Friday, March 28, 2014

Editing and Anticipation

So, in these last days of March, before April and Camp NaNoWriMo, I've finally cracked open The Last Song to do some editing. It's kind of funny, when I finished writing it, I wanted to go through it right away and do reworkings and editing. But instead I waited a month and a half.

Distance is good. Distance from your writing isn't quite the same thing as "fresh eyes", but it's as good as you're going to get. And if you're like me, you want your work to look as good as you can make it before you give it to somebody else to read, even if it is your best friend.

There are scenes I'm cutting entirely. There are chapters I'm shifting around. I'm sure Draft 3 will be a mess, and it'll be Draft 4 or 5 before I show it to anybody else. An issue I'm having is The Last Song seems awfully "normal" for the first few chapters, before the urban fantasy stuff really kicks off, and I'm concerned that "too much" normalcy will put off people expecting genre. So I'm putting in foreshadowing, or some shit. But of course it'll probably be so oblique nobody gets it and it'll need to be fixed more. Such is my life.

However, I'm also finding things I absolutely love. Sentences I dig, imagery I feel I nailed. I took two paragraphs from two different chapters and put them together and suddenly, it was just right. So despite the mess it is, because that's what shitty first drafts are for (thanks, Anne Lamott!), it isn't irredeemable table flipping mess, just the regular sort (and to note, cutting and pasting large passages while using a touch pad on a laptop vs. a mouse is rather difficult).

I've also actually been planning my April project, at least in a loose "Chapter 1 has this, Chapter 2 has this" sort of manner. Not a true outline, but a decent enough guideline with where I want the story to go. I "created my novel" on the Camp NaNoWriMo site, with the title Esto Quod Es ("Be what you are") and left the word count goal at 50,000, because what the hell, right? If it looks like I'm not going to make it, I'll bring it down closer to the total I think I'll actually attain. No big. It's camp, much more relaxed than November.

Are you doing a Camp NaNoWriMo project? What are your goals?

6 comments:

  1. No camp NaNo for me. I don't mind editing, but I'm a veeeery slow writer, and do a ton of editing, cleaning, sharpening, as I go along. Love that you were able to see what you like, what's working, as you went through THE LAST SONG. :)

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    1. It's an effort not to read/sharpen as I go, that's a fact. For non-NaNo stuff, I'll frequently reread my most recently written stuff and adjust that before moving forward, when I sit down for the day.

      Yes, it's nice to find stuff I like that works when going through an MS, especially if it was a first draft. I have other projects, NaNo and otherwise, that as text aren't really salvagable, that I can tell. And the prospect of a from-scratch rewrite is wearying if I'm not wed to an idea.

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  2. I often feel the same way when I go back to things I wrote ages ago. ("Ages" being subjective, of course. ;) ) Sometimes my reaction is "oh god, what was I smoking when I wrote that, that sucks!", while other times it's more of a "hey, I might not be too bad at this writing thing!"

    And I can always find things to cut. That's why I don't put much stock in word count.

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    1. Oh yes, "ages" as pertains to writing definitely varies!

      There are some embarrassing "Oh God" passages, and the beauty of editing the first draft is you can just highlight and...make it go away! ;)

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  3. Truly "Fresh Eyes" is hard to attain. Reading words on the page brings back words in your head, what you meant to say, etc.

    And it is great when you find something in your ms that really *works*. I love it! Good luck with Camp NaNo.

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    1. Yes, I've heard the "reading background" strategy, but I haven't tried it out yet. I have put passages in a text to voice program with some success (and amusement).

      Thanks!

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