editing process

2 articles tagged as editing process

Wwell, actually, not writing.  Editing.  I printed and scribbled all over the manuscript.  Mostly this seems to consist of asking myself snarky questions and circling 1.5 million ellipses.

No, really, if I had a buck for every ellipses, I could retire and be a hermit.

So, now I am correcting the ellipses (most of them become commas or periods and their attendant capitalized next word) and answering questions.  For example, a dead body at the beginning should match a dead body found later, MO wise, and if not, we both need to know why and believe it.

Fun fact:  I opened up a copy of The Chocolatier’s Wife today, to confirm the spelling of one of my main character’s last names.  The woman is Cecelia, and she was all over CW and is even more important in this book.  I adore her.  In my head she looks like Zoe from Firefly, but dresses more like a Romany.

And I am reminded that in CG, she is not called Cecelia.  She is called Ailaini. Says so right in the original published PDF.

And I stared at the screen and I was like, why the hell did I do that?  She has always been Cecelia, in my head.  But at the time, the editor pointed out that Cecelia was not a very exotic name.  Cecelia…or Ailaini, as she must be called…is from the tropical island Stairs and Alyssen.  So, her name had to match who she was.

But, thankfully, God gave us find and replace.

Ailaini and her village were attacked by pirates, and enslaved.  But William and his crew freed them.  She didn’t want to go back to her life before, so she got Isan Dietson, William’s second in command, to marry her.  She’s a widow, she works at the Chocolate Shop and is fast friends with both William and Tasmin, but she’s been hiding a secret.

I love her because she embraces life beautifully.  She loves deeply – she embraces her new community by dancing blessing patterns early in the morning in the sand, to help Azin shore and her people thrive.  She reads the worst pulp novels she can find and passes them on the William.  She teases Tasmin and gives her a sister the other woman never knew she needed but now can’t live without.

She’s amazing and witty and I hope you will adore her, too.

But she’s still Cecelia, in my head.

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I finally finished the first draft of the new book. I am tempted to email my publisher to find out if slightly over 100,000 words is OK for a book…I think it is…but it might change the price point, so I go back and forth. I want to write an amazing, non-bloated, perfect book that will make everyone happy, so I’ll just look at it in the second draft and weigh and measure everything carefully.

It’s a good book, though. I feel about it like I felt about The Chocolatier’s Wife…it came out so easily, except the end, which I feel is problematic and does not exactly evoke the feeling I want. There will be a lot of work done there, in the second draft.

I don’t know if I ever talked about the second draft process. It’s going to be slightly different this time. When I usually do the second draft, the first part is to print a copy I can scribble all over, hole punch it and put it in a binder. I accidentally printed this one double sided, (I default to double side because I like to try and be decent to the environment whenever possible) so I will probably keep a stack of lined note paper handy, and insert it next to the page. A (very) long time ago I used to write my books long hand, so I have, hoarder that I am, tons of lined note book paper that I would get on sale. See? Hoarding can be useful.

The reading process will combine two things this time. Usually it’s just comments — I say things like “Need to expand this scene” or “Are his eyes always this color?” “Do we need this?” “Do I deal with this later?” “Need to go back and make sure that we mention this in previous chapter so it makes sense later.” So I’ll mark the copy up, ask a lot of questions. That’s par for the course. Then I will lay the binder open next to my computer, open the file, and start answering those questions.

This time, there will be an added step. I’ve been using Liquid Story Binder to keep track of facts about the characters and the world…when I decided to write a sequel to Chocolatier’s Wife I actually read the book and started a file so that everything would be consistent in the sequel. I wanted to make sure that everything was the same, so I created character dossiers, even for the Wind Sprites, and wrote down every detail of the world that I could, so that there is consistency. I know I am going to write a sequel to The Key to All Things so I need to do this as I go this time, get the data down so I can create dossiers. I also may use Scrivener, and split this book up into chapters as I go.

The dossier for CW will be useful, also, because The Key to All Things takes place in the same world…and the Pandroth Empire plays a very tiny part that will become much more important later. I have this odd little network of books in my head that all take place on the same planet. It’s fun, to create the connections in my head, and I think it makes the world feel more round and real.

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