I am so excited this morning that I can barley contain it! I am now moving on to the next step to publication. The editing process.
This is not the first time I’ve edited my work. When I first started writing, nearly two years ago, I was writing by the seat-of-my-pants with absolutely no experience. But not now. I’ve gotten experience under my belt and still a lot more to learn. BUT, this time I know what I do will make a difference. Why? Because I’ve got my Critique Partners to back me up. The first time around, it was just me.
If you’ve read my previous blogs, The Importance Of Writing Outlines…I’m glad I did!-Parts 1and 2, you have first hand knowledge of the errors I made in the beginning of my writing career. Since then, I have taken steps to correct those mistakes and make my sixth attempt at writing a lot easier. And so far those steps have.
What have those steps been?
First, I sat down and wrote a complete Character Chart for my h/h. I found reference pictures on the Internet and created a pictorial chart of the main characters, their friends and family, anyone of importance that would show up in the story. I looked up information about their jobs, town in which they live, anything I could think of to bring life to the characters so it can ring true. It took two weeks of thought and research, but in the end I knew exactly who my characters were from childhood to the start of their story. Their hopes, fears, dreams and secrets.
Next, I wrote a basic twenty page one chapter outline. I decided the main points in each chapter and worked out the flow of the story. That took about a week.
Then I tackled the part I’d spent a year avoiding, the dreaded outline. Not easy from a seat-of-your-pants writer. Using a writing program, I took those pages and followed my brief outline and expounded on the story. Filling in the blanks of each scene, adding, deleting, or moving plot points around until the flow of the story began to make more sense. That took about five weeks.
And then, the fun began! I started to write. I gave myself thirty days to follow the outline and bring the story to life. And when I say write, I don’t mean typing, using Microsoft. I talking about old school. Notebook paper and a bag of blue crystal ink pens. Why, you ask, did I go old school? Because I had to retrain myself. The first time I started writing, I used my laptop. It took me three months to finish the story. My problem was that I would do what was supposed to be a quick review of the last five to ten pages written so I could get the flow and feel of the character before starting with new pages. But instead of just reading, I would go back and start editing. Three hours later I would just be starting with the new stuff. See what I mean? If I’m able to easily delete and retype it as I read, then I’ll edit and never get anywhere. Can’t do that with ink. I would still do a quick review before writing, but instead of editing, if there was something that needed to be added or deleted, I’d make a quick note and move on. As the pages get typed up, I can make those adjustments based on the notes made. No more, no less. Why? Because that’s the stuff that can be done during the second round of edits, after my critique partners get a chance to read and give me feedback.
So, now its time to start a new schedule. One that will take me through the editing process as quickly and cleanly as I did while writing. For this meticulous part, I give myself sixty days. Fingers crossed, here, but I think I’ll be able to make it. This time the challenges will be different. There will be no more quiet days while the kids are in school. Summer break is here. Family activities and finding things to do for the kids to keep them busy are on my list of things to do. There will be a compromise. Leave mom alone from this period of time and then we can have fun. And when I take them to the library for kids activities, my laptop and huge MS binder will follow. They’ll go do their thing, I’ll plug up and do mine.
This is going to be one interesting summer. I’ll keep you advised as to my progress!
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See you soon!