Moments in Editing: That Paper-Wasting Stage

I’m back to that paper-wasting stage of editing, where I print out the whole danged novel, read it out loud slowly and scribble directly on the paper. As I’ve said in the past, this has always been the best way for me to get my thoughts out, and also to make sure I actually fix the mistakes I see rather than just let my eyes pass over them. I need it, so I don’t feel bad, plus I recycle everything afterward, so I feel even less bad.

I like this stage of my editing. I’ve gone through already to fix plot and character problems, I’ve already did the really hard parts of trying to make myself as clear as possible. So now, as I read, I find the little things. Weird spacing, misspelled words, changing the wording a little when I need a pronoun instead of a proper noun or I accidentally rhyme.

wp-1470924179811.jpgThere are some times when I cross out sentences and paragraphs, because I can see where they aren’t needed, or I rewrite a phrase to make it sound just a tad bit better. But mostly, I find myself enjoying my story, feeling satisfied with the flow of the words, and with the emotions that it seems I just maybe finally got across clearly.

I like this stage of my editing because, for now at least, it feels like the hard work is done. I can enjoy what I’ve written, and feel confident that this is something that other people will like, that other people will read, that other people will publish.

And that’s why I have to hurry up and finish editing, so I can send this puppy out before my self-esteem comes crashing down again.

Writing Problems: Rebooting a Story

So the writing project I’m currently putting the majority of my energy into is a novel I began late in my junior year of college. It started as an end of year assignment for an Adolescent Literature Class, and two semesters later morphed into an independent* study with my professor. I worked on it for a while after college, shaped it up as best I could, then tried to find an agent. I failed several times, lost hope, then shelved it.

I used this novel to get into Lesley, but even then I didn’t work on it for years, choosing instead to focus on a new project, Speaksong. Then, about halfway through my graduate degree, I sent the old novel, whose memory still haunted me, to my current mentor to see what he thought. His conclusion: the beginning was kind of boring, but the last third was interesting. Hmm. So I sat on that for a while. I finished my degree, finished Speaksong, started shipping that out to people. Worked on other stuff. But this old novel kept forcing its way up in my mind, until finally I couldn’t ignore it any more. It was time to give it another try.

This is what I knew I had to do when I started on this reboot. First, I needed to shorten the novel. I realize now how repetitive and boring some parts really are, and also I need to get to that interesting final third faster, before I lose the readers. This novel, (originally called Becky since titles are hard but now tentatively named Fairy Story) clocked in at over 40,000 words. I figured I need to shoot for cutting out about 10,000. I also wanted to experiment with changing how the magic in this story (because it’s fantasy, obviously) works.

How am I doing this? I’m retyping the beast, word by word. I’ve split the screen in Scrivener, and am typing as I read through it, figuring out what needs to be altered, what should be rearranged, and what I need to slash out entirely. This involves a lot of scrolling up and down, typing things verbatim, and also writing entirely new scenes to make sure the new parts of the plot connect correctly.

Is it working? Going by chapter numbers, I’ve sliced out two complete chapters. But going by the word count, It’s looking like I’ve ditched at last 5,000 words, more than half of my 10K goal. And I think things are zipping along at a faster pace. I’m getting it down to the meat. Parts are certainly clunky, but I plan on going through at least one more read-through, retooling passages and doing line edits, before I send it off to some critique buds. I’m also clipping along through this process a lot faster than I thought — it’s much easier to cut whole chunks of writing when you haven’t looked at something for years. I’ve got more of the distance I really needed, along with the knowledge I gained in my MFA program, to pick out the horrible writing and useless scenes I thought were so good and so important a long time ago. It might not succeed in the end — the whole story could wind up tossed aside, gathering digital dust in my hard drive — but it could.

Have you ever tried to rewrite something you tossed years ago? Was it worth it?


*Three tries and then I went to spell check. Why can’t I spell this word??



New Reviews – Garden Sky, Alice in Wonderland, Pink Innocent & Megatokyo

Egads, I’ve fallen behind with this. It’s been a crazy, awful week, so I just kept forgetting to post new reviews. Even with two weeks, there hasn’t been too much added up.

Alice in Wonderland Campfire Graphic Novel

For Suite101, I posted a review for Garden Sky from Digital Manga and Alice in Wonderland from Campfire. To my surprise, Garden Sky was awarded my first ever Editor’s Choice award! Doesn’t do a whole lot for the PVs, but is wondrous for the ego.

Two reviews were posted on Mania: Pink Innocent Vol. 2 and Megatokyo Vol. 6. I think both turned out well. Now I need to finish a review for a manhwa for Mania, but hopefully that will be sent out for tomorrow.

Megatokyo Vol. 6

I work a few less work hours next week, so I hope to get more than a couple reviews done. On top of that, I definitely have to get edits for Speaksong underway and finish imputing some edits to Becky. I’ll have to send my work into Lesley in a couple months, and I’m just so, so nervous that what I send in will somehow not be good enough.

Too Many Projects

I think I have too many writing projects going on. Doesn’t seem like a lot, but for me more than just a couple of important things can get a bit overwhelming. I tend to concentrate really hard on a couple things at a time, meaning that some stuff I work on falls to the wayside for a bit. Two examples right now: typing Jordan into the computer and actually finishing writing Speaksong have been getting utterly ignored in favor of editing Becky and writing articles.

The biggest problem with doing this is that it’s hard to get back into the flow of a story when I’ve been away from it for a while. I forget what characters sound or think like, sometimes I even forget what I meant to DO. And I really should start working on Speaksong again, since I want to submit part of that for criticism when I start at Lesley. But, I can’t ignore Becky edits, and I really love writing the articles, too.

This whiny post is basically just so I can tell myself to stop procrastinating and wasting time (I waste a lot of time) and just work on all these things, because no matter how the day’s been I feel accomplished if I’ve managed to finish writing goals for the day.


No new articles this weekend, most likely. We’ll be down in Connecticut until Saturday and the day job takes up Sunday. I’ll at least get something read and ready to review for Monday, though.

Suite 101 Articles

I’ve started to get into a better pattern of writing my creative stuff. I also think I’ve about finished editing Becky–for now. I almost just want it published so I won’t be worrying over it any more.

I got quite a few more Suite 101 articles written over the past week:

I got a few more article ideas from going to Anime Boston, so hopefully I get to writing those out today.