asks me if that is really the best sentence I could write. And she’s a pain in the ass. She shakes her head at everything. I have to banish her to the back of my mind, otherwise she makes me doubt everything.

But I have a plan and I need to stick to it. I want to finally publish Snowbound this year. I want to publish it by mid-September. I also want to publish Maybe Baby this year and a novella  that is a prequel to Maybe Baby. And then there’s A Little Night Music, a novel I shelved a few years ago and then began working on again. It too needs to see the light of day.

My Matera Brainstormers came up with the idea of checking in with one another on the 15th of every month. We need to report progress, which is good. I like when someone else is keeping track of me. I need a coach who prods and encourages me. It’s good I have my writing buddy Kim K. We meet once a week, talk shop and write.

But I have the feeling that 2013 is the year when I will manage to get at least 2 novels out. And I hope all of you who read my blog will poke me every now and then and say, “Yo, Kim. Finish the revisions now!” 🙂

Nanowrimo Update Day 20 & Chapter 6 is online

Yesterday, I crossed the 35,000-word threshold! I can hardly believe it myself. When I first began writing Maybe Baby, there were days when I wasn’t sure I’d even be able to cross the 10,000 or 15,000-word mark because I was exhausted from putting in a full day at work and my brain just felt mushy. Yes, there were days when my brain was more akin to a bowl of polenta. And it wasn’t pretty.

This is when I should coast into the final 15,000 words. Technically, I could take it easy and not really care about tying up loose ends. I could leave Laney in limbo and just shelve this until the spring or summer, but I won’t do that at all. I want resolution for Laney. I want her to make her decision. I also want Eddy to figure out how to solve her romantic problems. Besides, you’re probably wondering if Niklas is going to be a little more proactive about trying to get Laney to choose him. Or if Mads will do or say something that makes Laney decide he really is the one. Or maybe she chooses neither,  suddenly decides to alter her plan and  get artificially inseminated and be a single mother? Well, how would we ever find out if I coasted? So no coasting and no shelving. I will write this to completion and then revise.

By the way, Chapter Six is online now. Chapters 1-5 are also still available.

Happy reading (and writing)!