Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The End of the Line (Edit)

I'm going to be honest here. When I started working on the line-edits for The Seven Tales of Trinket, I wasn't looking forward to it that much. I mean, on the positive side, the book is that much closer to being real. On the negative side, well, it's a lot of work. Not really HARD work, because most of the notes are small and easy to fix. But then there is the occasional question written in the margins that makes me go Oh Crud! You are right, that doesn't make much sense that way does it? Hmm. Now I need to go back and change page 153, too. And page 87, for that matter.

But now I am on page 221. Which means the end is near, and I'm kind of dreading being done. I feel like I've gotten to know my editor in a whole new way by pouring over her suggestions. I laugh a little at some of her funny comments and am truly touched by others. Last night, when I was working on a very difficult section (one that makes me cry every time I read it), I felt like she was right there, holding my hand as I crafted the words of that scene to make it even stronger. And as I near then end, it feels like we are really in this together (even though we've never really met and only talked by phone or e-mail.) She is closer to Writing Shelley than anyone in the world right now.

And I will miss the feeling.

The process has helped me recognize few of my writing demons:

1. I have consistency issues (as in I forget where my characters put stuff, or where they are standing, etc.) which means I sometimes contradict myself. Relatively easy to clean up, but I am more aware of my tendency to do it now.

2. I play fast and loose with commas sometimes. I tend to hear the tale being told in my head, and imagine the pause in breath a storyteller might make, and stick a comma in there (whether or not it is the right place.) Other times, I imagine the internal teller talking quickly, and totally leave commas by the wayside. I used to be dang good at comma-fying, but now....not so much.

3. I tend to make up words (ie: comma-fying).

4. I get stuck on words. It's like I'll use a word and then need to use it again and canNOT think of a good synonym that sounds right. So, I'm stuck with five he lookeds on the page. Not good.

5. I have the worst keyboard in the world. (Since the crash of October, the cursor jumps around of its own free will, adding words in the middle of sentences that make no sense.) I would not wish the possessed cursor on anyone.

These are all such helpful things to know about my writing self, especially when I go to revise the next book. I have internalized a little bit of Beth's (my editor) eye. I can recognize what is going to bug her and can hopefully tweak it before it even goes to her.

More March News:

This Friday, I will be at the San Diego County Office of Education for their annual Author's Fair.

The first batch of corned-beef and the first loaf of soda bread have already been made and consumed. More on the way! (But no cabbage. Yuck.)



Tricia J. O'Brien said...

I'm baking soda bread and bringing Guinness to my friend's on Thursday. She's making corned beef. Now, I just need your little dancers. :)
One of the easy ways to find another word is clicking on the word in question, going to the dictionary and then clicking to synonyms. But maybe you're doing that already.
I vote that you buy a new keyboard without a cursed cursor. It's your gift to you for Trinket!

Jess said...

I tend to have all the "writing demons" that you mentioned and about a million more too :)

Enjoy your St. Patty's day!

Christina Lee said...

AWw, I loved this insiders peak. I could totally see hwo tht would happen with an editor.

#4 is like the bane of my existence. I use laugh (not a lot of synomyms for it), heart and breath a lot!!!!

Will Strong said...

I just found your blog. Good stuff. I especially love your banner photo.

storyqueen said...

Tricia-My dancers are getting pretty big! I might post a link to them dancing in China on Thursday, if I can find it. And I use that little synonym thing all the time...when I am aware that I have overused a word. Unfortunately, often I don't seem to notice at the time.

Jess-Welcome to the Annoying Demon Club! We should have a mascot.

Christina-I used beautiful A LOT! And heart. I mean, what IS a synonym for heart?

Will-Yeah, it's a pretty funny shot. Although believe me, there are many that are worse!!

Hardygirl said...

Oooo. I love reading about this stuff!!

I'm struggling with consistency as I'm doing the final illustrations for my book--things like "how many toes does the monster have? is it her left or right ribbon that's come undone? Which direction do the floorboards run? ...

And, I'm super excited because "line edits" means I'm closer to holding your fabulous book in my grubby little hands!!!

Myrna Foster said...

I wonder if using the same word over and over on the same page might be a side effect of writing easy readers.

Thanks for sharing your little writing problems. We all have them, and your editor sounds wonderful. Good luck with the rest of your line edits!

Margo Berendsen said...

I've reached the editing stage in my WIP (first draft) done, and I'm dreading it! But this post encouraged me. Except for the part where you say the change on page such and such means you have to go back and fix page x and page y too. Yay for the closeness you feel with your editor!!! That's huge!