Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Beautiful Books #3 // The Editing Process

 Okay, so I’ve never participated in any linkups before, and I’m a little late in joining this set, as you can tell from the fact that this one is Beautiful Books #3, not #1 or #2. Oh well. I’m here now. So there.

In case you’re wondering, the Beautiful Books/Beautiful People linkups are hosted by Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In, and their questions are always so cool. It was only a matter of time before I broke.

On a scale of 1 (worst) to 10 (best), how did the book turn out? Did anything defy your expectations?

Objectively speaking, my seven NaNo novels turned out to be spectacularly awful, but since I already expected them to be horrible, I haven’t suffered any disappointment on that count. Outsiders would probably give all seven rough drafts a one or a two, at best. Personally, I would give them anywhere from five to seven because, while I know they’re terrible and I know I’ll cringe while I’m rereading them in preparation for edits, I also know they have plenty of potential, and that’s really all I look for in a rough draft.

Comparative title time: what published books, movies, or TV shows are like your book? (Ex: Inkheart meets X-Men.)

This is a tricky one, since I don’t like writing novels that remind me of other stories. I’m not going to try to think up comp titles for all seven books, since that could take some time. But I guess one of my historical novels could be described as Beauty and the Beast meets Rapunzel (it’s a fairytale set during the time of the first Black Death outbreak in Europe.) And though I haven’t read the play yet myself, I’ve been told my satire on writing could possibly appeal to fans of SIX CHARACTERS IN SEARCH OF AN AUTHOR.

Do you enjoy working with deadlines and pressure (aka NaNoWriMo)? Or do you prefer to write-as-you’re-inspired?

I need deadlines, and I need pressure. If I know that I have all the time in the world, I won’t get nearly as much writing done. So NaNoWriMo and other short-term goals definitely help with that. There’s a reason why my younger write-as-you’re-inspired self never got anywhere.

How do you go about editing? Give us an insight into your editing process.

Instead of just dealing with different issues separately through lots of individual drafts, like most writers tend to do (from what I’ve seen), I rewrite my entire first draft, word for word, making all the necessary changes that I know are needed. Then, once that draft has cooled and received feedback, I handle all the tweaks and changes required, but again, all in one go. And I get more feedback and keep tweaking until I’m confident the book is officially finished.

 I use this editing process across the board, even for blog posts. It frees me up to write awful rough drafts—as horrifying as they need to be for me to get them out—because I know that I’m going to rewrite and reevaluate every single word anyway. So there’s really no need to bother writing something polished and beautiful on the first round. It won’t save me time. Anyway, the more work during the second draft, the better because the only time I truly feel like myself is when I’m in the midst of those extensive rewrites. At no other time does my head feel as clear and my thoughts as orderly and in control. Yes, you may go ahead and judge me now.

What aspect of your story needs the most work?

Does “everything” count as an aspect? *cue crazed laughter*

My plots need a whole lot of tightening and reordering since I hardcore pantsed my novels this month which does not make for a cohesive plot. But hey, that’s what editing is for. My dialogue needs some major fixing as well. And in rough drafts, I do all telling and no showing, so editing is when I need to think of more creative approaches to convey information without just telling it to the reader. Basically, with my NaNo novels, I just pulled together all the building materials I felt I was going to need and piled them up, and now I need to take all those materials and all the tools in my mind and I need to build something presentable. I seriously cannot tell you how much I love this process, as crazy difficult as it can be at times.

What aspect of your story did you love the most?

Despite the incalculable faults in all seven novels, I think that I succeeded in conveying at least a seed of the emotions that I wanted to capture (well, okay, so that’s what I tell myself). And if I have the beginnings of something, I can take it from there.

I actually wrote a large portion of character internal reflection in order to figure out how my babies tick, which means I have a rough map of all their motivations and conflicting issues and fatal flaws. Translation: Christmas came early.

Give us a brief rundown on your main characters and how you think they turned out. Do you think they’ll need changes in edits?

They began life as large piles of goopy clay, and I will have to give them shape and hone them during edits. Since I wrote more than one novel, I have a healthy handful of main characters and I’m only going to list the major ones here.

November (Ember for short) can’t stop destroying herself with the one last tiny seed of hope she has left. Miranda knows what she has to do but doesn’t have the strength and the confidence to do it. Edison has allowed his bitterness and his exhaustion to ruin his last year alive. Jaqueline is so grief-stricken she can’t even see well enough to stop the people around her from dying. Eve’s arrogance is ruining her. Rachel actively sabotages herself and her career. Aiden mistakes apathy for patience. Will is controlled by his fear and by his anger. Maebel won’t even let herself be free now that her controlling husband of sixty years is dead. Cambria is sweet, but she is too naïve and silly to protect herself from those who are eager to take advantage of her. Marianne can’t fight her irrational rage. Roderic is foolish enough to destroy everything just to save the woman he loves. And, last but not least, Lara has allowed her obsession with an unsolvable mystery to consume her.

While much of their respective core natures have been somewhat established, I still need to work at making them properly unique and three-dimensional and compelling and all that fun stuff. Also, I love how their most defining features, at this point, are their fatal flaws. *laughs maniacally* In edits, though, I will be sure to give them positive qualities to balance out their vulnerabilities.

What are your plans for this novel once you finish editing? More edits? Finding beta readers? Querying? Self-publishing? Hiding it in a dark hole forever?

Mad editing and then querying.

Share a favorite snippet!

This snippet is actually the very first paragraph I wrote during NaNoWriMo, and no, I haven’t edited it any, so it still needs a lot of work:

She could see him. In the corner of her eye, she could see him, and he was so close there were still times she thought she would be able to reach out and touch him. Times when she spoke to him and was certain he would respond. Times when she forgot he was just a hallucination.

What are you writing goals and plans for 2016?

In 2016, I plan to finish editing at least two rough drafts, maybe three. I have a few novels from last November that I haven’t touched yet, and I have the seven I wrote last month, so I’ve decided two of the ones I want to prioritize, but I’m not sure which other one I will add to my plate. At some point, if I’m feeling brave enough, I may have you vote to help me decide, but until then…

(Yeah, I was just too lazy to finish that last sentence, but if you want to think that I was doing that for dramatic effect, then by all means, do so.)

Other goals include writing 800,000 words next November if I can possibly manage that without killing myself. And I want to see if I can get some small freelance writing jobs on the side. In other words, it’s going to be busy year.

What about you, my little coffee beans? What are your plans for 2016, writing or otherwise? What is your editing process? If you participated in NaNoWriMo, how would you rate your work?


  1. You're going to write 800,000 words in a month? Even 80,000 is a lot. Loved hearing more about your writing projects. I'll be working on my blog next year and hopefully writing a little bit of my story for pleasure and reading more.

    1. Well, I'm going to try at least. :P I'll be training all year to get myself ready for that. Thank you! I hope you have a great writing year in 2016. :) Thanks for commenting!

  2. eXCuSE MEEEEEEE. 800K??!?!? I feel like your hands are going to need a small holiday retreat after that. xDXD You are a crazy overachiever and I admire you. xD Also I will never judge your editing process because MINE IS THE SAME. I get so so sick of my own manuscripts I actually can't imagine going through it 298429 times for each thing that needs editing. o_O I would probably go nuts and poke my eye out with my laptop. *nods*
    I loved reading thsi though!! You are SUCH a talented blog writer so I can only imagine how golden your books must be. x)
    My plans for 2016...omg, I kind of tentatively want to make 2016 "The Year of All The Edits" but HA. Who are we kidding? I hate editing and I already have 4 books I want to write. xD
    Thanks for joining in the linkup!!

    1. *nods sagely like I know what I'm doing* My hands and wrists will definitely need a long vacation after 800K. But let's face it, I'm probably going to be super arthritic by the time I'm thirty. And aww, thank you! I admire you too. :) You are like, one of only two people I know about who edit the way I do, and at the moment I can't remember the other person. *hangs head in shame* And the same here--like, I love editing, but I still get sick and tired of reading my manuscript over and over, and if I can do things all at once, I will.
      Thank you! I'm so glad you liked it. :) And aww, you're so sweet. *gives you chocolate brownie cheesecake*
      Good luck on your writing in 2016, whatever you end up doing. :P
      You're welcome, and thanks for hosting it. :)

  3. Yay! It's so cool to finally see some into your books! I'm so glad you decided to join the link up! :D :D :D I love the names you picked for your characters. Such conflict too! Best wishes for editing. ^ ^

    I just got my BB up today. ^ ^

    1. Thank you! I had a lot of fun doing it, and I really enjoyed reading yours. :) I'm glad you like the names and the conflict. :) Thank you, and best wishes to you too!

  4. Oh my goodness you are such a mad writer! 800K is something maybe superwoman would wright.....MAYBE XD I couldn't write 800K in the entire year if I wanted to!
    Also, your character names that you've chosen are great :)

    1. Thank you! It will definitely take a lot of work, but I will try my best to do it. I've already started prepping for it, and I'll be prepping all year. And thank you--I always like picking nice names for my characters. :)

  5. Woah, 800K? That is an awesome goal! You go! I have every faith that you can make it. And doesn't even NaNoWriMo novel start out as a terrible pile of words with the seeds of something great? I know mine are pretty terrible, but as long as they've got a spark of what I was going for then I can live with that. Congratulations on your amazing NaNoWriMo result though. I know it wasn't quite as much as you were hoping for, but it's still so impressive.

    1. It's a little bit terrifying, but I'm really looking forward to trying it. :) And thank you for your faith in me. :) Yep, NaNoWriMo is the land of awful rough drafts. All I hope for is at least a spark or two to work with. And thank you--even though it wasn't as high as my original goal, I'm still really happy I made it to where I did.

  6. YOUR CHARACTERS SOUND FANTASTIC! I love the name November, and that snippet is great. :D Which book is Ember from?

    I'd rate my project about an 8. I know it'll need a ton of work, but I love what I got down and I think most of what I need is there, it just needs a lot of fleshing out.


    1. Aww, THANK YOU! *gives you baskets of coffee beans* I had a lot of fun writing about a character named November during the month of November. And I'm glad you liked the snippet. It's from my time travel story, and Ember is actually one of the main characters in that one.

      I'm so glad you love what you wrote! That's definitely a great place to be at before starting edits. :)