Monday, December 28, 2009

Drastic Problems in Editing-ville

As some of you know, I'm currently editing Broken, my first novel for the 2 billionth time! and everything was going swell. Well, as swell as editing goes anyway...
Then, I read something that screamed, "FIX ME!"
"No prob," says I, confident as all get out. "I will perfect you, Manuscript!"
"Bah!" it shouts back, daring me to try.
"I will master you!" I shout back, as I read the drivel that somehow came from my fingers months ago. "This is nothing, a simple rewrite will do!"
Manuscript snickers, like an evil chipmunk, guarding it's hoard of unnecessary adverbs and run-on sentences.
I think for a bit, girl, okay, girl needs to discover boy's secret. How to discover secret when she know nothing? ...Maybe she doesn't, maybe he tells her part of it. No, no, wrong, it doesn't work with her like that. Does something weird happen and then she goes to him for help? Hmm, like what? Like maybe something magical happens to her...yes, that could be it. But, then why the heck would she tell him? Wouldn't she keep it in? Wouldn't she keep that magical tendency to herself? Maybe it was a trick of the light...
Manuscript snickers some more and it taps it's fingers together greedily, waiting for me to fail (that is if it had hands or fingers, as is, it's just paper.)
Uh, oh...Maybe I have to take it all out and rewrite the entire bit...would that work? Yes, yes it might. But then how would that boy and another girl go out on the lovely first date thing they had going on. That must stay, it is essential. Oh, boy, this is a predicament.
"Having problems Oh Great Writer?" Manuscript inquires.
"Me," I scoff. "In your dreams." I continue to stare at the manuscript before me, unsure of what to do, how to rewrite, and what to rewrite.

Anyone out there having rewrite problems? Any suggestions for me?

Also, Frankie Writes, Book Dreaming, and I'm Always Write are all having fabulous giveaways! Go check them out and tell them I sent you! And to all you new followers, and the old ones as well, Hello!


Valerie Geary said...

I just had a similar experience with my ending... I just couldn't finish the darn thing. I went downstairs with my laptop/manuscript, 3 large cardboard box flaps and a stack of note cards and started to plot on my dining room table: Act 1, Act 2, Act 3. Something about "feeling" my story and moving it around jarred loose the creative bugs that were napping in my brain. I came up with something and then after a quick phone call to a writing friend who'd already read draft 1, I figured out the ending (which is genius, I might add). Along the way I also discovered the middle was messy and needed more work.

All this to say: Try doing something tactile. Brainstorm in a notebook, pen and paper style or slap note cards up on the wall. Sometimes this movement, this different way of seeing helps wake up the creative side of your brain. :) (Or send me a copy of what you have to pick at... ;))

Good luck!!

sherrinda said...

I am editing my first novel too and it sucks. I really don't like editing. My dad is an editor by profession and he edited 6 chapters for me. This was GREAT, but it has since scared me silly, because he found soooo many problems. I am questioning my ability to write. I am questioning if I was really meant to do this. So....I am trying to trudge through, fear with me the whole way, and just do my best. I joined a crit group and am hoping they can help me too (before I give the rest back to my dad!) Yikes!

Suzette Saxton said...

While I do sympathize, this post had me laughing. I love the ms talking back to you!

Sometimes I find, especially with a first novel, that it's best to set it aside for awhile. Take some time to writer another novel, critique a friend's novel, and then pick it back up again. You'll be amazed by how much you grew as a writer in the interim.

Best of luck!

Bethany Mattingly said...

Valerie, great suggestion with the tactile view of the book. I think I'm going to try that. I might end up sending it to you, if it doesn't work. :) I can't wait to read your fabulous ending!

Sherrinda, OMG I am sometimes paralyzed by the fear that this thing I love so much is absolute rubbish. It's so nice to know there's someone else out there agonizing over the editing process as well. That's awesome that your dad's an editor. :)

Suzette, Thanks for visiting my blog and becoming a follower. :D I'm glad this made you laugh. Thanks for the advise, hopefully a bit of a break from it can do me some good. Thanks!

Amalia T. said...

I second the suggestions of looking at the material in a new way, as well as setting it aside to rest for a while. I set aside one of my novels from December until March, and then came back at it and started rewriting from scratch beginning to end, without looking at the original document or rereading. Sometimes it gives you just enough distance to see the path you missed, when you were seeing what you'd already tried. I also suggest trying to see the troublesome part of the story from an alternate characters POV--how did it look to them from the outside? Maybe they know what's supposed to happen. :) Then again... maybe not?

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I'm with Valerie on this one. Find some creative, tactile way to look at it, manipulate it, "see" it. Maybe Valerie should be your critique partner - sounds like she'd make a good one! (Oh, I am so funny!) ;-)

P.S. Thanks for the contest shout-out. :)

V. S said...

Oh, I feel your pain. I am editing my current WIP and sometimes it is cake, so very easy. Other times, I feel like ripping my hair out.

My advice... write a letter as your MC (he/she writing to you). You would be amazed with what your characters have to tell you.

Nisa said...

Oh man! Good luck! I'm in rewriting stage too and sometimes it helps to just talk it out with a crit partner or friend. Also, sometimes stepping away from it for a week can help too.

Diana Paz said...

So funny! I tend to like rewrites, but that's because I'm a glutton for pain. I wish I had some advice, other than keep at it :)

kanishk said...

then pick it back up again. You'll be amazed by how much you grew as a writer in the interim.

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Kelly Lyman said...

I am right there with ya! I love the second half of my WIP but I have a love/hate relationship with my first half....17 chapters to be exact. As of right now, rewriting the 17 chapters seems so daunting to me. I feel like Sherrinda does. I look at my WIP after reading other people's posts of different material they have placed and I think to myself, "what are you even trying to do here. This is horrible. I am a truly horrible writer!" But, I also think to myself, I wrote 27 chapters. It took me a year for the story, so it may take a year to rewrite/edit. It isn't a race. Keep going.

Bethany Mattingly said...

Thanks for all the support and advise everyone!

Kristin Rae said...

It is certainly hard to rewrite. I'm in two critique groups and I can't tell you how much they help. If you don't belong to a group, find one, or a creative friend, show them a few pages, and see what they come up with. In my novel, some of my favorite twists have been inspired by friends. Take their idea, and make it your own. Even just a word from them can give you an idea...gets the creative juices flowing in new directions.

Stephanie Thornton said...

Oh heavens, have I ever had issues editing. I needed to be in the right mindset- that it's not going to take two, or three, or four edits to get this ready to go. It's more like seventeen.

The best thing for me is to take a break from the story. I took 6 weeks off from HATSHEPSUT and while it was hard, it was great because it gave me a new outlook on the story. I did some awesome revising. I'm currently on another break so we'll see how Revision #5 goes.

Happy New Year!