Monday, August 3, 2015

Editing- The Level that Dante Forgot.

Last month for the Year of Living Authentically as a writer, I typed about what the process of writing was like for us hermitting types. Well, once you finish that first draft, the one that has helped you see the world and yourself a bit clearer, then you have to make it fit for human consumption.

Editing is hell and where I always realize that I am a pretty decent story teller. It is where I curse all my English teachers for not cementing all the comma rules in my brain, and where I want to hug all of them for nurturing the little creative I was as a kid.

My editing is usually a four-tiered process (I have a process now- the first time was just chaos and it shows). Once I have a draft, I walk through at least two rounds of revision. Revision is sort of when the draft is in flux, text is still moveable and malleable. The first round is focused on story structure, making sure I have strong subplots, and all my characters are where they need to be, physically and emotionally. The second round of revision, I look at adding emotions, reactions, and sensory tidbits to fill up the world. I make sure what I have in there still makes sense. I usually do my wordsmithing on these first two read throughs and this draft goes to my beta readers.

Revisions is fun. Its fluid and finding parts that were awesome, mining out themes and subplots that were unconsciously in there already and pulling them to the surface. It is like the photoshopped pic to the left. It is still the same story, but so much clearer and with more punch.

But then comes the un-fun part. The real work. The little edits that I have the hardest time seeing. It has nothing to do with the story, but more to do with the ease of the read. Capitalization of proper nouns that I didn't even know were proper nouns. Making sure that I'm using the correct work, versus the word that I grew up using. Getting all those commas in the right place because I swear they move around on their own. And the three times over spellcheck. I love me some F7.

By this point in the process, I'm starting to think no one is going to read this and I should just stop now and take up underwater basket weaving, because all the zeal I had from revisions is gone and I'm finding so many little instances of fat-fingering, that I'm convinced I should not be allowed near a computer.

When I get comments back from my beta readers, then I take one last very slow look through the manuscript. Checking the beta's comments for emotional punches as well as reading for ease. Making sure everything is smooth and polished and easy to read. I get a little more confidence off this read. The final product, or at least the most final product that I can be comfortable with other people reading.

And then I send it off where someone else will go through the entire process again with a hatchet. It is the fun part about sending your little brain children off into the world.

Hope you enjoyed this little sneak peek into my world right now as I'm just about to send my passion project off, so I'm living in Dante's little unsung level of hell known as edits and then submission!

Until next time, LIVE AUTHENTICALLY!


Amanda Arista
Author, Diaries of an Urban Panther
(and hopefully something else soon!)


Helen Lowe said...

All the best for the story's foray into the wide world, Amanda. May it rock readers & editors everywhere!

Kim Falconer said...

Good luck, Amanda, and thanks for sharing your editing process with us.

Tell me, does this new series have a feline presence?