Wednesday 30 June 2010

Revision Road (Week 4)

Thursday, 24th June 2010

I have discovered something about myself. I have a low boredom threshold for revisions. I've had enough already! This not knowing whether all this work will actually serve any purpose is draining. Half the time I'm fighting the voice in my head that says 'what's the use?'. For all I know, the revisions could be worse than the earlier draft and lead only  to another "R" letter (to add to the great pile I already have in my drawer).  Working in the cold is awful. Working in the (metaphorical) dark is even worse. Someone show me the light, please!

Ghana the only African team through to the next round of SWC. Note to self: buy a Ghanaian flag a.s.a.p!

Friday, 25th June 2010

hate revisions. Enough said.

Saturday, 26th June 2010

USA played with great heart, but Ghana, the Black Stars, keep Africa in the Soccer World Cup. Ghana! Ghana!

And I even managed to get some desultory revisions done. Starting to wonder if there's a point when one can do too many revisions. Am I killing the energy of the ms? Need to get some distance from it again.

Sunday, 27th June 2010

Took a break from revisions today. Wrote my July article on foreshadowing for the South African Romance Writers website.  Watched soccer. Germany 4. England 1. Ouch! Not even the-goal-that-never-was could have saved England.

Monday, 28th July 2010

Is snow in Jo'burg beyond the realms of possibility? Weather looks very odd today. And it's fairly warm. No time to chat. The break did me good and raring to get back to the revisions.

Tuesday, 29th July 2010

ZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Worked on revisions all day, broke to feed Husband on his retrun from work, continued to work until 22h30 and then couldn't sleep.  So please don't disturb me today, I'm buzzzzzzZZZZZ...

Wednesday, 30th June 2010

After a good meditation (sounds better than an afternoon nap!) managed to do a few hours revisions. Words starting to blur. Need to bring this to an end; effort and effect are no longer worth the time spent. Could nitpick like this for months and still not be happy with it. Note to self: cut apron strings on ms.

And so we come to the end of the fourth week of revisions. Where has the time gone?

Wednesday 23 June 2010

Revision Road (Week 3)

For those of you who've been following me along Revision Road, Week 2 ended with high anticipation for Bafana Bafana's hopes in the Soccer World Cup game against Uraguay. Sadly, the Uraguayans played exceptionally well and Bafana couldn't find their stride, going down to the South Americans 3-0 (note how I'm not mentioning THAT red card!). We're all still united behind Bafana and (PWAAAARP! PWAAAARP!) blowing our vuvuzelas to show our support for the boys in yellow and for our guests from all over the world who have come to party at the SWC! Ayoba yo!

Thursday 17th June 2010

Yesterday managed to get within 12 pages of end of ms for Wild Rose Press (first round of revisions, anyway). Luckily romance mss are short; they suit my low boredom threshold! Hoped to crack those final pages early today but electric fence wire broke, technician arrived late; elderly parents needed some TLC after hot water bottle broke and burned Mom. Took them to buy an electric blanket as Jo'burg still freezing. Then problems with the estate of Husband's family late domestic worker - tried to sort them out, but a bit difficult when the ELECTRICITY GOES OFF.  Second time this week (Monday night electricity was off for nearly 7 hours!) All in all not a good revisions day. It's now nearly 16h30 and haven't revised a line. So better stop procastinating on this blog and get working! Shouting for a draw between Mexico and France tonight - that'll help Bafana Bafana!

Friday 18th June 2010

Very little work done yesterday. Squeezed out some line-edits, but nothing worth mentioning. Temperatures breaking records for cold all over the country. No wonder brain is frozen. Too many social arrangements coming up from today through to Monday. No time to waste, so off to try and get a few pages revised.

Monday 21 June 2010

Winter solstice today. Yay! Days start getting longer again; let's hope they get warmer too! Friday and Saturday revisions went very well. Finished first round, including a  large chunk of new writing in last chapter. As Sunday was Father's Day (see photo, Dad with me as baby) I decided to have a complete break from the manuscript. Didn't even switch the computer on. Today I begin round 2 of revisions (weeding out those pesky adverbs and adjectives to make the writing more active). Feeling slightly worried about the time frame - only 18 days to 8 July deadline.  Need to squeeze more time out my days as, I suspect, this will be a rather bumpy section of the revision road.

Tuesday, 22 July 2010

Eish!!! My English teachers from high school must be doing the happy dance on their graves, cackling away and saying "Serves you right for not listening to your grammar lessons!" After yesterday's revisions, my head is so full of subjects, auxillary verbs and past participles as I struggle with converting passive writing into active writing, I resemble a stunned mullet! Did anyone know it's entirely possible to have 1091 adjectives in a mere 173 pages of writing? That's 6 a page! Gasp.  And it's off to work I go, as Bafana Bafana need my support at 4 pm today and (having spent the morning taking my elderly Mom - who can't drive - to the shops) I've done no revisions today. Yet.

Wednesday, 23 July 2010

Yebo, yo! Bafana Bafana, you beauties. So proud of our team. (Click here for more enthusiasm!) As you can imagine, not much revision work done on Tuesday.  Did manage an hour or two, though, so the day was not a complete waste.  Today I shall have to hope Husband brings work home, so that I can gouge some revision time out of the evening after dinner. Wednesdays are not usually good writing days, but will try my best to get through some pages at least.

Tuesday 22 June 2010

Bafana Bafana Rock!

We needed two miracles today: Bafana Bafana had to beat France (who played in the 2006 Soccer World Cup final), and Uragua had to TROUNCE Mexico by about 7 goals in their match. We got one miracle...and what a fantastic, brilliant miracle it was! After their crushing defeat last match, Bafana Bafana came out and played with heart and soul and courage! I am so, so proud of this wonderful nation and just have to sing our multi=lingual national anthem before I burst!!

Bafana Bafana, we love you guys!!  Uraguay beat Mexico, but not by enough, so unfortunately we don't go through to the next round, but who cares? We're still enjoying the 2010 FIFA World Cup!! Now that Bafana is out, I'm going to blow my vuvuzela's for Ghana and Uraguay! PWAAAAARP!!  And, so, it's back to revisions and hosting the Soccer World Cup 2010! If you aren't here for the party...Eish!!!!!

Wednesday 16 June 2010

Revision Road (Week 2)

With both The Beginning and Week 1 behind me, revision road should be getting easier. But...

Thursday, 10th June 2010

Managed 4 pages yesterday. Wednesdays will always be difficult writing days because of family commitments. Added to that, yesterday was the "United We Stand" parade to show support for Bafana Bafana as Soccer fever hits the country. 49 million of us versus 11 of them, one banner proclaimed. Too true. We're a country where miracles happen, and the 2010 Soccer World Cup (just like the 1995 Rugby World Cup) may just see a miracle or two! Our vuvuzela's are ready! Husband has his makaraba (personalised with the title of his book "Taxpayers' have Rights" slogan - see above) ready! KE NAKO!!!! It's time!  And none of this has anything to do with my revisions, except as a perfect procrastination excuse. So, let me repeat my mantra: Focus! Focus! Focus!  It's time to get to work!

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Thursday was a great writing day - 21 pages of revisions, including some serious re-writing. Pleased with that. But, come on...!! Did anyone really expect me to work on the opening day of the Soccer World Cup 2010?? AYOBA YO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The atmosphere in Jo'burg has been ELECTRIC this whole week. We've all got South African flags on our cars, there's flags hanging from gateposts (and electric fences!) and yesterday it was just crazy - vuvuzelas blowing all day and flags and you name it! Husband even wore his "taxpayers have rights" makaraba to work yesterday. I had flags and soccer balls stuck to my cheeks - even my elderly parents stuck flags on their faces as we watched the start of SWC 2010. All great fun, topped by a magnificent opening ceremony and a worthy performance by our boys in yellow, Bafana Bafana!! South Africa is on the world stage and we're doing just GREAT!!!!!!!!! No revisions done yesterday, but not a day for worrying about that. I must confess I don't want a European team to win this world cup - it must be either an African team, South American team (except Brazil), the USA or Australian Socceroos. I want a soccer underdog to win, not the usual big fish!! I even hold the secret hope that Bafana Bafana may repeat the magical winning performance of the Springbokke in the 1995 Rugby World this land of miracles, anything is possible!

Off to practice my iDiski moves now. And then I'll get back onto the straight and narrow of the Revision Road!

Sunday, 13th June 2010

Feel like A Real Writer this morning.  Saturday was hectic: loads of chores cleaning up after the SWC celebrations on Friday, an all-day visit to Pretoria and the England vs USA soccer game. Never expected to get any writing done but, as tired as I was when we got home, I disciplined myself, sat my behind down on the chair and - viola - before I knew it I'd completed 9 pages. Was ruthless too: cut out a page and a half of truly awful writing.  Still had time to watch the game afterwards. US of A played a great game and closed England down at the beautiful Royal Bafokeng stadium in Rustenburg. Eish! Was a surreal feeling watching those big name players and realising that it was all taking place here, in our beloved country!

Monday 14th June 2010

Bad day yesterday (Sunday). Managed nearly 17 pages of revisions, but confidence very low. Can't imagine what the WRP editor saw in the manuscript because, quite honestly, I'm embarrassed by it. Was negative and destructive about the writing; wondered if I'm wasting my time. Feeling slightly better this morning after dragging myself into the gym and doing some yoga, but still have a hint of gloom surrounding me.  Is the effort worth it? Well, foolish or not, I'm congenitally incapable of throwing in the towel, so will just have to struggle on. I'll re-do those pages today and hope that inspiration strikes. Hopefully, as accurately as the German's struck that soccer ball last night. 4-0. Shame, poor Socceroos. They were so brave, but just couldn't get past the German juggernaut.  I wonder how much I'm being distracted by the soccer? 

Tuesday, 15th June 2010

Confidence still low. Is this the revisions equivalent of the "sagging middle syndrome"? Because everything I touch seems worse than before.  Re-revised  about 10 pages from yesterday; also managed to get through  13 new pages, but I'm wondering what the editor saw in this story.  And, to make matters worse, today is cold. Really really cold. How am I going to write today with frozen fingers?

Wednesday 16th June, 2010

Despite the bitter cold and busy, emotional day (said goodbye to Big Sister as she heads to her UK home for two months) was happy with Tuesday's work. Writing was better in this section of the ms, or perhaps I'm just numb with worry (or cold) and can't tell the difference anymore? Today still freezing. Can hardly move for all the layers. Theodora showing off with her thick winter coat and prancing around outside like a kitten, instead of the venerable old lady she's supposed to be.   Celebrating Youth Day today (the Soweto Uprising of 1976).  A great day for Bafana Bafana's second match of the World Cup.  Revisions going well so far.  Maybe I'm getting used to dressing like the Michelin Man to keep warm.

Hard to believe I've already travelled another week on Revision Road! 

Wednesday 9 June 2010

Revision Road (Week 1)

Moving on from The Beginning I head into Week 1 of my travels along Revision Road...

Thursday, 3rd June 2010

Taking deep breaths. I can do it! I can do it! Just stay calm. First step - answer Wild Rose Press (WRP) editor and Weronika. Second - print both ms out in full. Print both editorial letters out. Third - do only household chores that are urgent and important (the filing can wait, piles of washing can't, nor can the insurance claim for the burst geyser). Finally, start with Project B (romance novel). Highlight what editor sees as critical.  Decide how to approach it: line-by-line or focus on specific sections requiring major re-writes and worry about line editing later? Will see how it goes. Okay, stop dawdling and get moving. The washing won't wash itself and the ms is not going to revise itself! 

Friday, 4th June 2010

Concentrating on Project B (revision letter from WRP editor) as, if I get it right, could lead to publication, while Project A's revision letter will lead to an agent's desk. Both good opportunities, but Project B is more urgent.  Have committed to a date of 8th July to have revisions completed. Analysed editor's letter. Three main areas to work on: motivations, POV changes and passive writing. Finished Chap 1 yesterday, which is not as impressive as it seems - only 8 pages. Took 3 hours as well. My brain is awfully rusty.  Drank a lot of tea, but didn't seem to help. Won't get such a big block of time again until Monday. Will need to work faster, but finding it difficult to identify the passive writing, which I've decided to attack first. It looked easy in the articles I read, but this "show, don't tell" is a deceptively simple phrase!

Saturday, 5th June 2010

Dragged myself out of my warm bed early to sneak in some revision time as today will be busy with Husband's Jo'burg birthday party. Theodora not impressed at being disturbed, but bribed her with cat pellets. Friday's revision went well - found a large section that I actually recognised as needing re-working and got my teeth into that. Getting amazing support from all my writing friends! With cheerleading like that, motivation is strong. But writing time is in short supply today, so no time to chat. Hey-ho, hey-ho, it's off to work I go...!

Sunday, 6th June 2010

Good day yesterday. Managed one whole chapter of revisions, as well as the party (which was such fun!).  Today must spend time on answering emails that have been building up, and also get some housework in. Luckily, Husband must also work today (a new tax bill is out and he's got a meeting about it early next week) so should be able to get in a good few hours of revisions.

Monday, 7th June 2010

Average day yesterday. Felt like I was revising revisions the whole time. Hardly did any new work.   Kept losing the threads and having to go back to double check. On the good side, I did as many chores as possible and today (except for patting and feeding Theodora) I can concentrate on revisions the whole day. Goody!

Tuesday, 8th June 2010

Monday was a great revisions day. Worried about the POV changes - did I still head hop too much? Didn't want to bother WRP editor, but wrote and asked for more guidance. Rather do a good job of the changes now than have to go back and revise again later.  Pulling the 'phone out and avoiding the 'net until after I'd finished for the day helped my productivity! Must do it more often.

Wednesday, 9th June 2010

Tuesday was an awful writing day. Woke up with fibrositis in right shoulder (thanks, Princess Theodora, for hogging my bed and leaving me to cling to the side at an awkward angle); went to Sandton Mall to do the shopping I've been avoiding for a week to find pre-SWC2010 chaos (only 3 more sleeps and its Soccer World Cup time!); popped in to check on the parents; rushed home to unpack groceries and...and..and...! By the time I sat down to write had a thumping headache from the pain in my shoulder. Struggled through 3 pages and re-revised a couple of earlier pages, but unhappy with all of it.  Will have to re-check those pages today.

And to think tomorrow is the beginning of Week 2 of the revision road. Where has the time gone?

Monday 7 June 2010

Notes From Underground

Another interesting writing contest from The Literary Lab: 

You can use words, images...whatever you want (that can be e-mailed). It doesn't have to be the story that you want to publish, even though that would be all right. It doesn't have to be a story at all. It could be a proposal, a resume, a story idea, poetry, flattery...anything. Got it? Anything!

Click on the image link in the side bar to the right, or click here to read the contest details.

Good luck!

Friday 4 June 2010

The Handbag Project

From the big-hearted Damaria Senne's blog, comes the following request to join "The Handbag Project" for rape survivors. I'm adding the bag requirements to my shopping list, and will be emailing the request to all my friends. What a wonderful way to make a real difference in someone's life!

Friday, June 04, 2010

Can You Contribute To "The Handbag Project"

I've been asked to spread the word on a project run by The Jes Foord Foundation. In addition to reading this email, and maybe contributing about it, I'd also like to ask you to either link to the post on your blog, or to publish the message below in its entirety.

Basically, Jes is asking for good condition handbags (i.e. one you no longer use or one you may have received as a gift but will never use.) Not only ladies handbags but children’s and men’s backpacks as it is not only women that are raped.

Here's the message below:

One of the things many people don't know is that rape survivors have to leave their panties and whatever else they are wearing (e.g. shorts, jeans, skirt etc) with the District Surgeon.
Jes is collecting the bags and in each bag she will have put the following: (obviously it would be greatly appreciated if you could hand in a bag with a few items but, even an empty handbag is of great help and Jes will fill it)

Liquid soap (wash away the negativity)
Body cream
Sanitary pads
Face cloth
And a little gift e.g. when Mr Price has their sales, buy some earrings, a bracelet or whatever you feel would be a ‘light’ at this awful time.

Anything to make them feel special!

For children:

Small teddy bear


Please would each of you write a note to the survivor. Jes said it can be a few words or an essay but something from your heart to theirs.

For example, even if you write something like “No matter what has happened you are special, and please don’t let anyone take that away from you. You can, and will, get through this. There are so many people who really care and will help you gain your strength. This gift is given to you with love from (your name)”.

When you are at your lowest, just receiving the bag with all the goodies, a simple gift that can give you hope, and hope is a fundamental step in recovery.

Just so you are aware, Jes monitors the bags she hands to the police stations very carefully (i.e. they will be sealed in a plastic bag and numbered) and, as there have been incidents in the past where the bags have gone missing, a register will be kept.

Approximately 10 bags will be given to each police station with the request that when they are down to their last two, to let Jes know so more will be supplied.

Please Note:

If you do not have a bag, maybe goodies to fill could be donated.

All goodies and bags can be dropped off at CHE architects, Unit 8 and 9, 8 Holwood Crescent, Holwood Park La Lucia Ridge (behind Toyota/Lexus in Canegate Drive) marked for the attention of Monty Engelbrecht.

If you're not based in Durban and want to mail your care package to the above address, please contact Glynis Hoaten first at

Thursday 3 June 2010

In the Beginning

It never rains, but it pours! Having received a comprehensive and constructive editorial review on my literary novel (let's call it Project A) from that bright young publishing intern Weronika Janczuk, I've also received a revisions letter from the romance e-publisher Wild Rose Press (let's call this Project B).  And I'm supposed to be working my way through the ever-expanding (and daunting!) reading list for my South African Border War story, known as Project C.


Right now I'm running around in a sweat. How will I know what to do? Where do I start? Will I be good enough to get the revisions up to standard? A dozen other panic-stricken insecurities are engulfing me.

What I need to do is ground myself so I can focus. 

Focus! Focus! Focus!

To this end, and to keep me on the straight and narrow,  I've decided to keep a daily diary of the revision process.  Even if it's a line a day, I'll record the journey all the way from start to finish.

Once a week I'll post the agony and the ecstasy of the revision road on the blog...if I survive the process!  And, as every journey begins with a single step, this post marks the beginning of my latest writing adventure. 

Let the revisions begin...

Image source: Free on-line from Microsoft ClipArt