Editing at home: Day One

day-one

I’m calling this my DIY editing retreat. A whole week off from work to focus solely on Clara and Claire. With a clear goal set in my head (and down on paper somewhere too), I’m determined to finish everything this week. One lesson that’s perhaps the hardest one to learn is that you can’t set unrealistic goals for yourself. It leads to disappointment and madness. So fortunately I looked over everything my betas gave me, and I realized this is a goal I can realistically accomplish. No slacking, no excuses, and with the right amount of coffee, I’m set by the early AM to get started.

Last night I started working on edits, but today was my first full day of editing. So I’m calling this day one. And for anyone who’s interested in the process or what goes on behind the scenes, I wanted to share it with you.

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Today was all about paragraphs, grammar, cutting unnecessary details, etc. All that kind of stuff that naturally comes with editing. It’s the stuff I didn’t catch when I did my own edits and rewriting, and thankfully I had awesome betas who were able to point it out to me. Keep in mind this book is at 97k words total (give or take), so there’s a lot of book to go through and edit. And I decided to get this out of the way first because it’s easy to fix, and it’s just as important as anything plot related or character related that has to be addressed.

This afternoon I took a break from editing, but tonight I’m right back at it again. I’m only taking a short break right now to write up this post. But for the remainder of tonight, and leading into tomorrow, I’m going to be focusing on everything else. The questions, suggestions, any uncertainties, etc. Anything with characters, dialogue, or specific scenes/chapters I want to address (and fix).

In the picture up above I tried to show a little glimpse into the journal I’m using. (Shoutout to Kate Spade for making a pretty and useful journal that I’ve been using since almost the beginning of this novel.) Since we don’t have a printer at home, I wrote everything important that my betas mentioned that I want to either fix, rework, delete, or strengthen.  It took up several pages, and now the remainder of the pages I’m just working out different ideas for certain parts that have to be reworked or any questions that were left unanswered.

No one said this was going to be done in a day, and sadly with editing it feels like it’s never over. But I feel like I made a huge amount of progress today. Knowing that now I can just read through the entire book and focus directly on certain scenes, characters, or paragraphs is a relief. Some of these bigger reworks I’m doing (in terms of with a character or scene) I might be sharing later on this week or next, so I can share my own advice on how I worked through it. I’ve been reading up a lot lately on editing posts, so if you have any good ones on your blog (or someone else’s), link them in the comments.

Tomorrow is definitely going to be a more challenging day. Grammar and rewording sentences is a lot easier than answering questions that even I might have skipped over the first, second, and third time around. But I’m hopeful, and at the end all of this work is going to pay off.

I read something that really stood out to me yesterday on a writer’s blog. When you receive the feedback from your betas, you have to ask yourself a very important question. If you’re debating on whether to use a suggestion (or answer a question) from a beta, is it because you believe it’s already been resolved or are you trying to avoid extra work? This wasn’t the exact wording on the blog obviously, but that’s the summary of it (from the best that I can remember). And it just left me thinking that you can’t be afraid of the extra work in editing. Editing isn’t meant to be easy. Some parts are, but the challenging parts are what will make the book later on either stand or fall.

I’ll post again with day two’s progress tomorrow. I think we’re in for two posts tomorrow, seeing as tomorrow is Cursed With Power‘s publication anniversary. Can you believe it’s been four years already? I’ll be sharing the whole story and more tomorrow –expect that post probably earlier in the morning, and the editing post later at night.

Lindsey Richardson

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