Sunday, May 6, 2012

I Must Have Been High

Seriously, have you read Aeris?  Have you?  I knew it would be rough.  I did.  But MAN ALIVE I HAD NO IDEA.

Honestly, I don't know if I was on crack when I wrote it or what, but IT NEEDS SO MUCH WORK!!!  Like 5 or 6 edits per kindle page(that's at LEAST, most of the time it's whole blocks of text that need work). 

Some people have problems with the words: writer's block or story structure.  They doubt themselves, their work languishes.  The words have never really been a problem for me.  No, the editing is where my big doubts hit.  I look over my work and shudder.  "This is awful!"  "What was I thinking?"  "This makes no sense!"  "How can I call myself a writer?!?!?!"  

It certainly doesn't help that I've read so many awesome and amazing books lately!  All I can do is read my words and fret over my characters not being kick butt enough, my stories not being action-packed enough, that my readers (the ones who've emailed to tell me how excited they are about the new book) will HATE where I've gone with the story line.  I don't want them to feel like I've let them down.

Anyway, to get my mind off of my troubles, let me tell you about my process for editing.  I've recently made a couple of changes, too, thanks to Elizabeth May and her FABULOUS ENTRY ON EDITING and also, if you're a glutton for punishment take a look at her really educational First Page Edits HERE and HERE.

I'm not that far yet.  I'm still in the early stages of my process.  The first thing I do with a book when I finish the rough draft is put it aside.  I sent it to beta readers.  I think about the overall arch of the story.  What are my character's motivations and does my plot reflect that?  Is there anything I put in that doesn't make sense for the story?  How will this book move me along toward Terris?  All of my musings are mental.

Then I start making notes in my Wonder Woman notebook (which is dedicated to all my Five Tribes scribblings.  Scrivener, anyone?).  I wait for the feedback.  With each passing comment, I get a sharper image of what I need to do to improve the book.  

I finally open the book again for myself.  It's been interesting this time around, because some of this stuff I haven't read in a YEAR, so it is totally foreign to me.  So I do a quick format job on my book (OMG, I HATE .mobi, did I mention that?  I have scads and scads of random paragraphs in italics, for no apparent reason!) and start reading.

Here is where I started to feel bad for my beta readers, because IT'S SO LONG!!!  It takes me an hour to get through 5 percent of the book, and I'm a fast reader.  I think it's gotta be close to 500 pages.  Holy crap?  Did that come out of my brain??  Using kindle notes and highlights, I mark the rough draft up for changes.  

What are my trouble spots to look out for?  Bad words: just, like, as, SO, basically, really, likely, and barely.  I keep my eyes out for adverbs (those bad TELLING -lys): softly, angrily, roughly, wistfully.  I don't have a huge problem with them, because I've become good at training myself out of using them when I write.  -ING on the other hand.  What a nightmare!  I'm like an addict.  So I mark those up.  I highlight anything that seems confusing or doesn't make sense.  I highlight stuff that is repetitive, or gives away any surprises I might have coming up.  I mark passages that are too passive or places where there is too much dialogue and not enough description.  Basically, my rough draft is a plethora of notes to myself.

And that is where I'm at right now.  The book took longer to read than I thought, so I will have to push back my editing deadline.  I'm thinking that it won't get done till the end of next week.  At which point it goes off to the proof reader and I get started on some of the other things on my list.

Happy Reading!

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