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Lists are My Answer to Everything … and Also Some Stuff About Revision

March 22, 2013

I make lists. A lot. My entire life is full of lists. Almost every notebook I own has a To Do list of some sort partially crossed off.

Because of this habit, people think I am terribly organized and productive. And I probably am but not as productive as I’d like to be. I think it is healthy to always want to improve, work harder and work smarter. Hence, the obsession with lists. As someone smart once said, even the dullest pencil is sharper than the sharpest mind. Paper doesn’t forget but your brain does.

Just to give you an idea, here are the titles of some of the lists I have right now:

  • The Neverending To Do
  • Mermaid Novel Revisions
  • Exercise Routine
  • Cleaning Like Cinderella
  • To Do Today

All my lists are currently stored and organized on my phone using ToDoist, a fantabulous app that keeps you on track of all your many goals and due dates. I have a just one frustration with it; once an item is checked as Complete, it disappears with no trace that it ever existed and I think being able to measure progress is super important. I’m going to try out Evernote sometime in the next few weeks. I’ve heard great things.

Writing a list is my go-to whenever I am feeling overwhelmed by the task ahead of me, whether it is cleaning the house, organizing my time at work or, in my current case, revising my novel.

I didn’t really announce it on this blog but I finished the first draft of my Japanese mermaid novel at the beginning of February. I even started writing a blog post but halfway through I froze. I have never revised any of my novels. I have written them, printed a copy on CreateSpace and proudly displayed them on my shelf. I haven’t actually read any of them after finishing. Quite frankly I’m too scared. My current self is a much better writer than my old self and my old self wrote those books. Shocker.
So as per usual when I don’t know where to start, I researched a bit and made a list. And here it is for all to see!

  •  Answer open ended questions for all main characters (used Jennifer Nielsen’s Character Questions list):
    • Kin
    • Eri
    • Daichi
    • Tomoyo
  • Plot our all character arc(s) for main characters (used Dan Well’s 7 Point Plot Structure for this):
    • Kin – 3 arc
    • Eri – 1 arc
    • Daichi – 1 arc
    • Tomoyo – 1 arc
  • Brainstorm mermaid culture
    • Write a few scenes from Eri’s past to flesh out
    • Brainstorm and write scenes to better explain Magical Breath
    • Brainstorm other sea creatures and how they interact with mermaids, dragon king, etc.
  •   Choose either Japan or made-up fantasy world (chose to make it up)
    • Research more every day things (houses, food, clothing, etc.)
    • Name the world, gods, towns, people, etc.
    • Map the world, places in next book, etc.
  • Re-Outline
    • Re-read the first draft (gulp!) and take notes of …
      • things to explain better
      • missing scenes
      • what is/isn’t working
      • consistency errors
    • Write outline and sort into complete scenes
      • Make sure each scene has an arc and works to move the plot forward
      • Sort scenes into chapters and write one paragraph description of each chapter
    • Create a scene map (see Rachel Aaron’s blog)
    • Create a timeline (see Rachel Aaron’s blog)
    • Draw a map
    • And finally … create a problem To Do list (again, see Rachel Aaron’s blog)
  • Start the rewrite (double gulp!)

*** After talking to my writing group I totally realized I forgot to do character development and plot development for the “bad guy.” Oops … my list just got longer***So my question to you dear reader is this. Does this list seem daunting to you or inspiring? What do you make lists of? And do you have any advice for the first-time re-drafter? I love hearing from you (yes you).

What’s on the needles: another GAP-tastic cowl in grey-white new wool
What’s new on the iPhone: ZZ Ward over and over and over again. I cannot get enough of this girl’s voice!
What color are my nails: Sinful Colors “Matte Savage”

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