The Joy Of…

Editing. Even though I write romance novels, you totally knew I was going to say editing.

I spent half of September, and all of October, November, and December editing. Not just normal editing, but the process of turning first drafts into second. It’s been productive as I have turned three different first draft romance novels into second drafts, which tends to be the hardest revision for me.

Some authors a pretty awesome first draft. That would not be me.

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Editing takes me far more time than writing

 

I also did a late draft edit on Knight of Valor. This took about ten days because I’ve been polishing it for a while now.

Progress Ahead

You can always check out my WIP page if you want to see what I’m working on. One of my goals for 2017 is to actually press the publish button on Crowned Prince. Working on finding a good romance cover artist with space for a first-time author now, and I want to do one last edit of it as well. I also need to learn how to format an e-book and use Createspace to make a paperback of it.

Lots of learning ahead!

Rewriting, as hard and messy and unpleasant as it can be, has a certain joy of its own. You get to watch your half formed lump of clay look a little more like David and a little less like that play-doh project your toddler made.

I know lots of people think you plunk down your first draft, then you work through a revision or two as you  fine-tune spelling and punctuation. While that might have worked for my college term papers, I can’t think of a single college term paper I’d have spent precious free-time reading.

I have to confess, I am a bit tired of revising. While I am working through three different stories, I may need to take a break and write yet another first draft I will have to revise later. Still, it’s nice to have a pipeline of stuff to work on, even if it’s not always as exciting as writing new stuff.

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They say writing is rewriting, and I have found it to be true.

Have you found that to be true? Any tricks you use in your rewriting or editing process?

In Search of Word Count

My characters love to talk.

Okay, maybe they don’t, but I’ve had it drilled into my skull that you have to show and not tell. No one wants to read exposition. And that’s mostly true. So if you start your story by jumping right in, how do you give backstory to help explain why your characters are making the choices they are? How do you build the world, especially a fantasy world? The dialogue can’t be stilted either. You can’t hide exposition in, “Bill, as you know . . .” Well, I suppose you can, but why even bother with the cover of dialogue?

But if two characters have never met before and are thrown together in an intense situation? This might be an opportunity to let them talk to each other and see if some of those details come out.

I worked very hard to make the dialogue flow like real conversations. That was one thing I received a head nod on from those that have helped me with the story. People sounded like people. The conversations felt like you were eavesdropping.

However, as I was working on adding details so the characters aren’t hanging out in sensory deprivation chambers, I realized I had a critical scene where the two protagonists really talk to each and open up to each other and . . . it’s too long. The timing is inappropriate given the conflict in the story.

So, what was supposed to be an easier rewrite of adding some texture to the manuscript just took a turn. I need to cut the scene in half, at least. Then, I need to figure out which of the cut pieces needs to get shuffled elsewhere and which I need to let go. I had sort of known this in the back of my head as I’d been editing it before, but I glossed over it and lied to myself that it wasn’t that long.  Not willing to lie to myself as I prep this to start querying it.

My issue is compounded by the fact that I was trying to get to 80,000 words on this manuscript. I thought I was at 76,000 to start with, but I couldn’t find that file. No idea where the 76,000 came from (wishful thinking?), but the largest file I found was 71,000. Reading through it, I’m pretty sure that is the latest version. Even with all of the sensory description I’ve added, I am still not to  76k. Cutting this dialogue scene eats another few thousand.

But, it’s the right thing to do. So I’m doing it.

I’m approximately 30% of the way through the story, so there is the possibility I will find enough blank rooms and hurried transitions that need fixing to get me to 80k.

If not, I’ll have to take a hard look at the work and decide if the story needs something else, and not just for word count.

I did say that my work starts with a skeleton and I build from there.