Sunday, June 1, 2014

The "Fun" Has Begun...

Editing is not my favorite thing to do, especially when it comes to my own stuff. I like perfection in my work, and previous experiences tell me I'm not perfect at picking out the inconsistencies, passive and wordy areas and everything else an editor at a publishing house doesn't want to see in a submitted manuscript for their consideration. I really have to get out of that mindset and don't expect much when it comes to me editing my own stories, even though I've learned a lot in the last five months, since I've joined two writing forums and am getting advice from some of the best - authors right over to the editors, etc - in the entire writing business.

The "necessary evil" of the editing and proofing have started on "Away to Me" and it's worse than I imagined. Passive areas, repetitive stuff and glaring inconsistencies everywhere. It's going to take another week or so working on it full time to get it up to snuff before it goes into stasis for the summer. I was hoping even with keeping it bare bones that it would be a lot better than this, and I'm really ticked off at myself for not doing a better job at it. Then I remember I'm still learning and I'm not as ticked. I'm still kicking myself, but not so badly, and I start prepping the frying pans I'll be giving to my betas with their copies of "Away To Me" this coming autumn. I'm expecting a LOT of cracks on the head for all of the mistakes, and other things in the second draft, even after I get the worst ones out of it.

I'm slowly getting things cleaned up though. Friday would have been another writing day for me if I was into another story, so I used the entire day to work on getting the first edit/reread of "Away to Me" in its entirety. 

Here's what I did:
  • Took out a few passive areas.
  • Compressing of timeline started.
  • Started putting chapter breaks at the beginning of a new page.
  • Began removing repetitive stuff.
  • Compressions of wordier areas started.
  • Started smoothing out choppier areas.

My local beta and longtime friend D asked me how long of a time period "ATM" took place... It was originally about 15 months. She suggested I compress it to six months. 

That was "fun". I went back, checked things over and managed to squeeze it into a bare nine months over all. Not bad, could be better though. I don't think I can get it more squashed than that. I'll have to see.

Yes, I got a lot done but still have a long way to go before it's ready for stasis, round one. I have a couple of hours here and there and a day or two to get back to the editing this week, and I'll be deep into things when I have the chance. It's slow going but it's getting there, one step at a time. I'm learning as I go too. And boy have I learned a lot in the last six months, more than I could have imagined!

I thought I knew a lot but didn't know squat about the REAL writing world, even with two finished first drafts under my belt. I'm shocked at how far I've come in only a couple of years, since I first sat down, dug out "No Regrets" initial idea and its few components at the end of 2011 and tried to see what wasn't working with that manuscript, once that I had the time to do something with it.

"No Regrets" was "hell" to write by times, and if it hadn't been for me talking with various people, thinking about it CONSTANTLY, rereading everything I had written, brainstorming, countless hours researching and all of the other stuff entailed with writing a unique and interesting story, I would have tossed it aside, given up on it and tried to find something else to amuse me, while making excuses why I wasn't trying to get past the speed bumps and other nasty things I encountered while working on it. Rewrites - UGH! So many... *Shudders!* Passive areas: galore! *GAG* Repetitive stuff.... I think I lost about 2000 words just with taking THAT stuff out, and I think there's more to be removed! *THUD!* Sent it out, got rejections for it. My own stupidity and overconfidence, in my writing skills and editing. Lesson learned, big time! Will be revamped before it's published, probably via a self publisher in a few years.

"Family Portraits" presented its own unique set of problems, and other nasty things, despite it being the follow up to "No Regrets". Even though I flew through that one too, I still had problems and had to do a zillion rewrites. More rewrites. Passive areas. Wordy areas. Choppy scenes. The list is LONG in that one, and it needs more work than even "Away to Me" in its current condition. Will be published via self publishing in a few years, after it's cleaned up and if "No Regrets" sells at all. (DOUBTFUL!)

"Away to Me": the first completed manuscript that is NOT related to the Legacies series and well under 100K word wise. I still had a lot of problems getting over speed bumps and other things in it, despite it being bare boned. It needs a lot of work, but not as much as "Family Portraits". Will have five people reading it and whapping me over the head with frying pans after they see the errors in it this time.

What I'm trying to say is that I DID NOT GIVE UP. At all. I've hit more speedbumps writing and editing than I can keep track of, and I have a great memory! If I gave up each time I hit a roadblock, a problem I can't figure out right away, a bout of writer's block or anything else we writers/authors wind up running into on a daily basis with our work, I would have NEVER finished one manuscript's first draft, let alone THREE! 

If you run into a roadblock and are SERIOUS about writing, you won't give up on it. You'll find a way around it, over it or through it and KEEP GOING. NO EXCUSES. If there's a will, there is a way.

Keep in mind that I write only PART TIME, I have two neurological conditions that hinder me sometimes (occipital neuralgia and carpal tunnel syndrome, which affects the HANDS), and I have a special needs child that needs constant attention when he's home.

If *I* can write without any excuses, anyone who is serious about it can do it too. If you can't, you're not serious about it at all, and will keep making excuses not to continue while you put down us really serious writers, which is really nasty and petty.

Simple as that.

On a side note, congrats to WHOM GODS DESTROY for finally getting onto the radio! They're being played on CKDU, which is Dalhousie University in Halifax own radio station. They have a live stream on their site and if you live in Halifax-Dartmouth, you can catch them at 88.1 on the FM dial. Great job, Tim, Eli and Adam... I knew you could do it, and it's the first step toward getting on stations across our beautiful nation!

Have a great week everyone! I'll post another update when more progress is made, either editing "Away to Me" or anything else in my writing world!

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