Tag Archives: editing

and then it ended.

I wrote the ending to my novel. For the second time. And for the second time, it was anti-climactic. I typed in the last words, re-read the last paragraph I wrote, hit command-S, sighed, and closed my computer. And I went down to the galley and started to make dinner. It wasn’t until half an hour later when Hans came home that I realized I had finished my latest round of edits.

You’d think that when you finish editing a large piece of work that you’d feel satisfied, accomplished, proud. Nope. Not me. Not with this manuscript. I think because I know that it’s not really finished. I’ll read it through from start to finish again, find more changes to make, make the changes, pass it over to a reader, the reader will propose more changes. And I’ll make those changes. Again.

When do you know when your manuscript is finished? Will I see fireworks? Will a the lights flash? Will the 1812 Overture suddenly start playing? And if none of those things happen, when do I say: “it’s finished.”?

(As I write this, I know it’s not finished. I just remembered a small plot detail I need to add to chapter 3. Will that ever end? Or will I wake up in the middle of the night five years from now with the brilliant idea that I need to add a dagger to the green room with Colonel Mustard?)

Advertisements

that wasn’t hard

That wasn’t nearly as hard as I had anticipated (which is good because I can’t count how many inner-monologue paragraphs filled with questions I have in the manuscript that need to be edited).

From this:

When the light was nearly gone from the sky, Sam stood up, stretched, and went into her apartment to start unpacking and getting settled into her new home. How long would it take for Green Island to feel like home? Had she made the right decision? The island was so small—1,000 people? That’s about how many people lived in her apartment building and the one next door to hers in New York. And what was she going to do with her time? Go to beach every day? Get a job at Bananas like Alley suggested? What did everyone else do on the island? Sam pushed the anxiety to the back of her mind and hoisted her suitcase on her bed. It was better to focus her thoughts and energy on unpacking clothes than on her sudden life change.

To this:

When the light was nearly gone from the sky, Sam stood up, stretched, and went into her apartment. She wanted to unpack and get settled into her new home. She caught herself—she was getting settled into her new house, not her new home. This small apartment on a remote Caribbean island of merely 1,000 people—about the same number of people who lived in her apartment building in New York City—was not home yet. It was simply a roof over her head. It was, of course, a roof with a long porch, comfortable chairs, hibiscus blooming outside, palm trees down the hillside, and an expansive view of the town and harbor. She loved the apartment, but had no idea what she was going to do with her time. She could go to the beach every day, but that would get boring quickly. Alley’s idea of working at the bar intrigued her—at the very least it would be a great place to meet new people—but she’d never worked in a bar before. Sam pushed her anxieties to the back of her mind and hoisted her suitcase on the bed. It was better to focus her thoughts and energy on unpacking  her clothes than on her sudden life change.

writing challenge of the night

How do I convert this:

When the light was nearly gone from the sky, Sam stood up, stretched, and went into her apartment to start unpacking and getting settled into her new home. How long would it take for Green Island to feel like home? Had she made the right decision? The island was so small—1,000 people? That’s about how many people lived in her apartment building and the one next door to hers in New York. And what was she going to do with her time? Go to beach every day? Get a job at Bananas like Alley suggested? What did everyone else do on the island? Sam pushed the anxiety to the back of her mind and hoisted her suitcase on her bed. It was better to focus her thoughts and energy on unpacking clothes than on her sudden life change.

from lots of rhetorical questions the main character is asking herself…

to a block of text that conveys her anxious state of mind without leading questions?

Stay tuned . . .

I can’t work in a coffee shop

Okay. I’ll admit it. I’ve been looking forward to the pencil and paper editing process because I imagined I’d spend long hours settled on a comfy couch in a coffee shop.  Time to alter my day dream. I’ve found the only way I can edit–and I mean edit beyond typos, syntax, and grammar–is to read my manuscript out loud. So if you wonder how I’m spending my days, I’m sitting on m/v stinkpot and reading aloud to myself. This is definitely not an acceptable behavior for a coffee shop.

stuck

I’m stuck. Not stuck like my main character who finds herself wedged, head first, in the window of a ticket kiosk with her butt and legs sticking out and flailing in every direction, but I’m stuck on how to edit Chapter 1, and 2 and 3 and 4 and…you get the picture. I know there is such a thing as writer’s block, but “editor’s block?” If that exists, I have it. And if it didn’t exist before, it certainly exists now.

I spent Monday and Tuesday reading fiction how-to books and focusing on one aspect of the editing process (characters, or dialogue) only to read my text, sit back, smile smugly, and say to myself “check. did it. It’s perfect.” Of course it’s not perfect! I will wager a bet that it is far from perfect.  But that is what happens when you’re afflicted with editor’s block: there is no room for improvement.

I’m putting the manuscript on a side shelf for a (long) weekend, will print it out on Monday and edit for typos. At least I’ll be able to spot out typos. Rihgt?