Wednesday, December 5, 2012

IWSG - How do I fix it?

It's time for another installation of The Insecure Writer's Support Group, which posts on the first Wednesday of every month.  Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Today I want to talk about rewriting a novel.  I honestly suck at it.  I really hate rewriting/editing a novel.  Revision and I don't exactly get along.  A first draft is supposed to be rough and I like writing them, but I have trouble cutting those excess scenes and finding those plot holes to fill in.  I just don't "get" it.

Since NaNo is finished, I am stuck with the task of revising a novel, though I have three others which needed edited too.  I just can't find a way which works.

I do have a critique partner and she's amazing, but I'm just still not good at revising.

Anyone have some advice on how to edit in a way that doesn't make you want to pull out all of your hair and eat 5 lbs of chocolate every time you look at it?  Help, please!

9 comments:

  1. I've had the same issue, and I think it's my main stumbling block. My latest efforts involve going through scene by scene and taking extensive notes. I ask myself what my goal for the scene is, how the scene contributes to the overall plot. If the scene does contribute to the overall plot I look at it further and ask myself if I think it accomplishes what I want it to accomplish. If not, I think about how I can make it work better. So far this method seems to be going better for me than the others I've tried.

    Good luck!

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  2. After I finish a draft, I set it aside for a while. Like at least two weeks, but four is better. Then I go back and read it, a red pen in one hand and a highlighter in the other. I personally find that distancing myself from the WIP for that amount of time makes things that need to go and/or be changed super obvious.

    Best of luck with your revisions!

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  3. I wish I had some good advice, but I don't. I was going to suggest the same as M.J. though. And while you take time away from it, don't do anything else - otherwise the new work distracts you and you can lose your excitement for the other MS. Remember... absence makes the heart grow fonder! Once you're excited about it again - editing is easy! Just read it like a CP and edit as you go! I know you can do it!

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  4. I agree. Set the thing down for 4 weeks (I usually only make 2 :) ) and then tackle it. Read a few other books inbetween time. I personally do start another project to help with impatience. The best thing I've found, is to print the whole WIP out when you go back at it. It reads so much different on paper than on a screen. Good luck!

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  5. um, I'm in the same boat. How about we just eat chocolate together :)

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  6. I'm trying to think of something to help, since editing comes easy for me. Usually I don't do more than line edit unless my CPs point out something serious, and usually it's because there needs to be more in here and there. For me, I ask myself, are the characters being true to themselves? If not, I focus on that, and it tends to solve a whole mess of problems without realizing they were an issue. Best of luck and take it one page at a time. You'll "get" it. :)

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  7. I am not very good at it either so I swear by a good editor. It is so much easier to just make the suggested changes.
    I also set aside Wednesday for editing and revising. It helps keep the pile under control..

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  8. I'm not sure I can give advice, as I find editing ok...its not easy, but I don't usually struggle and get upset with it. However, it IS hard, and you are certainly not the only person out there who gets wound up with editing.
    An editor will likely help. If nothing else, think of it as a fresh set of eyes. Forcing yourself to comb through the same page fifty times in one sitting won't do you or your story any favours. Don't be afraid to take a break from it either.

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  9. Sometimes it really is hard to be objective about your own work. I have an editor's brain, and I still have trouble with my own work--it's so familiar and it's all in my brain.

    Trust your CP and find someone you trust to be an informal editor before hiring a professional. I had two former English professors and a journalist friend read my novel to offer editing help. All of that before going to a professional editor.

    Good luck!

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