I’ve got my tea, my warm bed, and my laptop. Everything is right with my world.
Well, by the time this is posted, it will be Monday, so I expect I won’t be in the same position at all. But oh well.
I realized yesterday that it had been a ridiculously long time since I’d blogged. I missed it. I like writing out what I’ve been doing with my novel. It makes it feel like I’ve been doing something, period! Sometimes it doesn’t feel like I’ve done anything.
In the month of December, I did my first read-through of the manuscript and I sent it out to a friend of mine for her thoughts. She sent me back a lot of encouragement, saying the story could actually work, which I’m excited about. Of course, there’s still a lot of developmental things to fix, and I knew that going in. But I’m not afraid of it anymore. I’m excited to take the journey, to delve deep into my characters and situations and make them as perfect as they can be. They deserve it.
In January, I did my first round of edits.
Well, let me rephrase that: I procrastinated my first round of edits. I put it off nearly 2 weeks until I finally took all 256 pages out of their tidy turquoise binder and separated them into chapters with paper clips.
Then I stared at them. And stared at them.
I had no idea what to do. I’ve never edited a manuscript before! I searched through all my writing books, dozens of websites, and guess what?
No one else does, either.
It’s different for every person. There’s no one set rule saying: THIS IS HOW YOU MUST EDIT YOUR MANUSCRIPT. And that is a terrifying thing for me. I like rules. I like structure. And not to find any when I most needed it made me want to tear my hair out.
I knew, of course, that in the first round, you’re “supposed” to make big-picture changes. Change the ending, change the beginning, add and delete characters, change characters’ behaviors, etc etc. Then maybe you rearrange or combine chapters, then fix plot holes, then edit on the sentence level, then proofread. Or something like that.
I couldn’t do it.
I found myself staring at the editing list I had made for myself and panicking. I knew some of the changes I needed to make, of course. I had done my read-through and written myself copious chapter notes. My critique buddy and I knew what worked and what didn’t. But I couldn’t bring myself to do the big-picture edit. Not yet.
Eventually, something had to be done. The something in question being to kick myself in the pants. I was wasting time, valuable time. The manuscript needed editing. I wanted it to be edited. It could never be queried if it wasn’t edited. So, I edited.
But I didn’t start with big-picture. I took baby steps. My first complete edit was little things. Changing dialogue here. Shaping up a description there. Fixing typos. Mostly what I did was split up large paragraphs. It felt like I hardly did anything, but that’s what I needed from my January. Tiny chunks. And I can honestly say, SOULREADER is better for it.
But now comes the hard part. Now comes February. In February, we move on to big-picture issues, Petra, Xavier, and I. They need to tell me what they want, what they need, and I need to listen. I did a lot of listening when I first created them, back in that coffee shop in September 2013. They demanded their stories to be told. I tried to do them justice as best I could, but it isn’t complete yet. It’s time to stop painting their story to make it prettier. I need to go after their lives with a sharp knife, cutting away everything that’s unnecessary.
If I can get anywhere near those two with a sharp instrument, that is. Doesn’t sound safe, if you ask me.
PS: I’ve updated my Works in Progress page to reflect my current stage of editing, and to add a new future project, SHATTER THROUGH. As always, you can contact me through either of the links on my Contact page.