Welcome to EditLand! 24


“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…

  1. My WIP finally became A First Draft! [ominous  background music]  and…
  2. 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:

  1. Organize all 160K words in the plot outline.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Make sure each scene includes a character insight. How is the character FEELING about what is happening.
  5. Polish setting descriptions.
  6. Replace most of telling with showing.
  7. 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.
  8. Make sure the writing style, voice and POV [if I found it!] are consistent throughout the book.
  9. Make sure the individual characters’ voices are unique
  10. Polish dialogues to make sure they don’t sound stilted and are consistent with the character profiles
  11. Eliminate the most common writing mistakes:
    1. Mannerisms of attribution, punctuation, etc.
    2. Overuse of adjectives, adverbs and descriptions.
    3. Redundancies
  12. Do a final spelling and grammar check
  13. 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??

Please HELP!

Thanks TONS in advance for all your help! You are THE BEST!

 

Thank you for visiting!

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24 thoughts on “Welcome to EditLand!

  • chucklesthescot

    The plan looks very complicated to me and I’m a keep it simple kind of girl! I don’t agree that every chapter needs a hook and cliffhanger…it just needs to flow nicely and keep the reader interested. I personally like chapters that don’t go on for ever as I never stop reading for the night until I finish a chapter. If the chapters are maybe six pages long or similar, I’ll think ‘one more before bed’ and might still be reading an hour later! I like the dialogue to sound like real people having a conversation not full of regional sland I don’t understand or posh English that few people ever use. I enjoy well used tension to hook me and and humour that isn’t a kind of ‘LAUGH NOW’ prompt by the author. And I MUST like the MCs or I DNF. I know this doesn’t help you from the technical side of things but overall I think your book just needs to entertain like this to be a good read.

  • Di @ Book Reviews by Di

    I’m not a writer, so I’m not really sure how to help you with this process, but I am a reader! So I can tell you that a plot outline and making sure everything makes sense without plot holes or development problems is a biggie.

    Setting descriptions are HUGELY important (no pressure) and I’m not sure I agree with “Every chapter should begin with a hook. Every chapter should end with a cliffhanger.” either.

    Consistency throughout the writing style is also important but I know that can be a tough one!

    Being ruthless while editing is super important but I would suggest getting someone to be a sounding board because another POV on your work or on a certain situation can really help. Beta readers are hugely important and I hope that you find the best ones out there!

  • Laurie @ Bark's Book Nonsense

    I’m just a reader but it looks to me like you have everything covered. I don’t know if I agree with the begin each chapter with a hook and end with a cliffhanger either. If a book manages to capture my attention I won’t put it down because a chapter doesn’t end on a cliffhanger. I’ll want to read the thing straight through! Best of luck!

  • Emma

    That’s a lot of writing and work. Good luck with the editing – there is probably some great quote I could give about having nothing to fear but fear itself but think someone already said it. 😊

  • Greg

    Okay that’s actually a pretty cool apocalyptic image. Just sayin. 🙂 I don’t really have anything to add but you seem to have a good plan in place. And first of all, congrats on getting this far, because not everyone does! You have jumped many hurdles my friend, so you got this too. 🙂

  • Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight

    Wow, 160K words! GO YOU! Editing does seem super daunting though. I wouldn’t even know how to start. So I have no advice lol. But having a plan like what you have here sounds like a fantastic idea 🙂 And my go-to for all things writing has always been Janice Hardy’s Fiction University blog, so that is probably where I will go to figure out a plan if I ever reach the editing stage. Or I’ll just come steal yours 😛

  • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    As you know, I’m an editor—and I STILL find editing my own book terrifying. So you can feel good knowing that it’s rough for everyone, not just you. I just got that editorial critique back from the Penguin editor and it’s super exciting and I have all these great ideas based on her feedback—but the step of actually jumping in and putting it all into practice is still pretty darn intimidating. I think there’s this fear that if I put my all into it and it’s still not good enough, then I’ve actually failed (whereas right now, I can just look at all the shortcomings and think, “Well, it’s just a first draft.”). LOL!