Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Wonderful World of Editing, Part 1

Well, not quite. The truth is, what I've just finished is my read-through, and it's probably more enjoyable to find all the things to fix than to actually go through the nitty-gritty of fixing them.

I'm talking about Quintessence, by the by.

My note-taking read-through is the first step in my editing or rewriting (because this still encompasses broad changes from draft one) process. At least it is now. I honestly can't remember what hackneyed process I went through with my first poor book (Betsy Flowain) and Forest of Lies was such a whirlwind for the first few drafts that I don't remember much about IT either. I have, however, taken extensive notes on Forest of Lies Draft III, and though I have failed to implement them successfully, at least they exist.

I digress.

As I wrote the rough draft of Quintessence, I printed off each chapter as I finished it and put it in a folder. I used the quote unquote boring Courier New, double-spaced, 12pt font that the OYAN curriculum calls for. Though I used to hate this font, I have grown to really like the crispness of it when printed.


The notebook is special. It appeals to me to have that title page in front and all of those pages filling it. You only get one rough draft, after all, and there's something a bit special about that, whether writers like to admit it or not. A beautiful ugliness, I suppose.

Anyway, once the notebook is full, it gets to sit for several weeks at least, and in Quintessence case, almost three months. Then I grab my OYAN pen, a notebook, and those crisp pages, and tackle it. I write both in the notebook and on the actual pages. I tend to stick to small things on the actual pages--awkward phrasings, words I don't like, bad paragraphs--and address bigger issues, like plot and character, in the notebook. Further, I put stars next to the notes I'm making that will address the whole book (or several chapters), and not just the chapter I'm editing.

Judging from just the amount of notes, I have the most work to do on chapter 3 and 8, with a moderate amount on 1, 2, 9, 10 and 11, and minimal on 4, 5, 6, and 7.

My stars, on the other hand, number around two dozen, so maybe I shouldn't feel TOO cocky.

This is getting pretty long, so I'll post some more about my in-text work tomorrow. I did finish my read-through this morning, and I'm feeling pretty excited. The truth is, Quintessence didn't sit for QUITE 3 months before I picked it up...I actually did a lighter read-through about three weeks after I finished and got pretty discouraged.

Funny what those extra weeks did. I got ideas for how to fix what I know needs fixing, and I have inklings of ideas for what I'm still not quite sure of how to fix. I think I'll basically edit chapter 1 through 11 in order, watching out for those stars that sometimes change things.

Some Quintessence stats, in case you're interested (I really should get a page up for it...):

THE NUMBERS
Chapters: 11
Pages (Courier New double-spaced): 168
Wordcount: 29,400 [this is my shortest first draft ever--but hey, it seemed like a short book in my head]

THE CHARACTERS
Hero: Hywel
Allies: Sybyl and Alamea
Villain: Management

THE HISTORY
The Day It All Started: June 24th, 2011
First Outline Written: June 24th, 2011
Parts of Chapters 1, 3, and 9 Written By: June 29th, 2011
Other Worlds Lectures Watched: July 5th, 2011
Day Finished Selected Other Worlds Worksheets: July 10th, 2011
First Chapter Finished: July 19th, 2011
First Draft Finished: October 10,.2011
Read-Through Finished: January 3rd, 2012
[Yes, it's been a bit of a whirlwind for me--especially getting all of my ducks in a row to start the drafting so quickly.]

Signing off,

3 comments:

Mercia Dragonslayer said...

You keep so many stats on your novels. XD I never remember anything about when I started something. Although--I do have a journal with ideas dated in it, but none of my main novel ideas started in it.

Guh. I'm so disorganized. -_- I suppose it's just my way of doing things. I hardly ever do the OYAN planning further than the step outline.

I also just write everything in the margins of my novel's draft. I suppose yanking out a notebook for bigger notes wouldn't be such a big deal, but I just haven't done it. XD

Anyway. Good luck with Quintessence :)

~Mer

Nairam said...

Correction: I keep so many stats on QUINTESSENCE.

Truth is, I used to be fairly disorganized as far as that went myself. Heck, I even DELETED things. (I would *never* do that now.)

I started doing that because I discovered I really liked knowing those dates. So I've become far more likely to jot down dates above brainstorming sessions, editing notes, and of course, whenever I print a chapter.

Finding stats on FoL is harder, and I don't want to even try with Betsy Flowain. I have to do a lot of forensic work to grub up what dates I have on both of those. Let's not even try to go back further. O.O

Also, the "step outline" is basically what I do, too. I did the minimal amount of OYAN work with Quintessence--mostly world, character, and theme building, and then a jot-and-go outline.

So see, we're not TOO different. ;) Though I do like having my book's editing notes more condensed, especially with the "big ideas" (stars) of editing.

Thank you!
~Nai

Mercia Dragonslayer said...

Aha! I see. I would never be able to dig up dates for my story ideas... Sometime when I was 11 or 12. The chat records are lost now :P

I discovered I like dates too. @.@ Thus the journal-style in all my notebooks. Date in the top right-hand corner, then all my notes for the day underneath it. Works quite well. XD Except for when I start writing in a bazillion different notebooks....

Not so different after all, yeah. I think having my notes condensed would help me, but I haven't gotten around to doing it yet. XD I usually make notes in my journal as ideas come to me, and flag them with the novel they're for.

Welcome :)

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