Monday, January 17, 2011

Editing Madness

So you know how if you go for days without sleep you start hallucinating? How your imagination plays tricks and you behave irrationally?

I am beginning to thing the same thing happens when you are at the late end of an editing marathon.


To give you a little perspective...

In October I did a READ AND NOTES toward editing Legacy.

But then I did NaNoWriMo so that doesn't count *cough *

In December I then IMPLEMENTED my November notes on Legacy for 2 weeks

THEN I got agent feedback and had to jump back to an Edit of the Garden Cozy (one week) (and sent it to a couple readers)

THEN I got back to editing Legacy and FINISHED (then sent it to a couple readers)

Just in time to get MORE feedback and do ANOTHER edit to the Garden Cozy...

Then in January I dived into Kahlotus Disposal Site (first read and notes, then edit)

… If I succeed... I will have done 6 rounds of edits on 3 books in 2 months + a bit of October...


Then, I am stubbornly determined to incorporate reader responses and do a polish so by mid February LEGACY is ready to Query... (with my fingers crossed deeply that my agent likes it so the querying isn't necessary) So yeah... That is a lot of editing before I get back to writing 'normally' again (end of Feb I will start my next Garden Mystery).


You might have some grasp why I am getting a little loopy... but I am also LEARNING. So maybe sharing THAT is preferable to sharing my insanity...



Tart's Early view of Editing

(I did this with Confluence 4 times... exactly this...)

Read it through in order... try for better words... fix errors... drop adverbs... 'is this necessary or not?' clean polish, rearrange...

There was NO REWRITING involved. I didn't get it. Like... I REALLY didn't get it.


My CURRENT view of Editing

Start with a big giant holistic thing... (did that the first week)

Make notes about what the big changes are, then MARK THEM (I put them into a chapter summary thing that basically has a one-line of each section, so I knew where I need to add)

NOTE: Adding a big plot point usually means adding 3 or 4 little lead up/planting RELATED mentions before you get to the actual SCENE... it is slow going.

This weekend I would guess I spent 15 hours editing... I worked my way through about 60 pages, but I also WROTE about 6000 new words—about 75% for totally new sections based on my notes. My first draft (because this was a WriMo) was 51,000 words. Now it is sitting at 63,000. I suspect it will be past 65,000 by the time I'm done (which is perfect for a YA, though I have MORE notes to implement after ABNA because I am not so illusioned so as to think one edit is adequate... when it is REALLY done, it will probably be closer to 75,000 words)

I guess my point is NOW I make myself read the thing HOLISTICALLY and think about what the story is missing, and add THOSE things to the draft, then I go through and not only clean up, but write whole new sections.

I am TRYING to apply what Jan did with her edits, which included a synopsis level before the rewrite... write the synopsis, REWRITE the synopsis as you want your story, then apply THAT, but I can't seem to find the discipline to do it.


Now I am not so sophisticated at all this as the super analyzers I've seen—I respect this a lot—breaking it down into what every little piece is doing, identifying all the functions, but think I would just give up the writing completely if I had to think about it at that level. I am not a literary writer, and I think what a suspense writer is concerned with is tension and pace (along with character and plot, but ideally the first I've handled and the second I keep improving with what I am already doing)--the third edit would address those next points...


Results of so much editing:

*  The Diet seems to have fled.
*  The exercise routine is waiting patiently (I did use the elliptical, but only one day)
*  While I bathed, it was only as an excuse to sit in the tub with my stuff...
*  There might have been chocolate consumed.
*  And rum.


That SAID, I am pleased with the progress. I totally need to rewrite the last two chapters, but I've made notes as to what goes in, so I think I can do this tonight.


So how do you all go about editing? A little at a time, or in insane marathons like this?  Any tricks to make it easier?


Verbal Content by Hart Johnson
All book covers designed by Joris Ammerlaan especially for ME! (and if you want to send him some business, you can SEE how good he is, so just shout: I hope to publish traditionally, so may not get to use these, but for anyone self publishing or small indy publishing...)
This blog originally appeared at Confessions of a Watery Tart

If you see it elsewhere, fine, but please drop on in and say hi!


Ha!  As of 1:30 last night... finished this round of editing! It needs another, but hopefully a couple changes and then a POLISH and we will call it good for now...

23 comments:

DCAllen said...

Excellent editing thoughts. This makes me want to do a major re-edit of a novel-length project. I need to put that down as a goal for the spring.

Al said...

Usually a little at a time.
I don't usually have space for marathon editing sessions.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Ha! I've actually got an editing post running tomorrow. My only trick is to make myself more enthusiastic about editing by starting off with the easy stuff before facing major revisions.

Congrats on all the work you've done!

TreeX said...

It's spelled 'holistic', ma'am :)

And thanks for the ad for my covers! =)

Ciara said...

I've done Nano, but never marathon editing. Maybe this is something I should try. Although, I guess in a way I am with the EditPalooza class I'm taking. Good luck! Oh, I'm adding you to the new website blogroll today!!

Hart Johnson said...

Chris-that's my job... drag you into the insanity with me!

Al-I don't think I'd ever get DONE that way...

Elizabeth--I do some easy fixes first, but mostly, once I have stuff into my notes, I go in order again.

Joris--shouldn't be. s'not religious...

Ciara--yeah, EditPalooza sounds like it applies! And THANK YOU! I will have to check out the other mad editors!

Mary Vaughn said...

This is an eye opener! Thanks for showing your way.

Old Kitty said...

I think rum, chocolate and getting NAKED are excellent tips and I can't add anymore to these!
:-)
Good luck with your edits! Take care
x

Carol Kilgore said...

I have no tricks. I do have chocolate. And rum. And a tub. I do the holistic part first, too. Lastly, I wish I wrote as fast as you.

Deb and Barbara said...

As I am right in the thick of this right now, it's a timely question: I am tackling the whole thing holistically (as you say) with an overview of a big big change I want/need to see reflected throughout. And my re-write is focussed on that, although there is a lot of paring down as I go. And chocolate.
B
The Middle Ages

Simon C. Larter said...

Um...whoa. See, I'm going to bow to your superior editing skillz, since, uh...I haven't finished a novel yet to have to edit it. I *will* approve the consumption of rum while editing, though. Congrats on the early am finish, good lady!

Terry Odell said...

I edit each day's work as I go, fixing what I can. Printing copies of pages in a different font helps me catch glitches. When it's time for the full ms read, I print it in another font, and in two columns so it looks totally different. I do about 3-5 chapters at a sitting; otherwise I'm reading story, not catching errors.

Terry
Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

Hart Johnson said...

Mary-yeah... probably not everyone's way... but it seems to work for me (erm. I think)

Jenny-EXACTLY! Always think better Naked...

Carol-I DO write fairly fast, I think, but MOSTLY I think it is because I work on it every day (and this editing I've worked on about 3 HOURS every day, so it doesn't feel so much FAST as concentrated...

Barbara--that was me, too--the BIGGEST thing for me was changing one of my PoVs so this is really Helen's story, but my plot had some big additional tweaks too.

Simon--you will finish... Chances are you will not be nearly as messy when you do... I write fast to avoid tangents and then have a LOT of work to do...

Terry--you must write cleaner than I do because I actually need those story level clean-ups. Love the new font suggestion, though--I will have to give that a try (I read out loud to polish...)

gideon 86 said...

I am exhausted.... Not from my 4000 words yesterday, but from reading this post! Damn! This is some crazy stuff.... lol

Now that I am on my first round of edits, I hope to have less to do. I did try to edit as I went along, but we all know that is not nearly enough!

I just have one small thing to clean up in the story and then I can check for the usual edit stuff... adverbs adjectives, to much description, not enough description... you get it.

Good luck on the final edits, Hart.

Wednesday, sounds good to me. I'll look forward to it.

Michael

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

More than one manuscript to edit would confuse me.
I just go at a steady but slow pace, a little bit a day.

Colene Murphy said...

My favorite part of all this (my head was spinning! Wow!!) was the part where you said you were please!! THAT is most important oh Loopiest of Tarts! So Hurray for that! And I am indeed amazed at your progress. Surely put mine to shame!

Holly Ruggiero said...

Wow, I am impressed that is a giant load of editing. How do you keep you books straight with all those words floating around your head?

Hart Johnson said...

Michael-I am amazed at people who can edit as they go along... I'd never know what to edit... though I DO write mostly long-hand, so I clean up some wording a little as I type.

Alex-see if I didn't start into a new book, I wouldn't be able to WAIT to edit (which I think helps a lot in my ability to see problems)--and I like writing SO MUCH BETTER that I just tend to delay the editing... unless I make myself...

Colene-Pleased FOR NOW! I find I am less and less happy with the one I have out with readers as I do this one... I think it may be a function of 'love the one you're with'

Holly-I only work on one at a time, but serially. The HARDEST switches were the 'feedback have to jump back in' as my mindset was elsewhere and it took a little time to reorient. That is probably a good thing to learn to do, though.

RosieC said...

I, umm... wow. Can I borrow some of your momentum? I seem to be lacking in that arena at the moment.

Congrats on getting so much done. I really hope your editor likes the final product on Legacy.

I haven't quite worked out my editing procedure yet. I'm still a little green in this regard. I appreciate being able to read about your means of attacking it as a model. Again, though, about that momentum...

Danette said...

I am forever in edit mode...

I have an award for you and the other burrowers on my blog!

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I edit like I write, a few hours a day - unless the publisher is making other demands. But I only work on one project at a time.

Lisa said...

Rewrites, revisions, edits! I think I need some more wine.

Adina West said...

My goodness, sounds like you have been insanely busy, which as far as I'm concerned is ample excuse for the consumption of both chocolate and rum.

I agree completely on the holistic editing thing - and can say *blush* in my most recent round of revisions I was working from a revised synopsis (a fairly detailed one) which I then applied to the story. (though in general I don't consider myself particularly disciplined in this regard - more of a pantser) Outlining in advance just for the revisions did take some of the joy out of the process but it also kept me goal-focused.