Monday, February 21, 2011

The Editing Mess

Move this, fix this, cut this, what on earth was I thinking, need more here, doesn't work here! ...

I spent my weekend working on short stories for various publications or contests just for the heck of it and for the sheer fact that I feel that I'm honing my writing skills. One of those short stories is for a writing contest on where the prize is nothing more than bragging rights. But, my daughter liked it so much she's requested I turn it into a novel. I may move into that area in the future. As for now I'm working on the top line of this post.

Today marks the beginning of the editing process on Midnight Raynne. I've been thinking about what needs to be fixed, what needs to be cut, what needs to be expanded upon, and what needs to be changed all together. This novel is different from my first novel in many ways. But, most importantly I have been better able to step back from it and see what needs to be changed. My first novel, Stone Magic, I didn't want to change too much. I doubt that story will ever see a publisher. You never know, though.

So, for Midnight Raynne I created a lovely spreadsheet where I can look scene by scene at it and decide what's wrong. Unfortunately, today I was not focused enough to get started first thing on the editing process. I will sit down during nap time and mess with this spreadsheet.

Recently I discussed plots, I am going to review Midnight Raynne for plot first. My thinking is why go line by line and make sure all the little errors are fixed before I fix the big ones. I might cut out an entire scene that I spent an afternoon line editing. So, for that reason I am using my trusty Save the Cat and Story helpers this week.

I hope to have the plot polished in the next couple of weeks. I'm not sure how long this will actually take as I have never really gone this far into the editing process. As I said before when I edited my first novel I didn't want to change enough of it to really make it good. Maybe down the road I will, but for now I'm focused on Midnight Raynne and making it reader ready.

What is the first thing you focus on when you start editing? I'm curious as to what the most important component is to other writers.


  1. Hi Heather-
    I start with reading sections/chapters out loud as I edit. That usually helps with glaring errors, awkward sentences, and poor word choice. Adding/deleting scenes and filling plot holes comes next for me.

    Good luck with your revisions!

  2. I read through the whole thing and look for consistency/logic stuff. Like which bits stick out as 'wtf?' moments. In my first novel, I remember when I read through it one character went to get her car from the carpark, but she'd taken a taxi to the hospital... wtf?? haha, love those bits! I've just started using index cards and pinning them to my wall to make sure I have the structure right, once that's done, I hone in on smaller things. Start with the big issues and work my way down.

    It's funny that you said you weren't read to push your first novel - I have certainly felt the same way. The more I grow as a writer, the more I am willing to work to make things just right.

    Good luck :-)

  3. Amanda,

    Thanks for stopping by. I love to read it out loud when editing. I feel like a fool and my family looks at me like I'm crazy. It's wonderful! Thanks for the luck.

  4. Cassie,

    It is funny the mistakes we find in our writing. I created a crazy spreadsheet that goes beat by beat, scene by scene, act by act. It's long, but it gives me a great overview of where things are going. Most of all I do feel like I'm more willing to change things to make it better.

    Thanks for visiting. :-)