Nov 18 2013

The Love of Bare November Days

I am not NaNo-ing, which means I have the brain power to enjoy these chilly, dead-leaf-filled days and also to see Thor 2 twice because, well, Tom Hiddleston.  It also means I have the extra brain power to angst about Landry Park Two, which has Been Sent Off and is Awaiting Help from the marvelous editor lady.  In the meantime, I’ve been working on a new WIP, which has lots of dead leaves and fog and abandoned buildings (and is decidedly not part of a series.)

There’s a kind of excitement to drafting something New and Completely Different, and it reminds me of why I love writing so much.  There’s always a new project, a new world and new people to daydream about and explore.  And this nascent stage, where it’s all still internal and daydreamy and pure creation–it’s basically like magic.

Speaking of magic, I’ll leave you with some Loki Jazz Hands because, well, Tom Hiddleston.

30 Reasons You're Loki From "Thor"

Nov 9 2012

The Steep, Uneven Steps of Editing

So, this spring, I sold my book.  Yay!  Yay!  Skip ahead to dreaming of covers and blurbs, right?

Well, apparently there is this little in between step from selling your book to seeing your book in print.  Editing.  I had heard of it, yes.  I had edited on my own and with my agent.  But this was something newer and harder and ultimately better…and with considerably more wine involved.

Step one: Editorial Letter.  These seem to vary depending on your editor, but my Editor Lady writes hers almost like a lit analysis paper.  She starts off with encouragement (which I refer back to frequently over the next eight pages), and then lays out possible issues and concerns with possible solutions.

Step two: Wine.

Step three: Wine with Critique Partners.  This is where they pat you on the back and remind of all the places in the letter where Editor Lady says good things.  You don’t believe them and tearfully make plans to return your advance.  They give you more wine.

Step four: Look at Letter Again (still with wine.)  This time, with a clearer head, you can actually see that it isn’t the end of the world.  Actually, it may even be doable.

Step five: Make List of Things to Do (and rank in order from: infinitesimal to I-might-shoot-my-laptop-with-a-rifle.)  So, Editor Lady is like, the best editor ever, and creates the most organized editorial letter known to man, so most of my list work is done for me.  But I still like to rank them in order of their scope.  So:

1. Madeline’s Character Arc

2. Her relationship with David

3. Her relationship with Cara

all the way down to

12. Change her necklace

13. Add the cat into more scenes

This is also best done with wine.

Step six: Work through the list in whatever way works best.  For example, when I did my revise and resubmit with Agent Lady, I worked my way through the list from bottom to top.  With these edits, I followed one line of revision–say Madeline and Cara’s relationship–and fixed it all the way through the manuscript, and then went back and followed another thread all the way through.  By the way, get used to track changes in MS Word.

Step seven: Review and turn back in.

Step eight: MOAR EDITS.  This round, I got a much shorter letter, only a page or two.  Editorial Letter Lite.  There’s less need for wine this time, as these tended to be much smaller scale.  These edits, I just went through manuscript and tackled all of them chronologically as they came up in the story.

Step nine: Review and turn back in.  EVEN MOAR EDITS.  These are called line edits, and they are very small scale.  Rather than an editorial letter, I just got a comment or two in the email with the document, and then comments within the manuscript.  This is where smaller things pop up, like, “Would this character really say this like that?” “You’ve used the word ‘concupiscence’ five times in the last page.  Consider changing?”  This needs even less wine.

Step 10: STILL EVEN MOAR EDITS OH THE HUMANITY.  Contractions.  Diction.  Unnecessarily verbose passages or redundancy.  Wine levels go back up as you cannot look at your manuscript without swearing and threatening to stab it in the eye.

Step 11: Turn it back in, right in time for a hurricane to shutter Penguin’s office for a week.

So that’s the editing process with Editor Lady.  There will be copy edits and first pass pages later, but for now, Landry Park is in her incomparable and insightful hands and I am drafting book 2.  Which, once again, means I need wine.