Thursday, December 01, 2005

A lesson learned...

As I've mentioned before, I'm a compulsive editor. I read and re-read and edit my chapters, usually when I'm stuck on the current one.

Right before Thanksgiving, I started to get the feeling that my chapter breaks were off. I didn't -- couldn't -- write during the week (too much to be done), and this week my goal was to print out the whole shebang and read the hard copy in an effort to figure out the more... organic spots for chapter breaks.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to do that, because upon reading the hard copy, I'm realizing how many things there are that don't work, how much needless exposition I have, and how much I dislike my phrasing in many places.

I didn't see any of this in the soft copy. None of it. I read it, edited it, had other people read and make suggestions on it, and... it's just amazing how many things I didn't catch when editing the electronic copy.

So, looks like another slew of revisions for me, AND renegotiating chapter breaks. That's okay, because I was having a lot of trouble writing the current chapter, I'm still pretty shocked at how much I disliked what I read in the hard copy.

New rule: Whenever I think I'm "done" with a chapter, I'm printing it out and doing a hard copy edit before moving on. Yeesh, I feel dumb.


Blogger jason evans said...

It's all just evidence that you're on the right track. Someone who just loves their work (especially after about one revision) is not trying hard enough.

December 01, 2005 10:00 AM  
Blogger Bunneh said...

LOL! Well, I do love my work, but it's in the same way I might love a child -- or my cats. (Funny side note: my black cat, Bronte, is fighting me to let her sit on my edited pages. No matter where I move them, she sits, then stretches out on them.)

So, I guess it's like trying to teach your kid manners, or your cats not to claw the furniture, or your dog not to beg at the table. You're allowed to love your creation, but you've also got to be firm enough to tame it.

December 01, 2005 10:06 AM  
Blogger Bernita said...

I manage to think of all sorts of excuses not to change my chapter breaks
Want them to be logical and natural and not "contrived" suspense hooks.
It's hard.

December 01, 2005 10:09 AM  
Blogger Bunneh said...

Yeah, I know what you mean. My biggest problem is that a lot of them seem to have no rhyme or reason to them at all. Usually I like to break when either the location changes, or the character POV changes, OR if there's a gap of time passing. A few of them just seem really... disjointed.

Like you, I also hate the "contrived suspense hook."

December 01, 2005 10:13 AM  
Blogger Robin Caroll said...

I love the editing process....but I DO have to look at a printed copy to catch everything I thought I'd caught on the pc. A scene index helps me tremendously with scene/chapter breaks.

December 01, 2005 12:34 PM  
Blogger Bunneh said...

I don't know -- sometimes I love the editing process, and sometimes I find it frustrating. I think it's frustrating when I know something's wrong and I'm not sure how to make it right.

On the other hand, the revision/editing process is great because it tends to jar things loose that help the story progress.

A scene index is a great idea. I could probably build one from my outline. I think part of my problem is that I hate making chapters overly short or overly long, so when a chapter starts looking too long to my eye, I break it, even though I know I probably shouldn't.

December 01, 2005 1:22 PM  
Blogger Robin Caroll said...

I have a scene index built...the template is on my website... under FOR for download into excel. Try it out. Play with it and re-arrange it to suit your purpose. I love mine, because each scene is spelled out to word count, etc. and I dont' get confused! LOL That's an issue for me...not getting confused! LOL

December 02, 2005 10:16 PM  
Blogger Mark Pettus said...

I'm finished. No more editing. Anyone who wants me to change Transit Gloria has to attach a check to their request (or something else of value).

Hard copies are mandatory for my editing process. I revise on the hard copy, then find I'm doing more revision as I re-key the changes, so I get two revisions for the price of one.

January 11, 2006 11:35 PM  
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