Please welcome author Marie Dry as she talks about EDITING.
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Over to Marie now...
I was asked to talk about the writing craft and I thought I’d start out with my favourite which is editing.
I would love to be able to plot my book in advance and to sit down and write it from beginning to end and then change something here and there and send in the manuscript. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how you look at it I am a pantser. Unfortunately because my process tends to be long and I can’t work full time and produce a book in three months. Fortunately because I love editing and my rough drafts require a lot of it.
When I started writing seriously with the idea of getting published the hardest thing for me was to figure out a process. Should I just write? Should I plot? How do I know my characters are not cardboard people? So I thought I would talk about my editing process specifically with the hope it can help someone struggling with the same questions I struggled with.
I type fast and my rough drafts I can easily finish within two weeks to a month. Depending on how cooperative my characters are. When the writing flows and the characters take over and I just write what they show me I know I am on the right track. My friends all love at me when I say I am just the slave whose fingers type the story the characters want!
The first thing I do when I finish the rough draft is set it aside. That distance is very necessary and when I come back to it a few weeks later and even a month later I’m always amazed at what I wrote. For about half an hour at least and then I see everything I need to fix. I’m very critical of my own writing but I also enjoy my own stories. And this is really important. If you read it through that first time and you enjoy it and it holds your interest you did something right. If your attention wanders and you struggle to finish it you went wrong somewhere. To me this is the most important part of the edit. Readers will forgive a spelling mistake IF the characters are compelling, they might overlook grammar mistakes IF the story and readers draw them in. Liz Pelletier over at savvy authors regularly present a three pass editing webinar which I can recommend. Margie Lawson also hosts some excellent editing courses on her website.
What works for me is to go back to where the story lost me and move back two more pages and mostly I find that I imposed my own ideas on the characters instead of allowing them to speak for themselves.
Once I have fixed these problems I do the line editing and check for anything that does not make sense, do they have clothes on, do I have my facts straight?
I have several books on body language and I read through one of them and look up what I need and go through the manuscript and I try to add new body language. In the rough draft I tend to over use the same body language over and over and it pays to go through the manuscript and freshen that.
Next I check the language. My big writing sin is repeats so I have to check for that. English is also my second language and sometimes I find sentences written backward the way it would be done in Afrikaans. I check for typos during each pass but intensively at this stage and after that I put the manuscript through savvy authors auto critter. I also check for over use of eyes, glance, mouth and passive writing etc.
I send it off to my CP which also give me some time away from it.
Next I set aside the manuscript for at least a month and then come back to it with fresh eyes and fix whatever jump out at me. This is also another opportunity to just read it through from beginning to end and see if you still enjoy the story. If there are any chapters where my mind wanders I fix that.
Now the manuscript is ready to be submitted and at this stage I always convince myself that there is too many problems with it to send it off. This is procrastinating and I bite the bullet and press send. I try to minimize stressing about the thought of some editor laughing at my attempt or throwing it out of the window in a fit of frustration by tackling the next story.
I hope this helped someone out there and if there are any questions, please ask away and I also check my facebook page regularly so I will come back to you if you post questions there.
Merry Christmas and a happy new year and prolific writing to everyone.
Alien Mine by Marie Dry
In a bleak future where government systems are breaking down and lawless bands of men terrorize the country, botanist Natalie Hanson fears for her life and hides in a cave in the Rocky Mountains. When she is captured by human raiders, a fierce alien appears and slays her attackers. Natalie is now held captive in her own cave by the sexy and striking alien commander, Zacar, who informs her that she will be his breeder. Natalie soon realizes that these aliens worship strength. So what will happen when Zacar finds out she has severe asthma?
Go ahead, ask Marie questions about editing!