Tag Archives: editing

Editing, the non-thrilling part of writing

So, I am about a third of the way through the final edit on the manuscript for my dragon novel, Dragon Venom. Oi, it’s a tedious process– going back and fixing all those little typos and dropped commas and whatnot. Also changing some of the names of places, as I wasn’t satisfied with the names as they were. I tried a naming scheme for the places that just didn’t quite work out, so all of those need to be fixed, doublechecked, and then the map needs to be re-drawn. My artist and my Photoshop consultant both need to be consulted regarding the changes, and the changes applied to those things.

But, it’s looking good. If I can keep things on track and get over this nasty cold that the kids brought home, I am looking at a June release date. Which, yeah, is ambitious, considering how crazy things are this month, but I am really looking forwards to getting this novel published and out there where people can read it. You can get all the feedback possible from your first readers, but there’s nothing quite like having actual readers reading your work.

I’m also working as an editor on another project, not for money, just for the love. It’s not a very big project, just a short story collection, but I hope to get it done very quickly. Then, I’m going to be working on the next novel in the dragon series, plus I am outlining a suspense novel. Whew. Lots to be done!


Back in Edit-land

I’ve delved back into the horror that is editing.

It’s worse than I remembered.

Basically, I sat down this week and decided to edit a picture book that I’ve written, BEAU’S NOSE. I’ve been re-writing, editing, chopping, cutting, re-writing some more, and then repeating the whole bitter process. And I still can’t decide if I need to chop a big element out (I’m leaning towards no) or just simply remove all the “he said” and “she said” that clutters it up. Either way, I’ve removed 100 words from it and given it a rhythmic element and it still isn’t “quite” there yet. And I’m at a loss as to how to get it over that final hump.

So, I’m letting it “sit” for a couple days.

Meanwhile, I am going to go down and read through that stack of children’s books again. Maybe I’ll figure out what I’m doing wrong with a hearty overdose of other people’s work!

 


Dealing with Doubt

If I had an easy solution for self-doubt, I’d be selling it for an obscene amount of cash.

Since I don’t have an easy solution, I’ll just have to go with my heart: one cannot be nearly as awful as one imagines in their times of worst doubt and fear. Simply put, you’re never going to be “the worst novelist ever” or even “such a bad writer that they should make it illegal for me to write.”

Doubt and fear stalk us, but unlike lions, they don’t just prey upon the weak and old and sickly among us writers. No, these hunters are indiscriminate. Pulitzer Prize-winning writers can suddenly have an attack of self-doubt that makes them wonder if their entire life was a waste. We can all be afraid that our work is somehow grossly flawed, and that we, as artists,  well . . . that we just plain suck.

I’ve had a fairly unenthusiastic response from some beta readers and it’s put the cold stark terror into my heart that my novel does, indeed, suck.

It’s a hard fear to shake. Even if it gets published, even then, there will always be haters and detractors. You have to feel sorry for the big names, too, for they draw some exceptionally negative attention. Ever read George R.R. Martin’s blog and comments? Ever read any of the several websites devoted to mocking him? Yeah . . . gotta kinda wince about that. Even he must have bad days where he wonders if he’s going to just be a flash in the pan of memory and have his books drop out of readers’ consciousnesses as soon as the series is done (or he is dead.)

That maybe, yeah, he sucks, too.

Overcoming this doubt and fear . . . it’s a difficult task. It may be the most difficult part of writing. I try to calm myself by reading books by inept authors and then reminding myself that I can string a sentence together better than that person, anyway. It’s not a big consolation, but when you’re at the bottom of the well, it’s better than being alone in the cold dark.

So, here I am, reading bad prose and then trying to recall all the “good” parts of my own work. After a while, it does help a bit . . . say, I DID write a nice scene there. And, yeah, my character IS particularly cool.

It’s small solace, but it’s what I have. What do you do when the bugbears come to bite?

 

 


The Edit is Done. . . Cue Hysterical Laughter

So, after two weeks of suffering, the final edit on my first novel is finished.

I can honestly say that I’m glad that I did it. The novel is stronger, the plot flows better, and the characterization and world-building are more complex.

Of course, at the time, it felt like someone was driving red-hot needles into my brain. I’d open Word, find the page I’d last worked on, and then look for typos, continuity errors, or poor grammar. And I’d find . . . that it needed another entire scene of 1000 words, which had to be tied in with re-writes of the surrounding material, and then had to be followed up by another new scene on the next page.

My brain burned.

It’s all over now, though. The only problem remaining is a single “highlight” that I forgot to take out, which I’ll fix up as soon as I’m done blogging here. Its done. It’s better. It’s even, dare I say it, good.

Now I just have to find someone willing to represent me so they can find someone willing to publish it. I’ve finished the query letter and two different synopses. I’ve given it a strong resolution and lots of action. I think it has a lot of humor in it. People have laughed, which is always nice to hear. At least, if they’re laughing with you and not at you . . ..

I feel a lot better about the novel. I’ve done everything that I can think to do to make it a fun read. Now I just have to find a way to get it into people’s hands so they can enjoy it. 🙂

But, boy, I am not looking forward to editing the next novel, and I haven’t even written it yet! These rewrites can give you a trauma for life.


Bleh

No editing today, been too sick. Feel like someone drove a truck over me.

The good news is that I’m on page 147 of 253. More than halfway done. The bad news is that my headache is drowning out any sustained thought.

Naptime for me. Novel edits resume tomorrow.


Deep in the Pits of Edit

Sounds sort of like a fantasy novel location, doesn’t it? The Pits of Edit? Add a random apostrophe and it’s Pits of Ed’i’t and it definitely could work as the location for some gratuitous torture scenes.

Anyhow, I’m 1/3 of the way through yet another edit on the novel, codename DV. I am properly ashamed of all the passive voice that I’ve somehow slipped into the work. Really, the amount of limp prose is disheartening.  I feel safe in congratulating myself that it is much better than the prose of several published authors I’ve read. And then I pat myself on the shoulder and assure myself that it’s not bad for a first novel. It’s a very multiple personality sort of job, you know?

I will not be writing much on the blogs until the edit is done. I am hoping to get it done SOON AND VERY SOON but, you know, life has a way of screwing up your plans. I want it to be as good as it is possible for this particular novel to be. Which means no “and then he fell asleep” endings or “and then he woke up” beginnings (except for the unconsciousness scene. That’s staying in there. Cue monster headache in 3, 2,1 .  . .)

Back to the Pits and the torments that the head torturer has devised for me . . . passive voice .  . NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

 


Editing during warfare

The warfare I’m editing under, of course, is the long-term entrenched war being waged against my sanity by my children.

Oi.

I spent all morning taking my middle son to a doctor’s appointment with one of the travelling pediatric specialists that only visits our town once a month. Not the kind of thing you can easily reschedule, if you know what I mean. Two hours in an 7’x10′  examining room with a hyperactive 5 year old and I came out feeling like my brains had been lightly scrambled and sprinkled with chives.

I did have a good experience yesterday evening, however. Well, eventually. First, the air conditioner had to freeze up, my husband had to dismantle it (did I mention it’s right outside our bedroom door?), then he had to clean out 5 years of accumulated filth on the coils and unclog two feet of drain pipe that were totally filled with a jellied sort of slime mold. In our bathtub. Sigh.

So after the tension and the swearing and my scrubbing of the slime mold out of the tub with liberal amounts of Comet cleanser, I sat down at my desk and read the first chapter of my novel out-loud to my 14 year old son.

He liked it. I was able to pinpoint a few clunky paragraphs that will really need to be moved or chopped (lots of backstory) but he asked me an actual relevant question at the end and asked if we could read more of it later. I count that as a success, however slim. One battle in the lifelong war, but since I’m always losing the war, I will take what I can get.

LastPass, the service I use for my passwords, has a new feature that has really put a number on how little time I’ve had this week. It tells you how long it’s been since you’ve last logged on to a site before it fills in your info. Usually, my email logins say something ridiculous like “5 minutes since you last logged on” which is ludicrous, but I admit to obsessive checking when I’m expecting an email. Or when I’m avoiding working. Or, you know, Pinterest.

I sat down at my computer a while ago and it told me “20 hours since your last login.” Wow, almost an entire day. Now I know why my brains feel sauteed.

Not nearly enough screen time.

Or too much butter, either one.

For the sake of full disclosure, I intend to watch FaceOff tonight. Because . . . okay, Syfy finally has a good show that I like! That’s reason enough. *nod* But I’ll actually have real writing time tomorrow, since no one has claimed the hours between 10am and 4pm yet. If I work hard, I can get three chapters edited in that timeframe. Only . . . thirty left to go? Ugh. I feel like I’m losing the war sometimes. Make it four. If I can do four a day, I can get it finished by the 1st of October. Maybe I’ll win the war, after all.