Thursday, December 30, 2010

Love-Hate Relationships With WIPS

Sounds kinda like something to do with S/M, doesn't it? Actually, I have a love-hate relationship with editing. Yes. When I finish a book, I let it sit for about a week and then I print it out and read it. Well, that is, I read it eventually. I’ll start reading out loud and then decide I really need to skip the first three chapters. Those have been edited to death as most of the books I start have been entered into at least one contest and been seen by one critique partner and/or beta reader. So I move to chapter four. By chapter six I realize I’ve mentioned something that was never answered or explained in the rest of the book. When I reach chapter twelve (I like short chapters), I’ve decided the whole book is trash. Why would anyone want to read it? And, Lord of Mercy, why did I let anyone look at it?

So more often than not, I let one of my beta readers go through it before I do a lot of editing. I promise, it gives them a feeling of accomplishment to muck through such drivel. I know they feel sorry for me. Such a delusional writer. Or is that disillusive? Doesn’t matter. You get the drift.

Like a lot of writers out there, I edit along the way. I’m not a fast writer, so wherever I leave off, I go back to the beginning of a chapter and read, correcting and checking, until I’m back in the mood of the scene and start writing again. So technically it’s edited numerous times.

I write by the seat of my pants, in the mist, or like some people call it, make sh*t up. That’s something I would like to change. Next year I plan to do some light plotting. Nothing in-depth. Just something that will keep me moving it along and help my daily word count. I normally do a little plotting about midway into the story. Enough to ensure I hit all the high points and know where the heck I’m going. So it shouldn’t be a problem. Riiiight.

So in the spirit of the holidays, I’m giving away a former critique partner’s book away. Christy Reece survived critiquing a few of my books and even became published despite what little help I was to her. I have two copies of NO CHANCE to give away. All of Christy’s books are my kind of books. Love each couple’s dynamics and the danger of undercover work.

I also have one of Linda Howard’s to give away. If I remember correctly Linda doesn’t go over her book again after she completes it. She said she edits along the way and that’s enough. I say, “You go, girl!” I have one copy of DEATH ANGEL. I love her alpha males and this one is for sure alpha. He’s a little cold, but there’s something still redeemable about him. It’s a little different from her other books, but I still enjoyed it, especially the balcony scene. HOT!

All you need to do is comment and I’ll place your name in a hat to draw at random. So you can tell me any or all the following. 1) How do you feel about editing? 2) What is your editing process? 3) What are you planning to change about your writing process to be more successful next year? E.g., to finish that first of tenth book or make that book zing and editor worthy.
And for the sexy picture of Bruce Willis? I just wanted to share.


Anne Gallagher said...

And I just wanted to say

Thank you for sharing that sexy picture of Bruce Willis. I was scrolling and saw it and said, no one remembers him when he was young and sexy...

1) Editing is fine as long as I keep it to one chapter at a time and don't try and do more in the course of a day. Then I get really cranky and tired and delete things I should keep.

2)Finish ms. let it sit for a month or more. Do line edit first. Then start to read the horror and delete all the yuck before sending it to my crit partner.

3) Start with my crit partner earlier, send out to beta readers earlier instead of waiting until the last minute.

JoAnn said...

I try not to edit along the way, but I can't help it. I have tried to do that Book-in-a-week (month) (year) thing but failed miserably. So I keep editing as I go. :(

The change I'm making to next year's process: I will get on a regular writing schedule.

Aaah, cute Bruce. :-)

Heather said...

This post couldn't have come at a better time. I am editing right now. Normally, I love editing because it means I've already written something, but this time it is killing me. The first act of my book was really dragging. I thought I'd been subtle burying clues, but during the edit, I realized that all I managed to do was weight the sucker down.

So last night, I killed several of my darlings. I cut a scene I loved (but, in all honesty, did very little to move the story forward - it was great for character development, but that was about it). I accomplished with a sentence what the entire scene had done before.

Generally, I am a plotter who chucks the outline about three scenes in. I "pants" my way to the ending that I know I have to reach. During this edit, I have two legal pads out. On one, I write down the questions I've raised in the scenes and clues I've planted so that I know what promises I've made to the reader. As I read along and answer the questions/resolve the clues, I mark them off the list. This way I know what is left open/needs resolution.

On the second legal pad i write a one sentence summary of each scene. In parenthesis next to the sentence, I write the purpose of the scene to the story) This helps me track the plotting and move toward writing that bleeping synopsis (or as I like to refer to it, the bane of my writing existence).

Carla Swafford said...

You're quite welcome, Anne. Even the old Bruce is sexy to me. It's grin, isn't it? That grin makes me melt.

"get really cranky..." Me too! I wrote the darn thing, why should I edit? LOL! Of course, I know the answer (to make it better) but I want it to be perfect the first time.

Carla Swafford said...

JoAnn, I'm so looking forward to reading more of your book(s).

I'm the same way about editing. I cannot write without editing along the way. Thus why I never tried NaNoWriMo.

Carla Swafford said...

Heather, I keep up with what's to be done or tied up (at least I try to) on what I call a History Page I save with all the details of the characters. And something similiar to you, I type a one to three sentences of what each chapter is about for use in a synopsis later.

There's been times I had to write a synopsis when I had only three chapters (for a contest). Then later I tried to use it to write the book. Rarely do I follow it.

Kat Jones said...

Love the pic of Bruce - I love the first three Die Hard movies! (I haven't seen the fourth one yet.)

I'm hoping to actually finish something in 2011, so I don't know much about editing a completed MS yet. Hopefully this will be the year. :)

Aside from finishing a WIP, I just want to enjoy writing. Have fun. This past year became more about the mechanics for me, which has it's place too, and less about the enjoyment. It really shut me down. So, I'm just gonna roll with it & have fun with the story!

Carla Swafford said...

Kat, rent it soon! Number four is wonderful. Justin Long is in it too and he's so cute and funny.

Carla Swafford said...

Oh, I will give away the free books tomorrow afternoon (5ish) everyone a chance to comment.

gaelikaa said...

Well, Carla, having almost finished the first draft of my first novel, I can safely say that a lot of editing is most definitely in order. I've tried not to edit along the way in accordance with advice I've received, just let the story flow. I plotted in advance and more or less stuck to the plotting schedule although at times the story took on a life of its own. First I'll try to finish the story (should take around about another 5,000 words, I think!). I've shown a chapter or too to some enlightened fellow writers and have been advised to do some more 'show don't tell'. So I guess my editing will have something to do with that advice.

Loved the picture of Bruce Willis!

Carla Swafford said...

I'm so excited for you, Maria (gaelikaa). It's such an accomplishment as you well know. Be sure to let me know when you're finished and I'll cyber-celebrate with you.

Cari Hislop said...

Congrats to Gaelikaa on nearly reaching the top of Mount Everest! Once you've written one book, you KNOW you can write hundreds. My first brain child was so badly written I could only set it aside and start over. Hopefully this year I'll try again...version number 4!

I think of editing like painting with words. I sketch in the scene and then go over it however many times it takes until it's completely 3-D and it feels right. As a pantser I have to get a scene/chapter right or I don't move forward. This usually works unless I've forced my characters down a wrong road, then I end up deleting weeks of work!

One of my heroes who's been on holiday (or in search of a better writer to tell his tale) started talking to me again this morning as I sat down to eat breakfast. Jack's Back! I feel like throwing a party, but I think writing his next chapter would be more productive (whisper it) and fun!

Carla Swafford said...

THE WINNERS ARE: Anne and Cari won the Christy Reece books. Heather won the Linda Howard Book. And Maria won an ebook.

The reason for 4? I got my daughter to pick at random numbers between 1 and 6 (the number of commentors in order). Since I can't mail a book to where Maria lives, I decided to send her an e-book and have my daughter pick another person for the last book. Hope that makes sense. LOL!

Maria, send me your email address. Anne and Cair, send me your snail mail address. I already have Heather's.

My email is carlaswafford @ charter.

Carla Swafford said...

Sorry I mistyped twice. 1) Cari not Cair. 2) my email is carlaswafford @

Heather said...

Whoo hoo! Nothing like ending the year on a winning note!

Rashda said...

I know the giveaway is over, but just had to say love the Bruce Willis pic!