“To write is human, to edit is divine.” — Stephen King
I wrote 160K beautiful words in five years. Well, at least they are beautiful TO ME. They are my babies 🙂
I wrote most of then in the last two years, when I started to write regularly and realized writing was not a hobby anymore. I WAS A WRITER. So, I got serious about it. I participated in three NaNoWriMo Camps and, two things came out of all of it…
- My WIP finally became A First Draft! [ominous background music] and…
- A terrified thing, sitting in the corner, shuddering, biting her nails, staring at her MS and thinking…
OMG. NOW. WHAT??
Editing. Right? We all know that’s the next step.
But, still, I AM TERRIFIED. Because, OMG, I have NO IDEA what I’m doing! [there is even disclaimer about editing on my About Page]
And Stephen King says…“To write is human, to edit is divine.”
So, YUP! Terrifying!
I’ll definitely invest in professional editing services once I hear my Beta Readers say…
OH. MY. GOOOOD. THIS IS THE BEST BOOK I HAVE EVER READ
[Because that may happen people! You’d never know!]
Hell, I’ll do it even if they tell me that is not the most terrible book they have ever read 🙂
[because I didn’t write for FIVE years for nothing! Humph!]
BUT I could probably DIE of shame if anyone read this first draft the way it is. It’s like one of those horror books about other dimensions where nothing is what is supposed to be, or where is supposed to be, and nothing makes sense at all.
So, I HAVE to do this people. I HAVE to cross EditLand and I AM SCARED.
One of favorite dark urban fantasies books, Sanctum, by Sarah Fine has this scene were lost souls are entering through the gates of this horrific place and two guys are ushering them in while screaming: “Welcome to the suicides gates!”
That’s exactly how I picture EditLand. Dark, wrecked, grunge, desolated… A dystopian/apocalyptic wasteland.
I’m standing there by myself, like an oracle, knowing what is going to happen. Knowing that there will mayhem and murdering and that many of my darlings, the ones I gave birth after long hours of painful labor, will not survive. And I will be the one killing them and I will be doubting myself in every step of the way because I have never done this before.
BUT, MAN, I LOVE THIS IDEA SO MUCH!
Because I think I can do this!
The same way I survived five horrifying years of writing, often staring a blank page and thinking “OMG I SUCK AT THIS”, that same way I will survive EditLand!
Because again, of course, I have a Machiavellian plan.
BUT, the question is HOW GOOD IS IT?
If you ask my inner egomaniac, of course it is THE BEST plan ever devised by a writer. But THANK GOD I know by now I need to ignore her and ask for help, add more steps to her original plan:
- Organize all 160K words in the plot outline.
- Make sure that after all this reorganization, my Four Act Structure still makes sense. Identify crucial plot holes or character development problems. Here is where the first wave of mayhem will take place. Whatever doesn’t fit the main outline or the characters profiles, will be executed. NO MERCY.
- Break everything into scenes and polish transitions. I have heard this advice often: “Every chapter should begin with a hook. Every chapter should end with a cliffhanger.” However, I’m not sure I totally agree with it.
- Make sure each scene includes a character insight. How is the character FEELING about what is happening.
- Polish setting descriptions.
- Replace most of telling with showing.
- Streamline the narrative by saying more with less and making sure every word, sentence, paragraph and scene has a purpose, either advances the plot or story/characters arcs, describes a setting, etc.
- Make sure the writing style, voice and POV [if I found it!] are consistent throughout the book.
- Make sure the individual characters’ voices are unique
- Polish dialogues to make sure they don’t sound stilted and are consistent with the character profiles
- Eliminate the most common writing mistakes:
- Mannerisms of attribution, punctuation, etc.
- Overuse of adjectives, adverbs and descriptions.
- Do a final spelling and grammar check
- Listen to my MS and repeat ALL steps if need. [I guess I’ll have to get a computer’s built-in speech synthesis function! ]
So my beloved writers and bookworms… help! You KNOW about books. Books are YOUR THING. What else should I add to this list??
Thanks TONS in advance for all your help! You are THE BEST!
Thank you for visiting!