I have gone through all the questions on self-editing that some of you have posted here in the last few days and have picked out the actual questions and sent them off to Renni Browne. So when I hear back from her, I’ll start posting her answers here.
Some of you have been speculating on the secret project I’m working on. Not my choice to keep it secret. It’s somebody else’s secret. I mention it because it’s been consuming enormous amounts of my time, and I felt I owed you all some explanation of why I have had little blogging energy the last few days. Things are just about finished on this thing. I wrapped up the hard part today. Tomorrow, I have to finish the harder part, and then that’ll be the end of things. In a couple of months, all will be revealed. Again, that’s not my choice–it’s been imposed on me.
Let me give you my initial thoughts on self-editing:
I’m a lazy cuss and I hate working harder than I have to. So I try my best not to work on something that will be thrown away. Some examples:
If I know the novel is unpublishable, I refuse to work on it anymore. I’d rather work on an idea that I think is publishable. It saps my energy to be pouring time down a rathole.
If I know that the story structure is wrong, (but the novel is a good concept), then I fix that first. I refuse to revise a chapter which is likely to get thrown out. And if the story structure is wrong, a lot of chapters are going to get thrown out.
Once I have fixed the story structure, then I ask which chapters are in and which are out. I write new chapters to replace the deleted ones, because I want the whole story in place. Then I read the whole thing and take notes.
Once I know that I have all the chapters that I’m going to need, I work through them all in order, revising it. I make sure the scene structure is right and that I know the conflicting agendas of the main characters in the scene.
Once I think a scene is structured right, then I edit the thing line by line. I’m not going to discuss what that entails today.
Like I said, I’m lazy and I don’t want to edit a scene that might get chucked. Life is too short for that. Get the big picture right first, then the middle picture, then the little picture. And if that sounds like the Snowflake method, that’s because it is. I use the Snowflake to edit my work and it’s every bit as useful there as when I designed the beast in the first place.
Tuesday is E-zine Day, so I’ll be busy on that all day and will not blog tomorrow night. Wednesday, I’ll blog again.
See ya then!