Monday, March 2, 2009
When I Go Hardcore
The gloves are off, people. Now that I have all the feedback from my betas (and a certain wonderful agent), Relax, I'm A Ninja is getting the spit shine of its life. I did actually train and work as an editor in college. Sometimes I forget my editing abilities when I get in creative mode, but the shrewd editor is out now. I thought you might like a peek into her process.
1. Chapter Outline
First, I organize the MS into chapter groups and file them in sections. Then I skim through the MS and write out what happens in each chapter. Not anything in depth, just enough for me to see the story arc and any repetitive elements. Then I write notes about what can be shortened, chapters that may need combing/splitting/refocusing, thing to cut, sections to move, etc. Anything that an overall look will accomplish before getting to the nitty gritty. Because if I am going to chop a whole chapter, I don't want to waste time editing it first.
2. Hardcore Editing
I'm about 200% better at editing on paper. I don't know, I'm just one of those people. Everything is clearer when I have a red pen in my hand. I prune, cut, move, change, add, organize, and punctuate properly until the papers bleed. During this time, I only let myself do a couple chapters a day because it takes up so much time. I'll admit right now I haven't done this for every single one of my books. I've done it for those I've submitted to agents (Sevene, zombies, dragons, ninjas).
3. Entering Changes
After I edit my two or three chapters, I enter the changes into the computer that day (or the next). I don't like to leave them all for when I finish because it feels too overwhelming. If I can focus on one section at a time, I can handle the enormity of process. When I enter a change, I highlight it in the paper MS to confirm it's been put in. That way I don't lose track or have to reread to make sure I got them all.
After I'm done, I usually send it to one or two more readers to make sure the changes are cohesive and I didn't leave out anything important. After I revise from those comments, I'll do one more read to catch any other small ticks and typos.