Descent of the Cows, IWSG Day, and New Round of ROW80

Desalpes, or the descent of the cows from their summer pastures to their winter pastures, is commemorated each year in our neck of the woods by a festival day in St Cergue, a village high in the Jura mountains.

We went for the first time last year -- photos here!

This year we had the new camera!




And then we came down the mountains, to a farm nearby, with cows -- and llamas!

Today is Insecure Writer's Support Group Day!

Our hosts' question for this month is: When do you know your story is ready?

A good question, but difficult. My editing layers tend to go like this:

Draft story longhand
Type up story, editing obvious mistakes and filling in gaps
At the same time, conduct research
Reread on paper and correct for flow and voice and information learned from research
Enter changes
At the same time, go through all my collected storywriting advice and tips and notes
Reread to apply what I've learned and flesh out descriptions, metaphors, character arcs, etc.
Enter changes, copy edit
Send to betas
Rewrite and enter changes
Work on query and synopsis, and start sending to agents

The story generally feels ready when I can't reread anymore for having memorised it and I can't see the forest for the trees.

This is the stage that all my novels are at. Most have had at least one beta read, some more, and I've worked on them here and there since then.


I can see how they could go deeper. The events, the emotions, the links between the characters' choices and the consequences. And that's the step I'm insecure about. To go back and delve deeper and cut everything open if necessary.

On the other hand, for some of the stories, it's been years since I've read them, and hopefully that distance will allow me to be as objective as necessary. Failing that, I'll send each one out to external editors and get more feedback before I buckle down and work on them...

That's sort of my goal for this round of ROW80, the last for this year. I don't want to commit, yet, as I'm not sure I'll make time for it. I've got lots of knitting related goals, a week's vacation coming up, and NaNoWriMo to prep for. I can't get enough of the heady feeling of drafting a new story! If only I could channel that emotion to edits...

Here are all the goals, anyway:
Enter changes to Druid's Moon, and submit to two chosen editors
Create list of scene ideas and questions to answer for NaNoWriMo days when I feel blocked
Finish knitting fox scarf, and maybe the shawl I started last year
Write Christmas gift and card list and stay on top of it!

Even if you're not part of ROW80, what kinds of goals do you have for the next few weeks?


Chrys Fey said…
That moment where you memorize the story is hard. I'm there right now with the next book in my Disaster Crimes series. I edited it by myself and with beta readers and then with my editor. Whenever I get the next galley to approve, my energy deflates more and more, because I have to look it over. Again.

Good luck with your goals!
Crystal Collier said…
Being able to set a book aside for that long takes discipline. I totally hear you. I knew I'd reached a new summit when I started looking at character arc as one of my major "readiness" tests. There's always further to grow as a writer, so being done is only relative to the now.
Some distance will make a difference. You will want to work on them though because you're grown as a writer since writing them.
That's a lot of cows. It's like the llamas were photobombing.
Hi Deniz - love the festival ... what a great experience ... looks like Emily won't forget it ... happy gal with cows and bells around. You've got lots going on ... love the Christmas card list - yes mine are out to do ... as I need to notify re new address etc ... cheers and good luck with those stories and getting to your chosen editor - Hilary
Em-Musing said…

Great the alphorns.
Sounds like you have a pretty solid plan! Good luck knocking all that stuff off your list!

IWSG October
S.P. Bowers said…
A parade of cows sounds pretty cool.
Jenni said…
Great photos! It reminds me of my visit to Switzerland. You have a good system for how you edit and work on your story. And good luck with your goals! I like that you don't just have writing goals. :)
dolorah said…
But, where are the crows? I only see cows!

Awesome goals; I need to make some to achieve :) Good luck with it all.
Diane Burton said…
Love the photos. I'll bet the experience is awesome. Great list of goals. Good luck
Zan Marie said…
The minute I find myself skimming because I know the scene I know I have to put it away. Sometimes, a month is all I need. Good luck!
Deniz Bevan said…
Thanks for the encouragement, everyone!
Nas said…
I enjoyed the photos! I literally start feeling sick of a story and start skimming through...when I know for certain I need distance from it!
Suzanne Furness said…
It was interesting to read about your writing process. I find letting a story rest for a while is a must to get the best out of my editing.
Great photos, looked like a happy day out.
Suzanne Furness said…
I enjoyed reading about your writing process. I think leaving my story to rest for a while before editing is a must!
Great photos, looked like a happy day out.
Deniz Bevan said…
Thanks Nas and Suzanne!