4

How I Edit

Well, hello there. I think it’s time I gave you guys a proper post, don’t you agree? I’m sorry for the silence, but silence means I’m working on things. Lots and lots of things that I think you will enjoy. Mainly, I wrote the sequel to The Sight Seer! Yep, from June 8th to August 12th, I was hard at work on the first draft. It took me longer to write than Seer did, and I had my moments of, “THIS IS SO BAD WHAT AM I DOING?!” but that always happens. To every writer. You just can’t let it get to you. In the end, I kept plugging along, and I’m pleased with the results.

So what happens after I finish a first draft? Revisions! Lots and lots of revisions! Every author is different, of course, but I thought I could share my process with all of you. The first thing I do after finishing a first draft is take a break! Writing takes its toll on me; I have trouble sleeping (I have lots of crazy, vivid dreams), and sometimes it’s difficult for me to form coherent sentences. My brain obviously needs some time off, so that’s exactly what I do. Watch some TV. Read a book or two. Relax. Don’t even think about the manuscript that’s sitting on my computer, ready to be revised. This time around, I had something else to work on, so I finished that first, and then started on my edits. For the first time ever, I loaded my first draft on my Kindle, and read it off of there. And what a difference it makes! I do not enjoy staring at a computer screen for hours on end, so when I edit, I can only do a few chapters at a time. Plus, you know, there’s tons of things to distract me (Twitter, email, Facebook etc.). My Kindle has no distractions, and the screen does not hurt my eyes at all, so I can easily edit a huge chunk at a time. And I think it’s easier for me to find typos (missing/incorrect words, especially). Because my computer is full of distractions, I end up writing any changes I want to make in a notebook. I’m probably doing double work here, because then, later, I have to open the document and find the spot I want to change, rather than change it the moment I see it, but like I said, DISTRACTIONS. This way, I’m avoiding them altogether. Searching the document for the changes isn’t that horrible, in all honestly. I’m going to continue using my notebook (I even took advantage of a great back-to-school sale and bought a new one!), because that method works the best for me.

So I do this for the entire manuscript. What’s next? Sending it off to my beta. She reads it, fixes any typos, and tells me what does and doesn’t work. After she finishes, we discuss what doesn’t work in detail, and I will rewrite whole scenes if I have to. I send her those newly written scenes, and we hammer them out until we both agree they finally work. In a perfect world, I would just send her the manuscript and she would read it and say, “Everything is great, no changes are necessary!” But of course that would never happen. Sometimes, I can’t get a scene the way I want it until I discuss it with her. I’m very thankful to her and all her helpful input!

After I receive all of her edits, I then go back to my manuscript and start making changes (I should mention that these are all saved on my computer as different files. The first draft is the raw, unedited version. The second draft is the one I make corrections to. The third draft is the one I make corrections to using her suggestions. I like looking at the different drafts; sometimes there will be something in the first draft that I deleted for the second one, but decided to put back in the third draft. You don’t want to lose this stuff forever, because you never know when you might need it again!). This doesn’t take as long, and doesn’t require my Kindle. However, once those changes are in place, I will reread it one more time (with my trusty notebook by my side)! It’s only after that do I start passing it on to other people.

It’s a long process, as you can see. I’ve been asked about the sequel, and I wish I had a date, but as of right now, I do not have one. The story needs to be edited and approved and all that fun stuff before I’m given a date. As soon as I know it, I’ll let you guys know. Until then, it’s back to work! And hopefully I’ll remember to post more often.

2

Changes and ideas.

Hey guys! I’m still here. I wish I had a reason for my silence, like I was writing another book or something equally exciting but, I don’t. Sorry. I have, however, started rereading the manuscript I wrote early last year while querying (I wrote to distract myself from the stress of querying. Anyone else do that?). I decided to change a couple of minor details, and while I could have gone to the specific scenes and changed them rather easily, I decided to refresh my memory of the story and characters and start from the beginning. On Sunday, I only had time to read two chapters. Last night, I read over fifty pages as I found myself sucked into the world once more. This story, a YA fantasy, was meant to be a standalone, but all day today I was playing around with ideas for a potential sequel. I did this last year too, while writing it (and afterwards, too!), but I never jotted any of them down because… Well, I don’t know why. I’m pretty sure after I finish my reread, I’ll make some notes this time around. And we’ll see what happens!

4

The Perfectionist Problem.

Being a bit of a perfectionist, it’s impossible for me to send my beta an incomplete manuscript. Oh no, I need to have the whole thing written, edited, revised, and edited again before I can send it to her. And even then, if it’s not quite where I want it to be, I get all nervous, knowing she’s reading something that’s not, well, perfect.

Which is so ridiculous.

Take my current manuscript. Novel Number Nine. I wrote the first draft and then went back and proceeded to rewrite a huge chunk of it. There are still a few parts that I’m not completely happy with, but after writing some chapters two, three times, I knew I needed a fresh pair of eyes to look at it. She’s currently reading through it for the first time, letting me know which parts don’t work. Those parts are usually the ones I had problems with, and after emailing one another back and forth, I’m able to finally turn the scenes into what I want them to be. The whole process is actually a lot of fun, too!

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to write a chapter and pass it on to her just like that, without having the rest of the story written. Once a perfectionist, always a perfectionist. But at least I’m now able to pass along a flawed story without feeling (too) uneasy about it!