Friday, 27 April 2012

Editing & Progress

Hi all
Most humble apologies. I should have posted yesterday, but I was shattered.  After having family round for lunch, including my 21 month old nephew whose current interest in wrestling meant he spent the afternoon trying to put my teddy bears in a headlock and jump on top of them, my nerves were shot!  And no quips about my bears! They were the only toys to hand! I also forgot to buy the goat's cheese for the lunch dish I was making, so I wasn't popular, particularly as that was the key ingredient...

Anyway, I wrote nada yesterday.  I did do some marketing for my books -  articles, Twitter related tasks etc, but no actual scribbling. Today, however, I have been on a roll and have bashed out a little over 2000 words and ended right at the end of a scene. Yay!  I also wrote the character plans for two new characters, which is always fun. As the new novel is about a dating agency, you can imagine I need to write potential dates for Gill (the protagonist), so having a blank canvas is excellent. I have been off on jobsites, looking up potential careers for them. No research on names this time. Both names, first and surnames jumped into my head and the characters have built themselves a little from there. Obviously they will need some rounding out, but the basics are done. I've had to look up 'hurling' today, as I couldn't quite remember what it was - it's a type of Irish hockey.  Also had to check train times and routes across Scotland, to ensure accuracy and consistency.  Plus hobbies for men - what do they actually do?  The potential dates each have to be a little different.

Mmmm...can't decide if I like editing or not. It might be easier this time, as I will be editing for content not necessarily length. Although with Drill Sergeant Fi Broon  in charge (I know she can take it!), who knows.
I decided last week that I would start editing The Dating Game, whilst I am still writing it. I am about 30% of the way through the first draft. Due to time constraints, I don't want to wait until I have finished writing the novel, before editing it and to be honest, even with Sign of the Times, we started editing it before I had finished it, although I had written considerably more than I have of this novel. 

I wonder if we can do it in less than ten drafts this time. I really hope so. So much of that was word count though, which is why I am paying attention as I go along with the word count this time, but I don't want to be held prisoner by it either.
Apart from the usual stuff, like grammar and punctuation, which should be minimal errors, given I am so pernickety (typos more than anything), when I do a second draft, I am deleting or choosing the correct option from various phrases I have put down for the same sentence, where I wasn't sure which one I preferred. Sometimes in the original draft, I put words in brackets, if I am not sure if they are superfluous.  I was once told, 'Read each sentence as a stand-alone. If it doesn't add anything to the story, drop it'.  I think that's why Sign of the Times is such a tight novel.
If I am not sure if I like the turn of phrase that I have put, when I am writing the first draft, I highlight it in red, if inspiration doesn't come to me within say twenty seconds and move on. I am quite impatient about things like that, as it affects the flow of my writing and my thought process. That's what the second draft is for!
Whilst editing Sign of the Times, rather than use usual editing tools like Markup and Show Markup etc, for any changes/deletions, we decided we both preferred simply different coloured text for any comments or changes.  By the end of it the manuscript was like a rainbow!! But it worked. It showed us at a glance what the other had been happy with or not and the previous trail of communcation.  And we had a right laugh too, which is half the fun. 
I suppose to sum up, I would say, I was very apprehensive about letting someone else put their paws on my manuscript last time around, but this time, I know that I have the right person editing it, who only wants me to have the best book I can.  Back tomorrow - have a good weekend, Sooz
PS and remember, if you're lying about on the sofa with nowt to do this weekend- Sign of the Times is already available from Amazon -  £1.53 &  (price varies on site, depending on country. $2.99 USD
PPS  - after last week's IT meltdown due to a virus infiltrating my computer, today's lament is my printer is busted.  Tells me to insert a print cartridge. There is one in it.....have checked forums and looks like I might need to buy a new!


  1. I am editing my first novel for submission and loving it! Is it tragic that I'm excited by stuff I wrote last year and have forgotten?

    I've found that my dialogue needed tightening considerably; too many umms and ahs ruined the flow. Head jumping is also something that needs ironing out!

    Better get back to it I suppose. I'm submitting the first three chapters next week so wish me luck (and follow @AlexAboard on Twitter to be kept updated on progress and receive the novel's backstory online!)

    Thanks for the great blog!

  2. hi Alex, thx for stopping by the blog & glad you found it useful. Totally natural to be delighted by what you wrote a year ago and are rediscovering now. Yep, dialogue needs to be realistic, but not repetitive. Good that you picked up on fact needed tightening before sending it out. Head jumping?! Good luck with the submission and I will keep track of you on Twitter, Sooz