Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Style and Substance

I'm beginning to believe that writing the first draft of a novel is the easiest part of the whole process. That love/hate relationship with your characters as you meet them and move through the story, discovering all the shiny newness of it; struggling through plot problems but figuring you can "fix that in editing."

Well, now I'm in editing and it is decidedly less exciting than writing the fresh new story. I've never done this before so I have no idea if there's one way that's better than another to attack the task.

What I've started with is a basic read through, making notes in the body of the text with red font in places where I need to make fixes. Those notes also include comments from my critique group about things they noticed may be problems.

Next I'm going to do another read through for bigger issues in plot and character development.

After that I'll get down to brass tacks and attack each chapter individually adding and cutting, modifying language and structure, and fixing any plot or character issues.

I also need to add at least 10,000 words to the manuscript since it's only at about 60,000 right now.

Clearly I've got my work cut out for me, but I'm confident that if I keep my nose to the grindstone I can accomplish my goal. I just hope I don't fall out of love with my characters after so much nitpicking practicality, because I still have two more books to get through with them!

So what's your process? Do you have any suggestions to steamline this editing business?

2 comments:

Cheryl said...

No suggestions, unfortunately. It works for me pretty much there same way. I write a quick summary of the story, or a really rough first draft, and then, to my chagrin, find it keeps morphing in the editing process.

Elizabeth Gilbert has some interesting insight into the writing process which is really helping me...

http://www.ted.com/talks/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius.htm

OfficeGirl said...

I don't really have a process either. It's mostly spastic and hard to follow.
Of course Im squeezing it all in the small moments I have between my long list of responsibilites.
I say just go with the wind!! Edit willy-nilly. It will be like a crazy adventure!