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Author Marie Dry Talks About Editing

Please welcome author Marie Dry as she talks about EDITING.

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Over to Marie now...


Hi Everyone
 
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?

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Go ahead, ask Marie questions about editing!

30 comments:

  1. I feel the same way about just trying to keep up (typing) as my characters tell me their story. I find the writing flows better that way. I love the editing process though.

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    1. Kelly it took me a long time to learn that when I force the writing and its not the characters running the show I'm on the wrong track. Now that I look out for that I have a lot less cutting to do on my manuscript. And I'm amazed at how easily I delete unnecessary parts these days.

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  2. Even plotters can have a lot of editing to do. Taking the time away from the manuscript is so important. Congrats, Marie!

    Merry Christmas!

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    1. Thanks Cherie, I've convinced myself that plotters have this magical way of writing that means amazing speed and magical editing that takes only a week versus my months.

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  3. I'm still learning to love editing - I could write first drafts forever. Love your point about doing the read through and seeing where you wander - I'll have to try that - thanks!

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  4. I've done the webinar on the three pass edit with Liz Pelletier and she always say to begin with that. The first time I thought I either wouldn't be able to enjoy my own story as just a reader even though I wrote what I wanted to read and I was sure I wouldn't pick up on places where it lagged. The moment I picked up the manuscript after about a month of leaving it alone I could immediately see where it flowed and where it lagged and what I had to tighten. I would edit forever if I don't force myself to stick to deadlines for handing in the manuscript.

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  5. I so envy you the ability to write an entire story – I struggle writing a blog post! Fascinating post, thank you.

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  6. Barbara, I've been writing my whole life but about eight year ago I decided to really go for it. I thought I would just sit down and write a whole book. Big surprise for me because I struggled to do a half an hour a day. I looked at all the interviews and blogs with successful writers and they all said to write consistently every day. Even if it is only ten minutes. Still it took me three years before I could do three hours a day. I suppose the brain has to get used to concentrating that much. Do you want to write? If you have characters in your head wanting to come out they'll drive you crazy until you write them.

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  7. Marie, a great post. Very helpful. I love editing too, maybe too much!

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    1. Denise, I know what you mean. Because I love editing so much I have to force myself sometimes to stop fiddling with the manuscript.

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  8. Great post Marie and I love the image of you typing away, a slave to your characters and their story. It's so true!

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    1. Thanks Rachael, I used to think being in control would be better until some characters refused to appear and it felt like doing math to write that story. So now I am happily acting slave for my characters.

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  9. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Marie!

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  10. Great post! Yay for panster writers! :)

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    1. Thanks Meradeth, the amusing thing is when I started writing I thought I was a plotter.

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  11. I usually enjoy revising and editing more than writing the story. I find that when I add all the parts that make the story richer - well until I'm on my 10th pass -then I hate it.

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  12. Cassandra, we are on exactly the same page. I love the editing but about the tenth time I have to go through the manuscript I want to run away. I'm hoping eventually I can cut it down to five pass overs.

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  13. Very helpful post. Thank you! Have a very Merry Christmas!

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    1. Pleasure Sherry and belated Merry Christmas to you too.

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  14. The pantser in me thank you for this post. I will check out the savvy author site too

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  15. Michelle, www.savvyauthors.com and www.margielawson.com are good sites. Also Writers University has some good classes but I'm not sure of the link. They come into my email as WriterU

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  16. Marie's book sounds very interesting. I am curious about the world she writes about!

    I think Marie's advice will help a lot of authors. I am definitely getting better at editing and figuring out my main problems so I can keep an eye out for them. Reading about someone else's process helps me to think about my own and figure out ways to improve. It is hard to put my ms away for a month before editing, but I do see the benefits and how much more I can accomplish if I wait. :) Thanks so much and best of luck!
    ~Jess

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    1. Jess, I know what you mean about it being hard to put away the manuscript for a month. Especially if the characters are living in your mind. I normally start a rough draft of another story or edit another finished manuscript during that month.

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  17. It is very helpful to set a draft aside for a while, then come back to it with fresh eyes. Very helpful post. Thank you!

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    1. Stephanie, so glad you found it helpful.

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  18. I love reading about another writer's process. I can type a draft within two weeks or two months depending on my time off and time spent. I always put it aside for awhile.

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    1. Medeia,I love reading about other writers processes too. I learned a learned a lot that way. I write the rough draft fast as well. Could do it in two weeks but the editing takes me months.

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  19. Happy New Year's Eve. Wishing you all the best.

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  20. Thanks, Vanessa, only saw your post now.

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