My Novel: A 100,000 Word Jig-Saw Puzzle

I’m just about halfway through editing the manuscript of the first draft of my novel. I’ve written more extensively about my editing process before, but the long and short of it (for new readers or those who missed it before) is that I printed off the first draft and went through it for months with a pen and wrote myself notes, made corrections, crossed things out, drew arrows, and things of that nature. That was also my first true reading of the novel.

Now I’m taking that manuscript and reading it a second time, only now I’m doing it while writing the second draft. I went back to square one. I’m not editing in the document, I’m straight up re-typing everything. I’m glad I’m doing this because it’s helping me catch errors and I’m seeing where plot lines need to be developed. It’s tiresome at times, but I don’t let myself copy and paste anything from the original document. I don’t even open it up. Sometimes I’ll go through material that I didn’t mark in the manuscript, but as I’m retyping, I’ll think to myself that it still needs work and I’ll end up making changes. This is why I continue to love my editing process (which is good, since I’m the one using it). I’m always “getting it” just a little bit more. And by “it”, I mean that je ne sais quoi that comes with writing, which is so multi-faceted. Continue reading

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Getting My Editing Groove On

Being that I never really took my writing all that seriously before (at least, not when I was old enough to *actually* take it seriously. Sixth grade doesn’t count), I didn’t really have a method in place for editing. In college, my idea of editing creative writing was to take all the copies of my work that were given back to me in workshops, go through, and make a few changes. I really didn’t put a lot of time and effort into it. I attribute this to many things, and as I’ve mentioned before, a lot of it had to do with losing that spark (on account of being a busy college student and also coming to despise the egomaniac who was teaching the majority of my fiction classes). I never went back through and took a good look at what I’d written because I never cared much about most of it. I only really remember a handful of pieces.

The whole time I was writing my NaNoWriMo novel, I didn’t think about editing. My goal was just to get to 50,000 words. Once I made it there, my goal became to actually finish writing it. I was a little unsure for a while, but when it became clear that I was going to finish writing it, I started thinking about editing. I guess my pattern of decision-making has been kind of linear in that respect. I ended up leading myself right into a process of editing that I hadn’t considered, but it’s working out really well for me. It’s forcing me to not only go back through my work, but to interact with it, as well. Continue reading

Someone’s Writing Again (Hint: It’s Me)

I told you last week that I’d be back with new posts about writing. Lucky for you, I make good on my promises. I have this post to write now, and another one already working its way to the front of my brain. Look for it in a day or so.

A while back, I got all excited because I finished my novel. To be more exact, I finished the first draft of it. I had and continue to have the best of intentions regarding the editing process, but despite my initial enthusiasm and the purple editing pens that I love, I have a hard time getting myself to actually actively edit. I’ll go on editing sprints that span a few days, and then nothing for weeks. I just haven’t been able to find my stride with it. I had it printed and bound because I can’t edit directly on a computer screen. I need to flip back and forth between physical pages and put sticky notes all through it. I like being able to see what I’m changing. It’s helping me develop an eye for my own work, which is something I’ve always struggled with. It’s helping me gain more confidence in myself as a writer. It’s helping me understand Craft (with a capital C).

It’s making me hate my novel.

Recently, I was talking to a friend about this. He told me that he and other writers he’s talked to experience this. As they revise, they hate it less. I’m hoping this happens for me, because I’m starting to fear that I’m going to abandon my beloved novel. As soon as I write that, I know I won’t do it because I don’t typically quit that easily. I will whine and complain and bitch and moan about it to anyone who will listen. I’ll shed tears. And then I’ll stand up with Beyonce and keep on survivin’. Continue reading