The Editing Diaries–Houston, We Have a Problem and Cake

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 is me trying to figure out a way out of the small rut I have gotten myself stuck in.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Writing and editing is hard work. As Mark Twain said, “Truth is stranger than fiction because fiction has to make sense.”

And even a decent first draft still needs help.

So, that’s where I am. I’m technically on Draft 3 and still working out big bugs. And I’m quite frankly getting a bit overwhelmed. There is still a lot to fix and when you suddenly have an idea to replace a major plot point with something else…

I woke up this morning decidedly not wanting to edit and then feeling bad for wanting to take a break. I just got back to this story not even a whole month ago. It feels too soon to justify a break. It feels irresponsible to want a break.

Till this moment, I never knew myself.
Okay, maybe Lydia Bennet isn’t the best gif illustration for responsibility…

So, I resolved to edit/rewrite just three sentences. Like as a jumpstart. And if I wanted to keep going I could and if I didn’t at least I made a small amount of progress and could now relax and take a break and not feel bad for taking the rest of the day off.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

I never edited three sentences, yesterday.

Yesterday afternoon, my dear critique partner Lily J., informed me that she was going to start reading the novel I wrote during NaNo. The one that I am convinced sucks worse than a vampire vacuum salesman.

Only, it doesn’t suck as much as I thought, my CP assures me.

Does it have issues? Yes. But are they unfixable? No.

This makes me unbelievably happy.


If you are a writer, you know that we all go through times of when we are on top of the world and our stories are going great and everything is just great and we are pretty dang good writers.

And then there are the times where we are the worst writers ever and why do we even bother and we should really just get a different job entirely.

It’s amazing how some encouraging feedback can pull you out of the latter and assure you that you can, in fact, write something good.

What I counted as editing yesterday was rereading/skimming through my NaNoNovel. It was enjoying myself and also assuring myself that there were some enjoyable parts of that story.

So, I feel better about my editing, now.

And today, I also had a bit of a revelation.

So, I am on Tumblr and though it is not my favorite among social media outlets, it does have Maggie Stiefvater, who is not only my favorite author but also gives writing advice from time to time.

This morning, she posted this post. (small language warning) And this is from the post (edited slightly to remove the language)

It really depends on how close your draft is to what you intended for your finished novel to look like. Imagine a rough draft is a giant shapeless sheet cake. If you know you want a butterfly cake, it’s just a matter of cutting that square of baked sugary goodness into a butterfly. If you don’t know what you actually want, you might just sort of mangle the beleaguered pastry through four different shapes until eventually realizing that you wanted a butterfly all along and now must glue all those mangled cake bits into a butterfly shape using a ton of frosting.

Lydia Bennet. Sometimes annoying, but still awesome!

It hit me when I read this that I don’t know what I intend for my finished novel-cake to look like. And I want the frosting on top, not inside working as glue.

I mean, I know what story I want, but I don’t have a clear idea of if I want a butterfly cake or a moth. And if I decide butterfly, I don’t know if I want a Monarch butterfly or a Tiger Swallowtail.

Yes, I know the basic plot of the story and the genre. But I don’t know what I want the finished product to look like. How am I going to know when I’m done if I don’t know what “done” means?

So, that is the next step in my editing, before I proceed any further. I am going to figure out what I want the finished story to look like. And I’m going to do it before I cut up and mangle the story so bad that I have to use a ton of frosting.

Though to be honest, I love frosting. Just not in metaphors about my novel and editing.

How is your writing/editing going, reader-peeps?

Which Pixar Character Are You?  You got: Dory Sure, you’re a little forgetful at times. But you’re a true friend that will do anything for their friends. Plus, your energy is unmatched by the brightest of anglerfish.




14 thoughts on “The Editing Diaries–Houston, We Have a Problem and Cake

  1. Novel-cake. Hehe.

    Actually, I think I’m in a similar place with my novel, and it absolutely terrifies me, because twice in the past, I’ve mangled the cake so badly that the frosting-glue was failing to actually hold it together. (I like this metaphor way too much.) This time, I decided I’ll do two things differently than I did before: first, I will get feedback from other people before I change major things. I didn’t do that before. Secondly, I’m going to actually world build the story sufficiently. Good world-building doesn’t really sound like it should affect major plot changes, but I’m pretty sure it will. Besides, I need to finish this world-building anyway.

    Good luck! Maybe some non-novel-y-cake would help. *offers ordinary cake*

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