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Tag: editing

Dead tree editing redux! #MondayBlogs

It’s been only since the Jurassic era that I last blogged, but that’s life with 9-month-old twins, who just happen to be simultaneously napping for maybe another 10 minutes.

So what have I been up to besides channeling my inner moo-cow and changing poopy diapers for the last 18 months? Believe it or not, I’ve actually been making a great deal of progress on editing my third novel – working title Community Klepto. The latest thing I did in the editing process is a step I have not taken before, but now that I did it I am inordinately glad I did. I edited a complete “dead tree” version of the book – meaning I went to Kinko’s, had computer them make a spiral bound paper copy of it, and used that for a cover-to-cover read-through/edit.

I’ve done straight readthroughs on both computer and Kindle screen and found there to be some definite benefits I hadn’t experienced before by doing this on paper – things I think will definitely make it a better book.

1. Relative spine thickness

This seems obvious, but looking at my word count in a document file is one thing. Seeing the thickness of your book spiral bound is another. It didn’t sound like a long book when I said the word count out loud, but I was shocked when I saw how thick it was printed out. Holy crap I wrote a big ass book!

2. Stale jokes

I found several places where I thought I was being high-larious, but it turns out past me was already high-larious. Since I went through the chapter edits one by one, I missed a lot of instances where I repeated the same jokes twice, sometimes even three times.

3. Missing words

For some reason, these just seem to jump out on the printed page so much more than they do on a screen. Since my brain wrote over them once, it tends to read over them a second time. It wasn’t until I read through again on a tactile page that I found a few more of these

4. Awkward chapter breaks

Again, since my previous round of edits was chapter by chapter, I wasn’t able to see how smooth the transition was from the end of one chapter to the beginning of the next one. When I find myself struggling to figure out where to end a chapter, I just cut it off when I think it starts to get awkward. This wasn’t as graceful as I’d hope in some spots.

I definitely think this process will make Community Klepto a better book. Now I just need to go incorporate all my bright orange chicken scratches on a screen once more.

So what else have I been up to? Besides diapers and bottles and snot suckers? We’ve been training for the Austin half-marathon, which has helped me channel my protagonist even more. I’ve had some interesting experiences with some of my training runs… but that’s a story for later.

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Second draft, part of the craft #amediting #MondayBlogs

Amidst a weekend otherwise consumed by massive flooding and tornado warnings every ten minutes (which my husband had to inform me about because I was too focused on rabid writing), I finished the first draft of my third novel, working title Community Klepto on Memorial Day. As such, I am now going back to the beginning to start revising what will eventually be my second draft, and going through the mile-high stack of critiques I have amassed from my workshop group thus far (pictured).

In the short time since Memorial Day and revising the first chapter, I have made the following observations about my third novel:

1) This started out rough. Like, really rough.

When I started this book, I had only a vague idea of who the character was and what the story was going to be. I started this weird fourth wall narrative kind of thing where my character was talking to the reader, and it just didn’t work. Luckily, my drunken muse took over at some point.

2) I wasn’t afraid to go big quickly.

This book is about being playful with gymgoer archetypes and stealing things, and my character isn’t afraid to do both in the first chapter. I say thrust the reader in like a warm dildo; at least then, they know what they’re getting into.

3) This is gonna take awhile.

For any of the three hardcore Kelly I. Hitchcock fanclubber types out there anxiously awaiting my next release, thinking it will be any time soon, you are sadly mistaken. This is but one chapter out of 24, so I have my work cut out for me. Besides, I’d really be doing you a disservice if I didn’t edit the fuck out of this book before bestowing it upon the masses.

Some people have asked me whether I am going to start querying publishers immediately now that I am done with the first draft. My answer is, for now, no. I want to get this manuscript as polished off as a bottle of good Pinot Noir before I even attempt to send it off to a publisher whose editor would inevitably be all like, “What is this rough turd?”

So be patient with me, as this will be a long lonely process of editing loneliness, but will be so worth it in the end, because I think this is my best work yet. Also be nice to me because it’s my birthday, bitches.

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The best laid plans…

My original intention was to spend the month of October polishing my novel so that I could have it ready to publish on Amazon and Goodreads by November 1 (just in time for #NaNoWriMo), but unfortunately life had other plans. I finished 2 rounds of editing, and was getting ready to start a final read-through just before the last week in October before this perfect storm happened:

  • I was assigned a new client’s dating profile to write every. single. night. Not to mention, I usually had to squeeze in editing based on feedback for the one I had done the night before, so my evenings were destroyed.
  • We had friends come into town for the weekend of Halloween, and they had a very erratic schedule, so the time I planned on working on formatting my manuscripts for e-reader was completely booked.

Not to mention, I have a pesky full-time day job and all that noise. So, the book’s not going to come out when I hoped, but I’d rather have it done right than done on time.

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The Joy of Editing

fter years of pimping my first novel to agents and publishers, I’ve decided to quit stalling and self-publish the thing as an e-book. Why? Well, there are lots of reasons, in no particular order:

  • Indie ebook authoring is the way the market is going. Every time I read something from an author who has gone independent and e-book only, it only reinforces that I’m making the right decision.
  • I know my book’s good enough to be on shelves. I got one offer for a book deal from a publisher (it was a really shitty deal, and I was right not to take it), and got requests for a full manuscript from two agents.
  • It will keep me from being lazy and making excuses about why the book hasn’t been published yet. I can’t blame anyone but myself.
  • Every day I don’t self-publish my book is a day I’m not making money (thanks J.A. Konrath), and I could use it.
  • The Redheaded Stepchild is not my greatest work. I have better stories to write and it’s time to get this one under my belt and move on.

So, what are the main functions today’s publisher offers, since I can get my books in the hands of readers without a publisher getting them on pages and on a shelf in a bookstore? Primarily, editing and cover art. I’m doing both of these myself, which may be a cardinal sin, but hey, if I’m going to be a starving independent author, I need to play the part.

In addition, it’s been more than 5 years (seriously? seriously.) since I wrote The Redheaded Stepchild, so I felt like I had the level of dramatic distance needed to be more objective than I would have been right after I wrote it. And I think I do, for the most part. I’ve taken a lot of measures to make my main character a little stronger (she was a lot whinier than I remembered) and I’ve caught a lot of technical errors I am both embarrassed by and know I would have missed years ago.

The first pass of editing is now complete, and I’m moving on to phase 2. In phase 1, I was mostly cutting – deleting details that didn’t add to the plot development, took away from the character’s persona, or were just weird. Now I am adding – adding details that will help make my character stronger and my plot more believable. I think after phase 2, I will be done editing, because I am getting to a point where I think “gee, that’d be a great detail to add,” only to add the detail then find the exact same thing a few sentences later.

Editing is a necessary but thankless task, and the biggest part of every writer’s life. I can’t wait to hire someone to do it for me next time 😛

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