My journey through the world of writing and everything that lies in between…

Posts tagged ‘editing’

Editing Hurts My Brain

And my eyes too. My poor little eyes. πŸ˜›

I’m one of those writers. The kind that gets obsessive about it. I get completely sucked into the story and time passes by so quickly that I don’t even realize it until my eyes feel like they’re going to fall out.

Of course, it’s a good thing that I’m able to devote that attention to it. It’s kind of like a weird addiction…like I can’t stop thinking about changing and adding and deleting scenes to make it better. It’s easier for me to get into it compared to writing the rough draft.

Guess I’m doing it right. πŸ™‚

ClichΓ©d Beginnings

So I was going through my critiques for my first chapter, as I’m trying to edit it enough to submit to a few contests–and I got one crit that said the beginning started too late.

This makes me giggle a bit as the last draft I wrote I started it way too early. Anyway, it was only one crit out of half a dozen that said that. Still, I decided to try and rewrite a new beginning, following this person’s suggestions.

This person suggested I start it right as Naomi’s mother was dying…I’ve done this once before and it seemed cliche to me. I rewrote it again and guess what? It still sounds overused.

To me, it’sΒ  similar to the whole beginning where the person has a dream and wakes up, etc. I could be wrong though. I did see what this person was saying, although now I’m not sure how to do it. I did rewrite it with a deathbed scene but…meh. It doesn’t work and I think I’m going to ignore it. I may input some info in as a brief flashback but that’s it.

Anyway, what do you feel about deathbed openings?Β  What are some other cliched openings that you can think of?

Editing: On Screen or On Paper?

I printed off my chapter for critique today and it’s amazing how many errors I find once it’s on paper as opposed to on the computer screen.

I’m not sure why that’s the case with me. I tend to find more errors and more ways of clarifying something in a sentence or paragraph when I have an actual pen in hand. This doesn’t seem to be the case when I’m editing another person’s work though–only my own.

I’ve come to the conclusion that once this draft is done, I am printing it all out. Then I will go over it on hard copy as well as on screen too. Yes, that seems like infinitely more work but I think I’ll find more this way. At least, this is what I am planning.

I wonder–are there other writers out there who do this? Let me know what you end up doing in the editing process–I’m curious πŸ™‚

Quick Edit? Not So Much

Ok, so that “quick edit” that I mentioned in the last entry took longer than I thought πŸ˜›

I should’ve finished it shortly after that entry and then I realized I had another obligation that was on a deadline. So that took precedence until yesterday afternoon and then family came over in the evening, so I really didn’t get to “edit” it until about 11 p.m. last night.

And then I re-read it over and felt uneasy about a huge section of it. It didn’t seem to fit the culture; it actually seemed a little exaggerated. I brought it up to my hubby and he agreed with me. So then I was up until nearly 1 in the morning trying to fix it. I didn’t get it fixed well enough until this morning (while I had slow time). Even now, it could stand to use more editing but I think that will have to wait until I’m going through the novel.

It’s funny how easily I can get sidetracked. Such is the story of my life πŸ˜›

Trying to be Positive

Being optimistic about things is hard for me. Unfortunately I tend to be pessimistic and cynical by nature, although not nearly as much as I once was (thankfully!).

Anyway, I am trying my best to apply this to my writing. If I focus too much on the negative, it takes the desire away. And I don’t want that to happen!

Of course there are times when I may be too frustrated or upset about continuing my book. For example, the whole name change thing was highly discouraging, but I wanted desperately to fix it and focused on that. I believe I may have decided on Kaiyo’s new name: it will be Naomi. I think it’s a good representation of my character; not only was it a common enough name used in Victorian times, but I’ve also heard it’s a Japanese name as well. So what better name to choose for my character who is part of two cultures? It may not mean “forgiveness” like I wanted, but that’s ok; I believe the story is going in a slightly different direction.

Another frustrating moment came yesterday when I began thinking about the actual story catalyst. I couldn’t quite figure how to word a short blurb about it, and that made me think that there’s a great deal of re-focusing to do. I then decided to try and edit my chapter that’s up for critique soon (I need to have it posted by next Thursday) and I realized I pretty much have to write the entire chapter again. Not a big deal though; I’ve had to do that for the past three. Oh well; it was written during NaNo last year; I’m certain most are going to need to be re-done.

I’m not giving up though. I’ve invested too much time in this story to be deterred or to trunk it. I just have to keep the creative juices flowing and hope that it will all be cohesive at some point.

Name Change

It looks like I may have to change the name of my MC in my book.

Apparently, it’s not accurate to the language. That’ll teach me to ever trust any name website πŸ˜› I remember when I first went searching for a name, I looked to see if there were other sites that had the same on it. They did, but apparently they must have copied off of one another for they were all wrong.

This is why I should stick to keeping my stories set in an English speaking country πŸ˜›

Anyway I am really grateful to the writer who pointed this out to me (they currently live in Tokyo and have for some time). I’d much rather get the name changed now than have it historically and culturally inaccurate.

I did ask my other friend who speaks Japanese what she thinks, but I am still waiting for a response. It’s going to be difficult to see my MC as anything other than Kaiyo, but I am sure I can do it.

I have a few names that could be possible. I am leaning towards just giving her a standard Victorian era name since her mother was American and it would be more likely that she has a Western name. Some of the ones I thought about were: Eliza, Rose and Naomi. The last one would be a good name because that’s also a name that is Japanese as well. I’m not sure which fits her best though, if any at all.

Sigh. It’s a bit frustrating, but I’m sure there will be many more moments like this in the course of writing and editing this book.

JanWriMo and Critiques

Yes, that is an obvious play on the famous NaNoWriMo. But I’m participating in a mini-novel writing challenge amongst a few of my writing buds over at FaithWriters. There’s no specific goal per se–we each have our own. Mine is to get this first draft of mine finally completed. So hopefully this will help me πŸ˜›

I also have to get back into my critique group. Our group has been on a sort of hiatus since late October, mainly because of NaNo and then the holidays. We’re doing things differently this year. We have to submit our chapters two weeks ahead of time instead of one and write a synopsis up to that current point in our novel. The latter of the two won’t be too difficult–I already have a pretty extensive chapter outline and it’s easy to modify to fit the constant changes I keep making. The first part won’t be too bad–except I’m already up two weeks from this coming Thursday so I need to work on fixing my chapter for this time. I get to be a bit of a perfectionist, so it tends to take me a few days…and even then, it’s not “perfect.” But what is really? No matter how many modifications I may make, I can’t please everyone–I can only get as close as I can to tightening my writing. S

My last critique I had went very well–probably the best I’ve had. I only had a few minor comments and most were on grammatical things (grammar is NOT my friend, even though I was an English major). But it also took me a good week to edit it πŸ˜› So I know I have it in me, I just have to devote the time to it. That’s normally what it comes down to–breaking that procrastinator within me and ignoring the excuses that pop up in my brain.

So today, I have to at least start editing the chapter for Thursday’s submission deadline. IΒ  remember the last chapter that was critiqued but I can’t seem to remember what happens in the next chapter…guess I’ll find out soon!

Writing Goals for 2009

I realize the time for a New Year’s resolution is a few weeks away, but it’s on my mind now so I figured I’d write while it’s on the forefront.

My goal for this year is to get my first draft researched, edited and completed enough that I can start sending out queries by the end of the year.

I’m this close to typing “the end” with the book. I wrote about 700 more words today, bringing me closer to the goal. I’m not sure exactly how much is left–guessing between 7-10 chapters–but I’m not entirely sure on that so I’ll just say that I’ll finish when I finish. πŸ˜›

Yesterday at my critique group organizational meeting, we made goals and changes for the year to help things move along better.Β  We used to submit our chapters or sections a week ahead of time, but the majority of the group was having a hard time getting things read and critiqued well in that time span since two people per week were normally critiqued (there are only seven of us). We decided to make submissions due two weeks ahead of our critique date, giving everyone plenty more time to do a thorough reading.

My first session is January 22nd, meaning I need to have something up by the end of the first week in January. So I really need to get this book done, so I can go back and focus on editing the chapter that’s up next–it generally takes me a week to do that πŸ˜›

We also decided that we should post a running synopsis of our book up to that point so that if we have to skip a week here and there, we aren’t lost. I found this great idea because a good chunk of my book is changing (at least from what they’ve already read) so instead of submitting new or redone chapters that take place a good deal before where they left off, they won’t be confused and I won’t get comments about continuity πŸ˜› This should be fairly easy to do as I have a running chapter synopsis anyway.

That’s pretty much all we’ve changed for the year, but it should make things easier for all of us.

Anyway, I am wondering (and worrying slightly) about the monumental task of research waiting for me at the end of my first draft. It’s something I try not to dwell on too much now, but it’s hard not to, as it is a mountain I’m going to have to climb at some point. I am hoping that it won’t be as hard as I thought, but with a completely different culture, language and time period, I’ve got my work cut out for me. Not to mention the task of editing…cannot forget that important aspect.

Anyway, the contest I mentioned in the previous post has chosen finalists. The paragraphs were good–not my taste and most of them were too long in my opinion–but well written. I don’t think any of them are books I’d actually pick up and read by the paragraph alone, but it all comes down to a matter of taste.

Of course I hoped I’d be one of the finalists, but out of 1300+ entries, it was slim. Still, the hope was there as well as the slight disappointment that followed. I see it as practice for the mounds of rejection letters I will probably receive in the coming years for my book πŸ˜›

One good thing about it though is that if mine was chosen and a partial ms was requested, I’d be scrambling around, editing like mad. I may have over 3/4 of the book completed, but a very small portion of that (perhaps like two chapters) are good enough to even be looked at by an agent. So it was for a reason that I didn’t win at this time–but I will eventually succeed in landing an agent and a contract–I am determined to do such, even if the publishing industry becomes more and more selective and difficult to break through. I will not be deterred! πŸ™‚

And on that note, I’m off to bed. This post was becoming a bit on the long and rambling side anyway.

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