Monday, August 9, 2010

Changes, They're a-Coming

It's time for me to jump into the editing phase of my novel with both feet.

I found a some great information on how go back through and see what's working and what is not. It's from my favorite how-to tome, Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell. He gave a comprehensive list of what to look for when editing. He suggests making sure each scene has sufficient conflict, that each chapter ends with a hook/cliffhanger, that all the dialogue is snappy and either reveals character or conflict. He really focuses on scene cohesiveness, too. That's something I've never really bothered to try to envision as I write, so it's a new challenge, a skill I'd like to develop.

Meanwhile, I guess I'll share what has been helpful to me in the past. When I finish a draft, I will often put it in single space format (to save paper) and print it out, single sided. Then I take it down to my local (favorite!) print shop and get it spiral bound and put a colored cover on either side. I make sure to put several pages of blank paper on either end, for notes. Then, I get out my pen and begin to read.

Experts suggest the first re-read should be fast, just taking in the whole overall story for flow and plot holes. If something isn't working, experts say you can just make a mark in the margin or circle the lame text. I can't do that very well. If I have a thought about how to fix it, I feel like if I don't note it clearly at the moment, there's a dang good chance I'll forget forever. So, I only go through at a moderate pace and mark everything I see that needs help.

The reason I only print on one side of the page is I use the facing blank page to make all my rewrite notes. It helps to have it right there and written out as much as I can as I strike while the iron is hot.

For this draft I will ask them to put a different cover on it than hot pink. Hot pink was a previous draft print-out's color. Then I don't get them confused. (A common occurrence, I hate to admit.) It also gives me a kind of a sense of progress, like, "Well, in the pink draft I was too wordy. I went through and slashed a ton of pointless words. Now in the lime green one I am focusing on characterization, getting their voices solid." And so on.

Pink, lime green, bright colors. This calls for taffy.


  1. Just read your whole blog. Looove it! I find your whole process interesting and inspiring. Definitely look forward to reading more!

  2. Thanks, Sherral. You and Max and that cotton candy machine! Can you even believe it? Lots of people have asked me, "Who the heck has a cotton candy machine." But I think, of course, who wouldn't want one? You guys are the geniuses who were thinking ahead!


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