So...what's next for me? Well, I decided to take a short break. I participated in Paula Yoo's NaPiBoWriWee challenge, where the goal is to write 7 picture book drafts in 7 days. This challenge helped me organize my ideas and then let them flow, instead of trying to use every single piece of information I know about picture books in the first draft (which could cause a person to stare at a blank page for a really long time). That's why I love challenges like this! There's plenty of time to incorporate all that wonderful info, revise, revise, revise, run it through my critique groups, and revise a zillion more times. Besides getting over Scary Blank Page Syndrome, it also helped me experiment with different formats I might never have tried on my own. And I love when I have an idea, start to get to know my characters, and the manuscript takes a totally surprising twist. At the end of the week...I had 8 brand new picture book manuscripts. Wahoo! I can't wait to revise them.
Huge congrats to all my friends who tackled this challenge. It was so much fun cheering each other on in the NaPiBoWriWee Facebook group!
I ended up taking a few more days off from novels, and revised a bunch of older picture books. I couldn't decide between Sock-a-palooza and Cake-tastrophe for my other Orlando critique. I brought them both to my weekly group yesterday, and received fantastic advice. They loved both manuscripts, but Cake-tastrophe was almost ready to go as is (a few tweaks, and I had to take something out of the manuscript that I love...but I could definitely see why it could be stronger without it). Sock-a-palooza is so much fun, and I love the new changes! There were a couple of larger ones though, so I want to let it sit for a bit after this revision, and run it through at least one critique group again. I have a feeling I'll end up bringing the first page of this for a critique at the Picture Book Intensive I'm taking in Orlando with Alexandra Penfold and Lisa Wheeler.
It's amazing how long it can take to really revise something right, and I'm determined to do my best not to submit anything before it's 100% ready. Whether that means a zillion rounds of picture book revisions, or finding the perfect place for a plot point in a novel that I thought was almost ready to submit. Mom Wars had an issue with something that happened before the book started and was mentioned on the first page...but it really needed to be shown in scene. So I moved it back to about the end of the first quarter, and it really popped. I couldn't believe I ever had it in another spot. Problem solved...right? Um, no. When my awesome mentor, Joyce Sweeney, read the full, she helped me see that the effects of the new scene didn't ripple through the rest of the manuscript enough...and it's because it was still in the wrong place! Everything else on the full was a tiny tweak, and this probably would have scared me a few years ago, but I knew I'd be able to find the perfect spot. And I did! So what started off as a mention on page one is now around page 90 in the manuscript! It needed to be much closer to the climax, and wow...what a huge difference in the rising tension.
I'm going to spend lots of quality time with my family this weekend. After locking myself in my revision cave for so long, it will be nice to give Hubby and my girls 100% of my attention. And then on Monday, I'm rolling up my sleeves and tackling revisions on the humorous MG I wrote during NaNoWriMo--My Sister is NOT Human. I've missed working on it. I love this story, and am excited to dive into it again!
When you finish revising a project, do you dive directly into the next one, tackle some in another genre, or take a bit of time off to celebrate all your hard work?