Today I’ve been cleaning and sorting through drawers and art stuff and all kinds of school work that get shoved in corners and plastic bins. Stuff like these always takes longer than I anticipate in the beginning. But afterwards, it feels good to have four trash bags full of things I may never use or look at again in the future.
Clean house = peace of mind. (Until it gets dirty again–the house, not my mind. Yeesh.)
It’s amazing how much clutter we can accumulate in a matter of weeks, or even days. Lots of unnecessary things we don’t need or won’t ever use again. (Wait for it–an editing metaphor is heading your way. You knew it, didn’t you?) Just like in your beloved manuscript, you’ll have to sort and weed the bad, unnecessary “darlings” (those words or phrases you’re absolutely in love with but they don’t progress the plot or they weigh down the pace). It will be a painstaking job but in the end, you know it’ll make for a better and shinier novel.
A couple days ago I asked for editing tips from YOU, brilliant readers, and I must say I am glad I did because I gleaned a TON of helpful stuff.
~Let the manuscript sit and simmer for a loooong time.
~ PURPLE pens are prettier, more creative, and less harsh than RED pens. (Green is acceptable, too. Right, Phresh?)
~ Read it OUT LOUD.
~Print it out and edit with a pen (instead of editing on the screen). Highlighters are useful when doing line edits.
~Use BETA READERS or CRIT PARTNERS.
~Edit, rinse, repeat.
~Chapter map in a grid, with columns for page numbers, brief chapter summaries, and potential plot problems and questions. (I like this one!)
~Do NOT over-edit.
~Cupcakes are okay during editing. And lastly, don’t be afraid to write BOOYAH! at the end of your ms. Have faith in yourself and in your writing.
So. The metaphor? Editing = cleaning = happy me. The process may be tedious and physically laborious, and really, who likes cleaning houses, right? (Except for my mom.) BUT! The end result is something to look forward to.
Confession: I haven’t done any EXTENSIVE editing before in any of my mss. So I consider myself a newbie at editing. When I write my first draft, I occasionally make notes in my Word doc. (If you don’t know this: You simply highlight the word or words and click on Review located in the top bar, then New Comment.) I’m a slow writer because I don’t merely pump out words–I review them as I go along. Yeah, blame my internal editor. It doesn’t mean my first draft is clean and error-less. It just means I’m a neurotic writer who second-guesses herself a LOT.
|This is my BIG book of notes. Ha! Yeah, I write EVERYTHING down–from chapter outlines, ideas, character names, phooey queries, synopsis attempts, grocery lists, TBR lists, and anything that catches my eye while surfing the net.|
Here are some helpful links I’ve been perusing lately:
I, Editor by Robert K. Lewis via From the Write Angle blog
Editing Your MS in 30 Days or Less by Elana Johnson, YA Author of Possession
Over-Editing and Self-Esteem by Joyce Alton, Yesternight’s Voyage blog