Back in college, I had to complete a short story project for one of my creative writing courses and the outcome was a fully-edited, ready-to-publish (essentially) short story collection. And since this was back in the day of free proof copies for NaNoWriMo winners, I decided to go ahead and publish it. Why not, right? And I did so using my real name. Then I entered a Harlequin contest and did decently well (top 12 — so not placed or anything, but still a huge success in my mind), using my real name. All of the self-published short stories in the AugNoWriMo Compendium Milestone: under my real name. I was already starting to establish my name as my author brand, even before ever thinking about it. To then start over with a pen name? Not something that really appealed to me, personally.
One of the things I have always found most interesting is taking a look into other writers’ spaces. My writing space looks nothing like my editing space, mostly because when I edit, I need to get rid of any potential distractions and background noise so I can really hone in and focus on how specific words sound and figure out if they’re really the perfect one for the situation. Sometimes that takes reading things aloud to figure out pacing and rhythm, so I like to be away from my computer / the abundance of noise and videos that come with it. Sure, I can always just turn those things off… But if they’re there? And super convenient? It’s hard.
Plus, when I’m editing, I tend to do it for hours at a time. There’s so much more time that goes into editing for me than I ever commit to writing, so sitting at a computer chair, motionless, hunched over things I’ve written, or squinting at a screen? That sounds simply miserable.
I prefer to print my document, grab a clipboard and an Inkjoy Gel Pen in the color of choice for that particular manuscript, and curl up in the cozy corner of my couch with a few pillows, a fuzzy blanket, and a puppy.
March in the WriMo community has traditionally been reserved for editing as long as I have personally been a WriMo participant. From what I can tell, the logic is you write your 50k in November, finish your plot with a 30k dash in December and then pretend the writing jaunt didn’t exist for two months while you recover and try to put some distance between yourself and the novel… Before diving back into it and polishing up the draft in March.
Piggybacking off of that, as well as the fact that part of #Pub2020 is editing our novels to perfection before sending them out to seek representation for publication, my friend Liz over at her blog Words N Books, decided to host #editnfriends this March. And I, being a sucker for a community challenge, have joined. I mean, I need to edit regardless… Might as well use this as the kick in the pants to get me going, right?
Let’s meet the novel that I am going to be diving into, shall we?
Title: Sky of Light
Genre: Women’s Fiction / New Adult
Current Word Count: 113,489
Word Count Goal: 85,000 – 95,000
Place in my Universe: SoL is the middle book in Audrey’s Trilogy, preceded by Sky of Dust and followed by Sky of Stars.
Summary: For once, Audrey Laurent is keeping her clothes on as a runaway runway-model. Fleeing from France and an abusive boyfriend, she finds herself in the sun surrounded by new friends, new adventures, and new romance. After a series of misadventures including a courtroom wedding, a maid of honor, and a secret divorce, will Audrey finally get the happy-ending she ran to find?
How do you plan to edit? / What are your goals for this draft?
This is the final draft I am editing by myself. I have the entire draft printed out and am going through with a fine-toothed comb and scribbling all over the manuscript by hand. I think the middle is still a little squishy from where I split the original novel into a trilogy back in 2010 / 2011 or so. If I need to do major content changes still, I’ll create a chapter-by-chapter outline and then put all the pieces together again within the manuscript before poking at things like word choice. As you can see above, I have about 20k that needs to be cut from this novel at the moment so that it is a feasible fit for the genre / market when I start shopping it around for publication, so I’m definitely looking for places to tighten up my prose. From there, I’ll be seeking out detailed, nit-picky line edits from crit partners or potentially even hiring someone to really beat the novel into submission.
What’s your update schedule / editing plan?
This novel currently has 37 chapters and I’ve already edited 4. So basically, I’m looking at a pace of 1 chapter per day, and then 2 on a few incredibly productive days, if I want to get the entire novel finished within the month of March. Realistically? I know that won’t work in my schedule with work and class and a memorial family trip. So, my goal is going to be 2 chapters per week. That will bring the edited chapters up to chapter 12, which will put me in a good place to continue along that pace and finish the edit by the end of June to start sending it around for others to read and keeping that ball rolling!
I plan on updating weekly on my #editnfriends progress — posts will go live every Sunday — to share my tips, tricks, successes, and woes of the editing process. If you would like to keep up in real time, check out my Author Twitter. I promise I’ll try not to whine too much. 😉