If you’ve followed this blog, then you know I’m working on my first novel. From conception-to-present it has seemed years, and, actually, it has been two years when the storyline first hit me, but of course, I haven’t been working on it the whole time. If you were to add the time I have put into the writing of it, I’m not sure it would even equal fifty hours. But, I’m happy to say I’m on a mission now to get it done and published so I can move on to the next book and the next after that.
Since this is my first novel, I sometimes feel I’m going around my thumb to get to my elbow so to speak when it comes to getting the story down. I’m not a pantser. I’m trying to master that technique and I will someday, but so far I’m not even close. I write down the bones of the chapter – where I want it to go, go back and keep expanding and expanding until it’s almost there and then I go in for the edits. From the beginning of that chapter, I will re-read, add, delete, cut and paste sections to make it flow better in spots; complete the balance of the chapter and do it all over again with another re-read, add, delete, etc., until the magic happens…..the smile I get at the end of the chapter to know “it” is exactly where I want it to be.
I was speaking with one of my friends, who is also an author, the other day (one that has published several times over) and when describing my writing technique, he asked “You do edits as you go?” It got me to thinking, is that so rare? For me, at this time, I can’t write any other way.
Now, in case you’re wondering, when I say I’m going in and editing, it is to make it as polished as I can make it before I move forward to the next chapter. But, I’m no fool. It’s also getting a formal edit by a true editor. Someone I trust; that knows what they are doing; and who will give it to me straight and make me, and my novel, better than I could ever be alone.
If you are writing, or are going to write a book, I hope you plan on using an editor as well. I know of no one who can write a book, edit it themselves, and go straight to upload, thinking their book is as good as it can be without a second pair of seasoned eyes looking at it for errors. If you are publishing without an editor and have that thought “that it’s good just the way it is” – you’re wrong. Don’t go crying into your margarita and be surprised when only family and close friends are asking you when your second book is coming out.
After the editor is done, another person I plan on using is a proofreader – and if you’ve ever used one, you’ll know they often give you a few more edits. Hiring a proofreader, though, is kind of where I “get” the mentality of anyone thinking they can be their own editor. I do proofreading on the side. Why would I hire a proofreader when I am one myself? Believe me, the angel and devil going back and forth on that argument have gotten to be on a first name basis. But, I need one. I need that third pair of eyes – after I and my editor reads my novel for the umpteenth time, there.are.STILL.going.to.be.typos.I read an ebook from an author just a couple of months ago. Her book had been traditionally published first back in 1991 and republished on digital in 2010. In it, she had even placed a paragraph in the Introduction requesting that if a reader found any typos, to please email her at … to let her know. I found three typos. It’s going to happen – get over yourself – hire a proofreader after you’ve hired an editor.
Like I said in the beginning, I may be OCD on re-reading and re-writing now but I’m working on becoming a pantser. Each chapter I write, each blog I write brings me closer to that goal. In the meantime, I am keeping a backup of my WIP at each stopping point along the way and when I’m done it’s going to act as my scrapbook for me to go back and look at how my first novel evolved from beginning to polished finished.
I’d love to hear how you go through your writing process, to get that polished finish so please feel free to share by leaving a comment and become a part of this blog post.
On June 26, 2013, she will be showcasing Blood Land written by R.S. Guthrie. Just last week, Blood Land received a Gold Medal and won Best in Category in both Mystery Police / Legal Suspense and Fiction General in the 2013 Wise Bear Book Awards. If you want to see how a book should be written buy his book(s). And, whether you’re a new writer or already published writer, for goodness sakes don’t overlook his guideline book INK: Eight Rules To A Better Book. It’s not a book to read once and then place in your bookshelf but to stay within reach on a writer’s desk. Go read the reviews. You’ll see that writers who have already finished their WIP, and some even who have already hit that upload button, are going back after reading INK to make changes. It will make a difference in your writing and instill a confidence that you are truly putting out the best book you can.
Thanks for reading. As always…