Posts Tagged ‘edit’

I was pre-law at University of Illinois- Chicago Circle for two wonderful years.  I would have hated to be a lawyer, but I have since done legal research and the Internet makes me one happy girl.  I love to do research. I can spend two and a half days researching something that turns out to be one sentence in my novel.  It is worth it though, to bring the book alive. The problem with research, is I am easily distracted by all the fantastic facts out there.

I have worked on this particular novel for probably two years now. I have a “nearly” complete first draft. I’m lacking parts of the final chapter; from fleshing out the final action scene to a type of wrap up. I’m six chapters in to my first edit. I call it my word edit.

Words must conjure and relate to the story:  Doing research on writing for young adults, and just plain good writing, I have a file of words that are passive,  weak, redundant, and unnecessary. I use my find option on each of the forty plus words and rewrite sentences as I find problems.  This really tightens my writing. It is not my favorite part of writing. It is very time consuming, but worth it. I find that my writing improves as I learn not to use these “extra” words.

Further edits:  I have seven files of things I do not want to forget to add into the book.  There are two files of lines I might put in the book yet.  I have one character I am adding into the book yet. Then, there is the issue of four separate openings I am dealing with.  Then there is my eternal problem with tense.

The opening: The opening has changed four times. I have thought about having a contest on the blog for choosing a favorite opening. I just cannot make up my mind. 

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I keep telling my family that I am two chapters, partially written, from the end of the first draft of my book. I told them that in February, and in March, and now it is April. Guess what, I think I am still two chapters from the end of the first draft of my book. 


I was fudging it in February. I kept adding things like, “Oh, and chapter 11 needs fleshing out.” But, the real problem is the book just keeps growing. It was sixteen chapters, then seventeen, now it is nearing nineteen.


I do this constant edit thing. Until this past month, every day that I began writing, I would start by going over the previous few chapters. So, you would think that Chapter one is pretty well done. I doubt it, because last month, I went back to my original first chapter. Yesterday, I changed a few things in it. I think I am an editing addict.


I did this when I was painting full time too. When I was near the end of a painting, I would bring it in the house and hang it above the kitchen table. I would often leave dinner, to correct a mistake I had found. Maybe I can call that the painting diet.


This may be why I have always found creating pottery to be soothing. There is no going back. You fire it. It’s written in stone (pun intended). I don’t obsess. I just do it. I do my research, I have my reference material and I do it. I put it out in the world to stand on it’s own and move on to the next piece.


But, pottery seems like more of a temporary thing to me. I know in my hands it is. I know artists whose pottery is so outstanding that I stand before it and appreciate it like a good painting. But, not mine. Not yet anyway. It’s a fun hobby that takes part of the results, out of my control. The kiln decides. I can relax.  


But, in the end, even with ideas from friends and families contributing; in the end, this book is mine. It is the first part of a story told in five books. It is a story that I would not have written, had I not taken in three of my grandchildren. It is an important story. It is a tribute to the bravery of children. It is too important to sit in my drawer.


So, you’ll excuse me, if I tell you, I’m two chapters from the end of the first draft.

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