The Rewrite

Writing Novel Notebook

These were my beginning steps, the ones I listed in my post “The Start” on September 16, 2018:

1. Set up a writing blog.
2. Figure out a working title for my upcoming Nanowrimo book.
3. Read three books for research to learn about wilderness survival, animals in the wild, and 19th Century witches.
4. Watch five horror movies to analyze tropes, plot points, and pacing.
5. Read Word Painting by Patricia McClanahan, and work the exercises to become a better wordsmith.
6. Write a brief synopsis of my Nanowrimo book.
7. Develop a detailed Nano outline during October.
8. Write my Nano book in November.
9. Become a supporting member of the Horror Writers Association on December 1, 2018.
10. Weeks one and two of December: Work on editing the first novel I wrote in 2018, a practice novel called The Witch of the Manor House. It’s horrible. Is it salvageable?
11. The rest of December: Take a break from writing, and read three literary horror novels.

With a tweak to step 5, I got ’em all done.:-)

Horror movies tend to end abruptly.

Regarding step 4, I learned that horror movies tend to peak at a terribly exciting climax, then end abruptly afterwards. Now that my mind is looking for it, I’d say most of the horror novels I’ve read lately are the same way. That’s good to know . . . whether I adhere to that practice or turn away from it. If there are any other newbies out there, I highly recommend breaking down movies and novels of your genre to discern their structure. It was super helpful!

Regarding step 5, I thought Word Painting was good, but some of the exercises were suited to more experienced writers. I picked up Stein on Writing by Sol Stein and found it more accessible. I will revisit Word Painting in the future.

It ain’t salvageable.

And finally, regarding step 10, nope, Manor House is not salvageable, but I do like the premise, so I’m going back to the outline and starting over. In fact, that’s my first quarter 2019 goal: Outline (which I’m doing right now) and rewrite The Witch of the Manor House.

Second quarter, I’m going to edit my 2018 Nano novel.

I’m excited about both the first and second quarter projects. Later this year, dare I say it? I expect to enter the query trenches. Even if I get nowhere, I think the experience of querying will be educational.

“Oh! Great Idea♥”

The feature image for this post shows two notebooks I use to brainstorm ideas for characters, figure out plot questions, and stuff like that. On the salmon-colored notebook, my daughter taped a little label, “Oh! Great Idea♥.” Wasn’t that sweet of her?

Well, gotta go beat that outline into submission!

33 thoughts on “The Rewrite

  1. You’ve outlined some great steps and the remarks about what you’ve learned are very helpful Good luck with your writing journey. Keep us informed on how it progresses.


  2. I had never really thought about the fact that horror movies climax and then end so abruptly. But now I’ll most certainly be looking for that! 🙂


  3. These are great tips for approaching a re-write. And now that I think of it, horror movies do tend to end abruptly. I good example of this is the Polish movie, Demon. It’s an astonishing film with an abrupt and somewhat baffling ending.


    1. Thanks for the kind words.

      I think I’ve seen the movie. Actually, I’m not sure. I saw a bizarre, foreign film named Demon, an older, black and white movie. It was good, just kind of surreal with few words (if any, I don’t remember).

      I’m glad you stopped by!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. haha love your’s daughter’s decoration of your notebook! 🙂 so sweet! I have one “writing notebook” where I practice writing short stories inspire by images and my BuJo where I try to keep most of my ideas for my WIP. However ideas pop anytime (that I ain’t writing lol) and I really have “ideas” everywhere. So I have a few notebooks with ideas 🙂 You were super productive! Congrats! What was the tweak for number 5? did you read a different book? I’m curious because I want to start reading more books on the craft this year. I also too a break in December and now trying to blog ahead one quarter to start editing my first WIP. This first WIP is in such state of disarray I may have to reach the same conclusion your did about The Witch of the Manor House. Love that title so I do hope you write that book! I write dark fantasy with many horror elements so Let me know if you ever need a CP!


    1. The tweak to number 5 was reading Stein on Writing by Sol Stein (and doing his exercises) instead of finishing Word Painting.

      Ooo, a CP!! I’m stoked. I’ll be sure to holler for you when the time is right. I could do likewise for you.:-) Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Good for you for completing your list, Pricilla. I’m impressed. At this rate, you’ll have a book ready in no time. Btw, I notice that quite a few genres work up to the exciting climax and end quickly after that – true of fantasy, at least. It’s a good thing to be aware of. Happy Writing!


  6. I have never really thought about how books and movies in a genre share similar features. I really like that you are breaking them down to learn. It sounds like you have a solid plan in place.


  7. I enjoyed reading your goals from last year and achievement of them, Priscilla. I am also editing at the moment. It is my favourite part of the writing process, getting good advice and licking that story into the best shape possible for me. I find it very rewarding.


    1. Thanks, Teri. I had a swim coach when I was 11 years old who showed us kids how to set goals and break them down and go after them. Amazing how a person crosses your life path when you were a kid and has that much of an influence. Thanks for commenting!


  8. I’ve studied horror films because it was a tip when I was taking an online screenplay course. I’ve never truly broke down any horror novels, but I read those type of books A LOT. One day, I should take the time to study novels instead of just how-to-write books.

    Keep smiling,


  9. Love this! Considering I’ve done NANO twice now and have two rough drafts as a result, I see where you’re coming from. The hard part is knowing you have those two rough drafts lying around, taking up space on your hard drive. One I’ve done some rewrites to, but the other I’ve done nothing. The key is to keep going no matter what. Something will come of them. I too plan to query soon. Good topic. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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