Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I Conquered the Beast

(And when I say beast, I mean my wickedly long but beautiful baby--my first novel.)

I've spent the last two-and-a-half month's, several hours each day, cutting and polishing The Rowaness of Shalott.

Have you ever stared at a computer screen for so long that your eyes start crossing? I have and, let me tell you, it's a little bit freaky!

What I learned from this mega revision:

  • I may have thought my beginning was brilliant, but I didn't really understand how well it worked (and that it needed lots of fixing) until I wrote the end of my novel.
  • I may have thought my ending was brilliant, but I didn't really understand how well it worked (and that it needed lots of fixing) until I finished this long revision.
  • The best way I learned what was and wasn't working in my book was to read it. (Duh, I know, but I'm talking about reading--and not editing--it in as little sittings as possible. For me, that was four days.)
  • MCs get sassier with more attention. Villains become more sympathetic.
  • It is possible to love two fictional men at the same time (okay, I already knew this).
  • My characters can still surprise me (yes, Arthur, I'm talking about you).
  • I still believe in and love this story--more so than ever!

Some stats about my drafting and revision process so far:

  • Started writing the first version (contemporary, two POVs, set in Alaska, no Arthurian stuff) in December of 2009
  • Bagged the earlier version and started writing the Arthurian version in the summer of 2010
  • Finished my first draft in November of 2011 (two-thirds of it were written in Oct. and Nov.)
  • Finished this mega revision YESTERDAY (April 24, 2012)!
  • Original word count: 141,320 (not to mention 4,000 words I cut before drafting the last two-thirds)
  • Revised word count: 98,972
  • I cut 42,348 words! (almost as long as a NaNo novel)
  • Original page count: 490
  • Revised page count: 362
  • I cut 128 pages! (That might not seem like a lot, but it SO is.)

Anyway you do the math, I feel awesome! And I've totally owned my writing process, which is overwriting to draft, and then cutting to revise (though, I did have to rewrite sections of the beginning and end).

I know there will still be revisions to come with new beta readers, and hopefully one day an agent and editor, but for now I will breathe a big fat sigh of relief because I did one of the hardest things by hacking this book to below 100k.


  1. Seriously proud of you. This blows my mind. I'm so glad you're still in love with it!!! Also, Katie, you really need to take off word verification--it's obnoxious and probably makes less people comment :)

    1. Yes, ma'am. Word verification is off. Thanks for all your support with my revision, Taryn!

  2. That is so amazing. Honestly, this deserves a huge celebration. Hooray!

  3. Thrilled for you! Woot! Woot!

  4. So proud of you! Let's go eat some Thai food to celebrate. :)

  5. Well done! I remember when I sat down to do my first major edit, and I went through a lot of the same things. Especially with cutting down words - I think I cut around 40,000, if not more! - and it was great fun. But, it was a LOT of work. I wish you luck with Rowaness in the future!

    1. I'm glad to see someone else is an overwriter like me! (I'm the only one in my crit group.)

  6. Yay! I can't wait to read the cleaner, quicker version. Also, I want you to write book 2, so I can lust a little more after Arthur. I've decided it's his turn.

    1. Cleaner, quicker version. Lusting after Arthur. It's his turn.

      I think Emily needs to get her head out of the gutter. :)

  7. I'm so proud of you, Katie! And I cannot wait to read the book, seriously! SQUEE!!!!