How the heck am I supposed to track my progress during revisions?
This is my current problem. I am in the beginning of my first revision of my Max Bear novel. I am reworking the characters and the plot. There are some avenues that need to be followed and others that are getting cut out of the story. I am truly happy with how it is shaping up. But how do I track my progress? Am I working enough on it or am I moving forward at all? When I wrote the first draft it was easy to track progress because I had a word count to track. But I am not writing yet. I haven’t gotten it to the point where I can start writing again to fix everything. So how do I show myself that I am making headway?
For some people this problem never rears its ugly head. They just go off and write. And when I am in the zone I feel the same way. I can write forever and not once worry about how far I am getting. It isn’t until the down time between writing comes along and I begin to wonder how far I have gotten and how far I still need to go. The questions of whether I am wasting time with plotting, world building, character sketches or half a billion other things come to bear. All of them are important in their own ways and they each have their place in writing. For me it is just a question of what and where that is. And here is what I have come up with so far.
I wrote the first draft of this novel after about 7 months. A majority of that time was prep work in the form of plotting and characters. Once I started writing I was off to the races. When I finished I let it sit for a couple months. Now that I am working on revisions I am itching to get back to writing and being off to the races again. So I have goals in mind to keep me on track and heading forward. Some are arbitrary so I getting that immediate feel good of accomplishing something. And some are there to keep me pushing ahead with purpose and gusto.
- Answer the following questions about my key characters (Character cards)
- What is their purpose in the story?
- What do they want?
- Who are they really?
- What do they look like?
- Quick down and dirty outline to use as a road map for the second draft
- Red pencil the manuscript for what stays and what goes
- Start writing
The long and the short of it is that I need clear goals with a time limit. This keeps me moving forward and gives me something to focus on. And it will ultimately get me to what I really need to do which is write the second draft. How long will all of this take? I am giving myself to the end of the week for the character cards. There should be no reason why I can’t get that done. From there I have until Wednesday to finish my outline and then Friday to make my manuscript bleed. And from there the real fun begins.