Editing vs Writing vs Planning/Plotting

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Yet again, apologies for my silence.

I have no excuse but for the fact I haven’t been writing. Instead I have been beta-reading/editing a gal’s Mass Effect fan fiction. Which lends itself to this post as it did the last.

Yes, its another pro and con list. I like them.

Writing Pros

Basically the list from last week. In this case I’m talking about writing with no plan

– The world is your oyster. You can do whatever you want. It’s your sandbox and you are king, god, CEO.

– Nothing is out of bounds, so long as it makes sense/fits in your world

Writing Cons

– Progress can stagnate when you don’t have a road map.

– If you change or add something midway through going back and adding it can be migraine inducing.

– You have to rely on your brain or ongoing notes to keep physical descriptions, personality/speech quirks, places, maps, etc straight in your work.

Planning Pro’s

– Since nothing is set in stone you can play around with thoughts/ideas/side plots you wouldn’t ordinarily do while writing.

– If you make major changes late in the game, notes are easily added to change earlier chapters.

– You can explore ideas in full before committing to them.

Planning Cons

– It’s easy to ‘burn out’ and feel like the actual writing is like pulling teeth.

– It is also easy, in the writing, to feel like the plot is ‘locked in’ and no changes can be made.

Editing Pros

– The world and characters and story are already there. No creation needed.

– Editing is so easy. You’re polishing, prettying and perfecting.

Editing Cons

– Big changes are a big responsibility. Hell, even small changes have long reaching effects. Try removing even a side character and it’s a pain.

– It’s easy to get bogged down in the details.

– It’s hard to come to terms with the fact that it’ll never be perfect. There’s always something that can be fixed. The trick is knowing when to stop fixing.


Step One

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Tabs_EekSo if you haven’t been keeping tabs on my Twitter feed or page on Facebook, I finished what I’m calling “Step One” of my editing process. Well, the editing process for The Forsaken. I’ve read/heard that the editing process varies book by book, and at the moment I’m inclined to believe it. Anyway.

Step One, for me, this time, was REplotting, alternatively, replanning.

Sometimes, over the course of writing a novel, certain things change. In the course of The Forsaken there was very little that DIDN’T change. Most characters stayed about the same, though motivations and means may have. Characters crawled out of the woodwork that I didn’t know about before, and other little things that changed what happened up front. So I had to do a complete overhaul of the plot.

That’s done. My scene count it at 80, MANY of them new, or needing to be rewritten. I’ve updated the counter at the top right to reflect that. Right now it’s set at zero, until I figure out how many scenes are being kept as is.

So I guess I can leave you with a lesson I’ve learned. Don’t be afraid of change. Change happens. Maybe you’ve got the story wrong, or characters aren’t being totally honest with you. It happens. If it happens in the middle of a draft, make a note of it and carry on. Don’t go back and change to respond to that, just write on as if it’s already happened. Yes, this means that characters drop off the face of the earth and others react to things that have never happened but draft one and two and three all the way up to the one before line editing are made for mistakes. That’s what they are for. They’re there to for you to get it written, before getting it right.

Have you noticed any oft-repeated cliches coming true over the course of your own writing? Or the flip side, have you noticed any cliches that are obviously false?

Editing is Hard

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It’s kind of like bashing your head against a brick wall.

Until you know what you’re doing.

Well, that’s what I assume anyway, as I still haven’t quite found a way that works for me. My hard times may have something to do with the fact that I was a LOT younger while writing most of it, and I didn’t know how to stick to one view point. Nor did I know what a scene was. Or a chapter. Apparently.

Adding to the frustrating factor is that so much of the behind the scenes has changed, therein changing what actually happens. Some characters don’t exist anymore, others play a MUCH larger role than they had entered with and it’s just a big mess at the moment.

Also factoring into this, is the fact that my writer-brain is rebelling against all attempts at fiction on the computer. I can’t write anything new, unless I do it by hand. And also editing kind of stops at opening a new scene and staring at the blinking cursor.

So with my new (free) printer at hand, full of ink and an empty three-ring binder, I hope to beat this editing block so I can get The Cursed to beta’s and get it to my Editor by October. Fingers crossed.

Wish me luck!


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JulNoFAILThis was going to be a JulNoWriMo update post, but I have some other news instead.

I’m dropping out of JulNoWriMo.

I know, I know. It’s just over a week in, but I have a good reason, I promise. I found an editor (well, two) here. I love Twitter. They offered a fixed in price, and I needed a date to get them my MS. Well, I need to finish my own editing process first, and then need time to get feedback from Beta readers, so I need to get on that. I can’t do that when I’m also trying to win a WriMo. (Oh, I’m still working on Shadows and Lies, it’s just taken a back burner. I work on it by hand while on break at work.)

So, yeah, I “failed” JulNoWriMo, but I didn’t. I quit. Sort of.

The thing is, I’m not sorry about it. I’m ecstatic that I found an editor with the prices they have. (And they edited the first 1500 words for free and I like what I see.) Though I think I may have an aneurysm while waiting to get it back. Anyway, that’s for another time, I have a WC I want to get it to (I need to add like, 30,000 words), and a date. Though I wish I had a few more beta readers.

Later, darlings! I’ll keep you updated.

Progress Begets Progress

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See the arrow? Yeah you should totally look at that word count meter. Notice how it’s moved? Probably significantly since you last looked at it, right? Yeah.

I’ve been editing. A lot. Alright, so it’s not really that big of a number. But it takes me awhile to get through a scene. Many of them need entire rewrites. And I’m adding a lot of scenes as I go through. So I’m making progress, but also most of these scenes I would still count as first draft and are still labeled as such in Scrivener.

By the way, about Scrivener. It’s awesome. If you don’t have it, and you write anything, you should totally think about getting it. They even have a thirty day trial. FREE. You can see and read about and download Scrivener here. It works on both Mac and Windows, with the Windows updates being a bit behind. Don’t worry about it, though. It’s still awesome on Windows.

Okay, with that little bit out of the way, I’m going to talk a bit about editing. I know I had a post on how easier it’s becoming for me to edit this the more I do it, but I don’t think that’s unique to me.

The more I edit, the more I want to edit. I’m putting the first layer of shine and polish onto these first scenes and chapters, and I’m beginning to see the potential. Which shows the potential of all the other scenes as well. That, in turn, makes me more excited for editing and so I go back to it with renewed vigor. It’s a cycle. And a good one.

I’m no longer afraid to make it worse, because honestly, it couldn’t be much worse. And that is SO freeing! I can (I think) only make it better.

So don’t hold back! Edit away. But remember, keep a virgin copy of your first draft. So you know and remember all the hard work that went into it, and in case you do end up messing something up royally, or changing the plot and deciding it works better the old way, you have something to look back on.

Happy writing/editing!

Short Snippet Sunday – Mortality (3)

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Sorry for my silence this week! Been fairly busy and/or tired all week. Work is killing me for some reason. Anyway! This week’s snippet.

A recently rewritten scene in the beginning. Hope you enjoy.

“Why have we stopped?”
Damon suppressed a sigh. “Nicholai.”
“Why have we stopped?”
Turning to face the blond-headed vampire, Damon gave into the sigh. “We have stopped because Alucard placed me in charge and I said to stop.”
Damon could imagine the sound of Nicholai’s teeth grinding. “Wh-”
“Before you ask again,” Damon began slowly, as if explaining to a child, “We have stopped because we do not wish to appear aggressive. The Elves who protect the boy must make the first move.”

Give It A Rest

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[APOLOGY: I am so sorry I have not yet gotten up the interview K.R. Green and I did with S.M. Boyce. If you follow me on Twitter you may have noticed I tried right before bed, but I didn’t want to screw it up. My schedule is so wonky right now… I feel like I’m sleeping more than ever but I’m more tired every day than I have ever been. Doctor’s Appointment tomorrow morning, as well, so I don’t know when I’ll get that video ready and up. Hopefully by the end of the week!]

This is a post about editing.

I don’t remember exactly when I finished Mortality. I think it was around December. But as soon as I typed the last words, I wanted to jump straight into editing. I was so in love with what I saw that the book could be. So I did. I jumped right in. Wrote a single scene of prologue, and then stopped.

If I’m right, and it was December, I’ve been stopped for four months. I haven’t done a thing. I’ve looked at it. I’ve re-read it many times. But I haven’t done any editing. Until Sunday. I was talking on Skype with K.R. Green (pre-interview) and she kinda got me back to it. I’ve got two new scene’s started. They’re not finished yet, but they’re started. And it’s going pretty smooth.

My point is. Some writers go back and edit straight away. They can’t let a book sit. I thought I couldn’t. I had so many grand plans for the rewrite and I didn’t want to forget a single one of them. I wanted it all done right now.

But, I think, when I went to go actually edit, I was afraid of making it worse. I know it’s bad right now. Oh it’s so bad. But you know what? It’s a first draft. It’s OKAY for it to be shit. The second one is probably going to be shit, too. But hopefully a smaller pile. Or perhaps a little less rank.

If you are new to the writing game, and have a first draft under your belt. Go ahead. Edit right away if you think that’s the person you are. This was my first finished draft of any long piece of work. I thought I was that type. Don’t be discouraged if it turns out you’re not. Go ahead and set it aside for a few months. Maybe work on something else. But get back to it.

Don’t let it sit aside indefinitely.