June 14, 2010

It's That Bad....

I've really begun...finally...to do the edits I've been putting off for so long on my one and only manuscript. And it is bad.

Really bad.

Embarrassingly bad. I've got passive verbs, passive sentences, passive paragraphs and passive chapters. Oh yes...it can be done, I say. And how in the world did I final in a contest? I guess by spending the last half year working on the first three chapters of my book. Ahhh, the stupidity of a novice.

Oh, I didn't go ahead and edit my whole book like a good little writer would. No, I just kept working on those first few chapters, getting critiques, getting feedback, and cutting and pasting until I said enough already. I was ready to move on. It's my first book, right? It is the "practice book", right?

Because of the final, I am making myself edit on the slim chance I get the privilege of getting an editor to read through my book (yes, that's the Big Prize for the ultimate winner). I'm digging in and doing some rewriting as I go through these edits. It's going to take me longer than I expected, I'm afraid. I've got to make these passive things take an active stance. I've got to make the story come alive.

Have any of you written a scene that started out in the middle of a day and you recount what happened earlier? Why not start at the beginning and jump ahead a bit. It makes it ACTIVE instead of PASSIVE. Oh goodness, I have so much to learn.

So here I write about this writing journey. About how I've been negligent. About how I've been procrastinating this editing because I knew it would be painfully difficult. So there ya have it. My writing life today.

26 comments:

  1. You'll do it! You know you can.

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  2. I feel ya! Editing/revising can feel so daunting sometimes. But then, I sort of think all of it feels daunting, depending on what stage I'm at. Writing a rough draft. Plotting an entire novel out of thin air. Writing is not easy!

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  3. Oh yes, the editing beast. Ahhhhh! I am with ya.

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  4. Oh, Sherrinda! I think you're doing the right thing by going ahead and revising the whole thing. You've obviously improved the 1st three chapters up to par! So take encouragement that now you can do the rest to award-winning status. Just take it one step at a time. Any rewrites are overwhelming and painful, but you can do it!

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  5. No worries, Sherrinda. I'm convinced nobody's first book is as awful as mine. Cardboard characters, cliched plots, cheesy dialogue, cringe-worthy description... Oh, boy.

    Good luck on the editing process. I have less than 20, 000 words to write on my second book which means I'll be editing in a month or two. *gulp* You and I can sludge through it together.

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  6. Oh girl, I feel you! Sounds like you have a good grasp on how to strengthen the story though. :-)

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  7. I feel your pain with rewrites, especially on the chapters where I was extra lazy when I drafted them. Don't be too hard on yourself though. It sounds like you've got a great start!

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  8. First, congratulations for finaling in a contest! I think editing is fun. . . working to make a ho hum story lots better. I just had the first 10 pages of my manuscript critiqued by an editor, she found little things that has me thinking "Why didn't I notice that!!?" I also have a lot to learn.

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  9. Ha ha ha ha. My second Chapter was a big ol' flashback. It was so silly. It seemed to make sense at the time I was writing it. Then, I joined my critique group and WHAM. They ink ran red. Everyone was like, "Why are you going back when you should be going foreward." And so, my Second Chapter became my first chapter.

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  10. I'm amazed by people who send submit their first completed manuscripts in to contest or submit them to editors/agents. When I wrote my first (completed) manuscript, I knew it was only a learning exercise. Same with #2. AND with #3. It wasn't until I started working on #4 that I knew it was going to be the one I was going to work on until it was ready to be sent out.

    So color me impressed that you're working on editing your first completed manuscript at all! (But, you know what I'm going to say---get it finished and get started on something new! As long as you're in edit/revision mode, you're not using the creative side of your brain effectively!)

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  11. CJ, you encourager, you! You always have something bright and cheerful to say!

    Katie, YES! This writing journey is incredibly difficult, but the strange this is, I'm hooked. :)

    Tabitha...LOVE how you call editing a beast! For it surely IS a beast!

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  12. Jody, you are also one of those wonderful encouragers with motivating words of wisdom. You are wise, don't you know? I feel like I am ready now to tackle the hard stuff now that I have more time on my hands.

    Mia, You go, girl with your second book! 20,000 words will just fly by! And sludge away with me...it will be a blast!

    Jessica, well, at least I understand what needs work in this particular chapter I am working on!

    Sarah, you don't get lazy in your first draft, do you? Surely not! ;)

    Janet, I've heard that even the best writers out there have things they have to change because their editors find the nitty gritty stuff. Is there is a thing as perfection in writing? I think not. :)

    Oh Brittany, we will get all the kinks worked out in this writing journey at some point. Hopefully, sooner rather than later.

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  13. Take it as an encouragement and positive sign that you recognize what needs to be edited! You've grown as a writer since you first penned those pages. You will learn so much from editing that will begin to flow naturally into the next project you do.

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  14. Kaye!! I would think as fast as you are spitting out novels these days, you would be one of those authors that was born writing well...from the first. As for entering my first MS to a contest, I think I just wanted some feedback on where I was as a writer, to see if I was deluding myself that I "could" write. I think I have some good stories to tell, but I have a long way in getting the craft element down.

    I must say I am definitely READY to use the creative side of my brain!!!!

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  15. Erica, you slipped in on me! I soooo hope I learn alot while editing. I hope it helps enough to make the next book flow easier. (Tell me it gets better!!!!)

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  16. It's a good thing that you recognize what needs to be tackled! And you CAN do it! It probably seems like a mountain to move, but you will get through it. Just take one day, one page, at a time. :)

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  17. Oh, honey, I wrote for more than fifteen years before I ever came to the decision that pursuing publication was what I was supposed to do. But I didn't finish a beginning-to-end, plot-arced, character-developed, complete-story manuscript until just before I turned thirty-two years old. And it was rough, let me tell you! As were the next two, as were the first three versions of the first ten chapters of the fourth one. And the only reason I ever got motivated to finish the fourth one is because it's the manuscript I was working on as my master's thesis. Between writing and rewriting and revising and editing, I spent three years on that manuscript (probably a total of five or six drafts). But it got me a master's degree. And 2nd place in the 2006 Genesis contest. And (after another edit) my first book contract. And (after some additional professional editing) a nomination for a Christy Award. And as soon as I finished writing Stand-In Groom, I started writing Ransome's Honor---while I was in the first rewrite/revision stage on SIG. Just to keep the creative side of my brain occupied with something totally new and different. Which, as it turns out, was good training for now, when, as soon as I finish writing a book, I must start writing the next one.

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  18. Sherrinda: So glad you have the time to do this. I'm proud of you for digging in and not shirking the hard part. Jesus is proud of you, too.

    Love
    Jen

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  19. WOOHOO! Edit edit edit!!!!! YOU CAN DO IT!!!!!

    (Geez, I should be wearing a cheerleader outfit and throwing around pom, poms... however, for the ease of everyone's eyes, I'll stick with just the pompom's... *grin*)

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  20. I'm still struggling to get my first chapters where they should be, so it's sounds like you're doing good so far! All the best with your edits.

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  21. Jennifer, if DOES seem like a mountain, but I suppose everyone has their mountains to move and we all climb them at our own pace. :)

    Kaye, I can't tell you how good that makes me feel. I know you would probably rather have done it with ease, but to others, it is good to know that that others have had to struggle and put the time in to be a good writer. I suppose there are those who sell that first book, but from what I understand, it is a rare thing. How wonderful to be able to use your manuscript for your thesis! I didn't know that you could do such a thing! :)

    Jeanette, *grins sheeply* I WANTED to shirk the hard part, but I suppose I need to do the edits and learn from it. There's no better way than actually getting my rear in the chair and just doing it. :)

    Krista!!!! I bet at this stage in your pregnancy, your cheerleader pompoms are EXCELLENT! lolololol You soooo crack me up!

    Cindy, aren't first chapters hard? You have to do so much in those first pages...capture a readers interest, tell enough, but not too much...it is ssooooo hard! But we can do it!

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  22. Oh, I so know how you feel about the passive voice. My main character (it's easier to blame her!) seems to like to um, reflect. All the time. She likes to talk about what happened, instead of what is happening.

    But, I keep tweaking it. Then, I put it aside and cry a little. Then, I tweak it again. :)

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  23. Sherrinda, LOVE your honesty! Yeah, i've been there more times than I can count. Sometimes I stop and "fix" things; sometimes I just keep plugging away to get to the storyline.

    You go, girl.
    Edits are part of the game. And you're a PLAYER!!

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  24. Hi Sherrinda -

    Since you finaled, I think it's wise to edit the whole book. Maybe next year we'll be celebrating the launch of your book. :)

    Blessings,
    Susan

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  25. ahh yes, the whole editing of a whole book....it sucks, but then...it's GLORIOUS!

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  26. Edits are no fun no matter what stage you are on the writing journey. But once you're finished, I think you'll find the extra work well worth it. Good luck!

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