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Editing

What Every Author Needs to Know about Editing

What Every Author Needs to Know about Editing

It seems like only yesterday, late October to be exact, that I was sitting down with my Dad talking about our family and writing a book in my head. October, the whole year in fact, was an emotional rollercoaster. It felt like every time I found my feet they were swept back out from under me.

 

I threw myself into writing Lives Paris Took with a vengeance. I had 5,000 words written before NaNoWrMo and had 53,000 written by the end of November. By December I was finished with the first draft, coming out at a solid 81,000 words. 

Because of the tough time I’ve had this year, I’ve come to the conclusion that I have to be brutal about who I let into my life, who I let hurt me, and how I treat myself. I let my fitness regimen fall away completely. I didn’t stand up to myself. I was furious at the terrible treatment I got from loved ones. But then I realized that so much of it, I could control. I started pruning the branches of my life. I started saying no and not giving my reasons why. 

Editing is much like taking control of your life. There may be authors whose first drafts are these shining beacons of light sent straight down from their heavenly muses…but I am not one of them. My dialogue is contrived. The emotion is emotionless. The descriptions could be about a wooden box and it’s just generally very shallow.

When I embark on an edit it is with the attitude that this is where I shine the most as a writer. I can slog through the first draft, but I dance through edits. Constant revisions make the draft into a work of art.

I’ve finished the last edit now and it’s off to my copyeditor, Husband-in-Chief, for the final 'please check-all-of-my-commas’ edit. I honestly don’t know if there is a better feeling than finally compiling your manuscript in Scrivener and seeing transform from all of its disparate elements, into a novel.

In short, there are only two pieces of advice that you’ll ever need for editing. One is, work from the big picture to the small, and, two, smile while you are doing it. There’s nothing better than seeing it transform before your eyes.

Tea Talk: A Five Year Plan

Tea Talk: A Five Year Plan

With our tea (or coffee or wine) let's talk about goals and dreams. I was recently at a large fundraiser/party for my husband's business where I was asked multiple times what I do for a living. I'm not sure why, but for some reason, we attach great meaning to what job a person does. I answered that I was an author and long story short the person in question said that most authors end in failure and I would be lucky indeed to ever be 'successful.'

As I've just published my debut novel, I don't have any grandiose ideas about immediately being a best seller. Which brings me to the five year plan. My father is fond of saying that there are 10,000 hours of work behind every 'overnight success.' Which equals (drum roll please): five years of work.

There is no better marketing strategy, for any writer, than to write the next book. Your second book will sell your first book, your third book will sell your second, and so on. For me, with only one book published, there's no reason for me to spend my days constantly marketing. If readers do find me and do enjoy The Clouds Aren't White, then they will want more. Readers want to find authors that they can spend time with, grow with, and most of all enjoy multiples books.

In 2021, I aim to have a total of five books published and to have a strong online presence with a good sized, and dedicated, following of readers. My second book is slated to be finished by the end of 2016. 

I encourage each and every one of you to formulate your own five-year plan. This doesn't mean that you stop with, I want to have X number of books finished. You must break down your end goal year by year and then month by month and then week by week, even day by day. This ensures that you not only stay on track but that you have manageable goals and you don't get overwhelmed by the magnanimity of it all.

Here's my plan for this year and finishing book #2

-Finish first draft (1st March)

-First Edit: macro, scenes, plot holes (completed 1st April)

-Send to beta readers, Edit Prose (April-May)

-Implement Beta Reader Feedback (completed 1st June)

-Micro edits: grammar, voice, transitions (completed 1st July)

-Send to agents (July-August)

-Cover artwork, interior design, and sent to editor (completed by November 1st

So there you have it, this year's schedule. I am still working on breaking down the day to day tasks. At this point I'm at a 1,000 minimum words/day quota to finish the first draft. 

A little bit of planning goes a long way.

Cheers,

Rachael