I use a purple pen.
Editing has never been my strong suit. I used to just celebrate if I managed to finish something and basically felt that I was done and eagerly moved on to the next project. As I’ve gotten older, more experienced as a writer, and more serious about getting published the realization that I actually have to edit what I write has weighed heavily on me.
I hated the idea of editing. “I should be done.” “I don’t want to change things,” “I barely want to proofread,” “I just wanted to work on my next great idea.”
The problem is I was constantly chasing after my newest greatest idea and leaving a trail of decrepit stories in my wake that could be made whole with a lot of love and attention.
Over time I’ve slowly learned me lesson. I managed to get to a point where I didn’t hate editing, then almost enjoying it. This year I’ve made it my focus to edit my novel from last November instead of moving on to something else and I’m actually starting to enjoy editing. It seems so overwhelming when I first start and I can’t imagine how I’ll do it. But then I start reading and I start making little notes, which turn into longer notes and suddenly I’m cutting out scenes and putting in new ones and I’m getting excited. Excited that I’m making the story better, that I’m learning to understand my characters and their motivation and what the stories really about.
So I seem to finally be getting the editing thing, which is good, considering I’m hoping to publish this story.
I hope you guys have had a less rocky path to understanding the importance of editing. What are techniques and strategies you use in your editing? (I hope that didn’t sound too much like the teacher at the end of a children’s Bible story.)
~~Lady of the Pen~~
It suddenly came to my attention that I really haven’t mentioned anything on my blog about my current project. I recently finished the first draft on a novel I started during NaNoWriMo and am working on pumping out a second draft now.
This isn’t actually what the train would look like, but it’s awesome, so I’m using it
The story centers around Valerie, a girl, in the 1930s who runs away from home and is hopping trains across the country looking for work. During her travels she is caught in a storm and seeks shelter on a passing train. When a strange woman interrogates her onboard Valerie learns that this train defies all reason and leaving it may be harder than she thought.
Hopefully I’ll finish my second draft soon and can find some beta readers to help me make it better ^^
~~Lady of the Pen~~
One of the interesting things about being a writer is you begin to understand how other writers think and as a result you can often figure out where a story is going. I was watching ‘The Bates Motel’ with my mom last night and I kept saying character’s dialogue a moment before they did. She thought it was the funniest thing in the world, which I think had to do with the late hour.
I remember when I was younger I thought I’d make a great detective because I could usually figure out “who done it.” It wasn’t until later that I realized that I wasn’t figuring it out because of the clues so much as by how the characters were presented and how they interacted with each other and who I would have made the killer.
As a result of understanding the writer’s mind many of our family and friends will marvel at our powers of observation. But there’s a bit of a downside to it as well. It becomes so much harder to be surprised by a story, though on the bright side it’s so much more rewarding when the writer does pull the wool over your eyes. I think it should also inspire us, as writers, to not be too predictable. We should strive to think outside the box, don’t always go with your first idea–or your first ten–we want to surprise and delight ourselves as much as our audience. Learn to get off the beaten path and off road it, because that’s where all the surprised are.
P.S. I did not expect this blog post to go this way. I was just going to write about how funny I thought my mom’s reaction to my foretelling of the movie were XD
~~Lady of the Pen~~
This is something I came across the other day that I thought I’d share. It’s a talk Madeleine L’Engle gave discussing fantasy and how it point to truth. She also discusses her faith. I have great respect for the woman, she knows how to be real.