My Editing Process

Writing Life

As I’m winding down the final edits for Moon Shine (goes live in 12 days) I thought I’d compile a list of steps my draft goes through when it becomes “done.”

1. Draft/Edit: it can feel frustrating at times but really it’s the most fun part of the process.

2. Finish Draft: then put it down for a week to let it simmer.

3. Proof-read + make notes of repetitive words.

4. Make corrections

5. Copy edit #1

6. Proof-read again + fix dialogue

7. Read draft aloud + Copy edit #2

8. Proof-read #3 + find continuity issues

9. Add to fill plot holes

10. Read aloud again

11. Take list from step 3 and use thesaurus. Use the fuck out of thesaurus.

12. Proof-read #4 fixing problems from notes taken during steps 1-11

13. Read aloud #3 + Copy edit #3

14. Give manuscript to final beta reader (Mr. J)

15. Re-read manuscript specifically focusing on using correct names/descriptions/actions/mechanics of firearms (if applicable).

16. Final read aloud

17. DONE

Note: Reading your draft aloud is the best thing you can do for editing, in my opinion. I catch so many grammatical errors and passive voice issues when I read my work aloud.

Note 2: Throughout the editing process I look for A) filter words, B) repetition, and C) passive voice

Note 3: Throughout the editing process I make notes every time I re-read the manuscript. I write down questions I have about setting changes and character development. I also write down/highlight all plot holes and anything I think is boring.

Note 4: I do not spend money on a freelance editor and copy editor. I have an MFA in Creative Writing. I do all my edits myself because I know how (feel free to argue with me in the comments if you’ve read my work) but I do use beta readers to gauge plot pacing, character development, and identify possible sensitivity issues.

Note 5: As important as it is to work consistently on your manuscript (especially if you have a deadline) it is equally important to give your book some down time. I try to take days off whenever I feel myself getting frustrated with a scene or when I feel myself over-editing. Remember, writing is supposed to be fun. You’re doing something you love, don’t burn yourself out. Also, taking breaks lets new ideas emerge and distance allows you a fresh perspective.

Writing Advice #10

Writing Advice

LOVE ALL YOUR CHARACTERS

Much of my writing advice comes from years and years of poetry. My thoughts on imagery and diction are fueled by my medium. It is this lyrical perspective that gives my prose writing its unique voice. That and my brain is just weird.

But sometimes you have to learn and discover as you go along, otherwise what’s the point of doing anything. And, as a new writer to the world of genre fiction–specifically horror and the multi-omni-many-things-at-once-paranormal genres–there are things that I don’t actually see or realize until I mess them up and then I have the, “Oh, that’s where that went wrong,” moment.

One thing I learned while writing fiction is you have to love your characters. Not just like them and not just the main characters or even the side characters. You have to love all of them. Because if you don’t they won’t sound or look genuine on the page. They’ll look like cardboard stand-ins for real people and, most importantly, they won’t talk to you and tell you what they are doing in your story.

I learned the hard way that characters, much like poems, have minds of their own. Even though I made up those minds I have no control over what they do. That’s part of my creative process. In one of my works in progress, my protagonist’s love interest has changed 3 times. The first one didn’t really want to be with her. And then she didn’t want to be with the second one. And then the third didn’t want to be with her either. Meanwhile, her real love interest was sitting backstage (yeah, my mind is called backstage) with a cup of coffee and a newspaper saying, “I’ll be right here whenever you’re ready, and if you’ve gone to all the trouble of giving me a newspaper there’d better be comics.”

And just so you know, my protagonist’s lover loves Garfield. Garfield translates across time and space. So does Hagar the Horrible. He likes that one too.

But back to what I was saying; those characters didn’t work out because not only had I not properly fleshed them out, I didn’t listen to what they wanted. I tried to force round pegs into square holes.

And I surrounded them with minor characters that existed just to be in this or that part of the chapter. They didn’t work either. And whole chapters of this book have fallen to pieces because I didn’t care enough about the characters to get them where they needed to be.

So, to sum up:

If you don’t love them, chuck them.

You can always make more. Just make sure you love and listen to them.

Love them even if you’re going to kill them. Love them even if you’re going to break their hearts and destroy everything they love. Love them even if they’re the biggest piece of shit-horrible villain you’ve ever seen. Because they are yours. And they matter. Even if they show up in only one sentence, they matter.

Share any funny or frustrating character shenanigans with me in the comments 🙂

List #3

Lists

Wounds:

Abrasion

Breach

Break

Bruise

Chunk

Cleave/Cleft

Contusion

Coach

Crater

Cut

Damage

Fissure

Fracture

Furrow

Gash

Gorge

Graze

Grief

Hole

Incision

Laceration

Lesion

Mutilation

Nip

Notch

Pain

Rent

Score

Scrape

Scratch

Slash

Slit

Split

Suck/ing

Tear

Trauma

Textures:

Blistered

Dripping

Ragged

Rotten

Wet

NaNo 2018 Day 11

NaNoWriMo

Word count: 4467 (Yes, I had a major brain wave today!)

Projects: All of the Echoes, a short story companion to Havoc’s Moon

Goals achieved/notes: I’m happy but I can’t make any coherent words to describe why. I haven’t had this good a day, meaning, all the words are good (for a first draft) and none of them were “I don’t know what to write, I don’t know what to write,” written over and over again.

I hope y’all had a great day too!

Total word count: 18536

KEEP WRITING 🙂

NaNo 2018 Day 3

NaNoWriMo

Word count: 2044

Projects: Havoc’s Moon, The Morning Star

Goals achieved/notes: So I haven’t had much luck with re-naming my characters but I have had some and some is better than nothing. My main character’s love interest in Havoc’s Moon has gone nameless since January of this year. He likes going by his last name but I’m the author and I need to know his first name because reasons. I took a lot of notes today for Havoc’s Moon, mostly about weaponry. It’s a paranormal action/adventure first and a romance second so I feel it’s very important I get the guns and artillery right.

For The Morning Star I think my main character is going to have some sort of psychotic break. I’m not sure. Even though I’m writing The Morning Star in 3rd person I free-wrote some of Echo’s thoughts in first person in the hopes that I can use them in the audio transcripts that are intermingled with the prose chapters.

Total word count: 5454 (Cleared 5,000 words today:))

NaNo 2018 Day 1

NaNoWriMo

Word count: 1,700 🙂

Holy shit I’ve never met my word count on Day 1!

Project: Havoc’s Moon

Today’s goals: Find new names for characters, give said characters a new backstory, develop more of the society. I did NONE OF THESE. What I did do was build more of a relationship between my protagonist and her “pet.”

I got the bulk of my word count today by listening to one of Nanowrimo’s write ins on YouTube. I don’t like watching them live because I never tune in at the beginning. I am physically and mentally incapable of being punctual for a live stream. So I like watching write ins from the archives.

How’d y’all do?

Keep writing!