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 week started a little bumpy. Having finally figured out a process I like and how to fix the character I was having trouble with, I dived right into the edits.
Friday night, I was making a list of what I needed to remember to fix in Chapter 2. And I hit a bump.
You see, I realized that I had a minor problem with a different character. And it seemed fairly easy to fix until I began to realize the implications of what all it would do to the story. I put the editing away and slept on it.
Saturday morning, I knew what to do. At least instinctively. I don’t know that I could explain to someone, at least not someone who hasn’t read LASER. I’m not really sure how to coherently explain it to myself.
Figuring out how to fix this character was significantly easier than trying to figure out how to fix Nick. And I have a growing fondness for this character. I have a question, though. Is this character trying to keep himself in my favor? Did he make it easy for me, just to spite Nick (his rival)? Either way, he is weaseling his way into my heart as an Author’s Pet. Which could be very dangerous for him. (I may have to write a short story from his POV at some point. And Alternate Universe where he gets a happy ending… Yeah, I’m going soft.)
The rest of this week has been… interesting. As I write this post, I’m up to Chapter 12 and I’ll probably have more done by the time this posts tomorrow.
Basically, Chapters 3-11 have not really needed anything done to them.
True, I have a few small aspects that I am not worrying about in this pass, as well as the itty-bitty micro-edits. But still. I’ve only had to fix precious few things per chapter. Which was nice at first, but now I’m getting worried that I’m overlooking something. It just seems too easy.
Ever feel like that? Like writing or editing is too easy? Like this should be a whole lot more work but it’s not and just COPY, PASTE, FIX THAT LINE, DONE WITH THE CHAPTER?
Well, I figure I have two options here. I can freak out about it and look for the big thing I’m missing (even though there may be nothing) or I can not worry about it and fix anything that I find in this pass or the next.
I’m going with the second option. If I find out later that I’ve been missing something, I’ll probably just slam my head on the wall a few times, possibly panic a bit, eat some chocolate, and then start fixing it. And it’s not really a big deal.
That said, if I come to you in tears and babbling about how terrible my book is, do remind me that I said it’s not a big deal and encourage me to take the rest of the day off.
And besides, I possibly have to rewrite the climax, so I really should be happy/thankful for the easy stuff now, you know?
Precious little music this week in editing (I think I’m going to start telling you guys what I’ve been listening to), but if you get the chance, check out Chains by Nick Jonas. It’s an interesting song and causes plot bunnies for me.
Oh! And you need to listen to this parody of Uptown Funk called Unread Book. Now. Just stop reading this post and listen to it. I’ll wait for you.
Back? Good. That was a good song, wasn’t it? I hope it goes to iTunes and Spotify.
So this happened:
Actually, I’m not certain about the holy water thing anymore. But it’s not a big detail, so I’m not worried.
Point is, this is kind of proof of what happens when you are heavily influenced by other media as you are writing or editing. Not the crazy tweets; what happened prior to that tweet.
So, I have a character whose backstory I wanted to enhance. His name is Gavin. Though he works with fairy stuff everyday, his family is very superstitious. So, I needed to bring this aspect out a bit more and was writing up this paragraph:
Gavin’s family overcompensated for the rest of the town not believing in fairies, going to the other extreme. Fairies, all fairies, were inherently evil. The MacBays put salt and iron all around their door and window frames. The décor for the entire house—and a good deal of the yard—was crosses. A gun with silver bullets and a wooden stake sat atop the mantle, ready to be used in a moment’s notice. Gavin, of course, knew that none of these precautions were strictly foolproof or necessary but it was rather difficult to explain that to parents and an older sister who all left the house carrying holy water and insisted he do the same.
Notice a few things about said paragraph? Some of their precautions are used to deal with vampires (wooden stakes, crosses, holy water). Now, of course, this may be later edited and since fairies are considered to be demonic (as are vampires) in some folklore, this is fine. But where did these specific aspects come from in a moment’s notice as I wrote them?
Guess who has been watching a fair amount of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, lately.
That being said, be careful of your influences. Excessive media will go into your mind and come out through your writing. Sometimes, it doesn’t even have to be excessive.
Now, that also being said, I should add that writers are master thieves. There is nothing new under the sun. We steal from real life, other media, even (GASP!) other stories. Is this wrong? Unless it’s exactly the same and you are aware of it and you use it in the exact same way… no. Good writing is a mix of stolen goods and originality.
Don’t believe me? Okay then, what’s fanfiction? And why is it okay for me to use the formula for a romance from Pride and Prejudice (which bears striking resemblance to Beauty and the Beast)? Why is it okay for me to write a kick-butt heroine when there are so many of them in YA today?
Because I put my own twists into them. Nothing is exactly the same. And I am not stealing everything down to the name and descriptions of the MC’s dog.
Hmm… nice tangent, Robyn. But it’s time to wrap it up.
So, how are your writing projects coming? Ever had something that seemed too easy? And do you have more thoughts about why it’s okay to “steal” in writing?