The Editing Diaries– I Said Three-Quarters, Not Five-Eighths. STAY FOCUSED!

Welcome to my series, The Editing Diaries!

In a nutshell, I’m editing my story LASER and bringing you guys along for the ride. I want you to see how my process for editing novels works (and maybe I’ll figure out my process with you). So, buckle your seatbelts, we’re going on a trip!


This past week started off great. Friday night, I made a goal with my writing group to finish revising a certain scene and also to start weaving in a new plot thread.

Plot thread-weaving.
Lots of Post-Its!
Lots of Post-Its!

But on Sunday, something happened. I realized that what I had planned to do with the scene wasn’t working to fix the problem I was hoping to fix character trouble, again. Which meant I had to pull out of this scene that I may be writing for absolutely no reason and figure out how to fix this problem. Again.

This would be the part of the trip in which we get lost and the GPS is defective. Basically, I have to pull over on the side of the road and reevaluate. Let’s see… there used to be a map in the glove compartment…

Reevaluation involved a couple of wrong turns.

First wrong turn involved me trying to force said character and MC to get into an argument. Said character kept being sweet and Isabella… she wasn’t sweet, but she didn’t want to be a jerk, either. But why was this a wrong turn?

Because I made the assumption that the argument would add conflict and give the character some dimension. Would it work in the right circumstance, absolutely. But this character had no real reason to argue because I didn’t know what pushed him into arguing.

Still being lost on that road, I took another wrong turn and emailed a friend, asking about anger and frustration and arguments. Again not a bad idea, but I was lost. I could really use a road map… and maybe a sense of direction.

I was threatening this character by then. I wanted to make him evil or dead.


Finally, this character gave me a hint. I realized that this character has no backstory. Everyone else does. He does not.

Hmm… that might have something to do with why he’s about as interesting as a piece of cardboard.

Monday came. Monday brought an idea for a character arc. And with it, a backstory. And depth.

Christmas sherlock

So what happened next?

I figured out where things needed to be fixed. Hopefully, this is the last time I have to figure out this character.


Oh. And I realized that I really hate the hop-around-the-manuscript-fixing-things method.

Why? IT IS DAUNTING! BIG MANUSCRIPT IN FRONT OF YOU! And mine is actually a little manuscript… And you can’t see progress!

This problem was easier to figure out than that character. Why? Because I have edited before.

Last time I edited, I went through the story one chapter at a time. I fixed it chapter by chapter, copying what could be kept into a new MS Word Doc and filling in the rest.

I already have a list of everything that needs to be fixed. I don’t have it sorted by chapter or anything, but…

It’s not that hard to make a list.

photo (4)

Before I start a chapter, I make a list of what needs to be fixed. If I need to keep adding to fix a plot thread, I make a note of that. I read through my One Note list and put anything I mentioned there into the list. I read through my alphas’ notes, too. Then, I fix the chapter.

A Little Bit Awesome, A Little Bit Awkward: Entry Level Jobs

I’m still not correcting for emotions and descriptions yet, but this gets the majority of the edits done fast. And you can actually see progress here, which just makes me feel better about editing in general.

This week, there has also been music with my edits. Not a problem except for maybe some procrastination.

I love this music sooooo much!
I love this music sooooo much! Especially that first song.
These guys sing about Doctor Who.
These guys sing about Doctor Who.

And that’s it for this week! How are your writing projects going? And does anyone have any suggestions for writing/editing/editing-road-trip music?

Writing Inspiration | Writers Write

Update: The title of this installment comes from How the Grinch Stole Christmas and can be found within this song:


16 thoughts on “The Editing Diaries– I Said Three-Quarters, Not Five-Eighths. STAY FOCUSED!

  1. You poor dear. I hate having to refigure things (*coughplotscough*) out several times over. Glad it’s going better, though!

    Music: Uh…Celtic music. I’m serious. Especially if it’s fast. Fast usually helps me if I need a kick in the seat of the pants. Sometimes, though, if it’s a really emotional scene, I need…well, slow and emotional music. Sad piano music usually works for that. Or not even sad, just…thoughtful, I guess?

    Also, I must admit I do not understand the title of your post. Care to explain? Please?

    • Thanks.
      Celtic music is good. Emotional music, too, but I don’t like taking a lot of time to try to find said emotional music. I’m strange in that I have to be almost tricked into listening to new music.
      The title is from How The Grinch Stole Christmas, the live-action version. The Grinch is building his sleigh and his dog hands him the wrong size wrench. He then says “I said three-quarters, not five-eighths. STAY FOCUSED!”

  2. Ah, you had to ruin a good post by linking the Grinch.
    *shrugs* Glad to hear you are at least working on yours. I pull up my docs, take one look, start feeling untalented and overwhelmed, and promptly head to e-mail/pinterest.

  3. Oooh. Well, our editing methods seem to be going fairly different from here. Heh heh, what I’ve done so far was I wrote up synopses for each chapter in Scrivener, and then I’ll look at what’s previously written for the chapter, and sort sort of half-rewriting and half-editing it, which basically means rewriting but keeping whatever I liked before. Because it’s a rewrite, I am sort of more aware of the micro edits than I want to be, and I am trying to improve descriptions, but mostly, I’m trying to…well, I think I’m going to have to do two drafts of macro edits, because rewriting isn’t perfect and I know I’m not getting everything perfect. Especially since, some of these rewrites are following what was there before, and so I know where I’m going and so it’s coming out better this time—but there are a few places where the draft is changing from what the original plot is, so there are a few scenes and chapters where… well, they’re not so much rewrites because there was nothing there to begin with. Does that make sense? Plus, I have this one character who was literally so flat that a piece of cardboard looked incredibly 3D, and so I’m having this problem that, I’m writing her and it’s draft two, but I’m still struggling to find her voice, and so I know that she’ll need a lot of tweaking come draft three.

    That said, I think I am making considerable progress with this. I mean, aside from when I procrastinate… which is a lot…

    Hehe, I rambled. Sorry.

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