Editing: Like Self-Imposed Amputation

Apology time! It feels like FOREVER since I last penned a blog post (even though it really wasn’t THAT long ago)… but I have a good excuse, I promise!! You see, I’ve been systematically cutting off my limbs. At least metaphorically. And by that I mean, I’ve been doing a MASSIVE overhaul of a manuscript that I wrote a while ago and have recently revisited only to discover that the story was there, but the execution most definitely WAS NOT. And so, for the last fortnight, I’ve been head-down, tail-up in crazy editing mode.

If you don’t believe me, check it out:

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Or, if that doesn’t freak you out as much as it does me, then here’s a larger overview:

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I have to say, while it was a LOT of hard work, the result is super satisfying. It’s been fleshed out and developed where needed, but it’s also been tightened where needed, too. The characters have more depth, the story itself has more impact… and, most of all, the writing is just better than it was. I’ve written four books since this one was drafted, and during that time I’ve worked with professional editors and proofreaders and learned SO MUCH… So being able to transfer that all across and make this manuscript all nice and shiny was, while challenging, an absolute joy. And I really am delighted with the result!

SO! With that now done, onto the next project!

Editing Complete – YAY!

It’s 12:52 AM and I’ve just finished ‘officially’ editing my debut YA novel, Akarnae. I mean, sure, I’ve edited it (and re-edited it) heaps before, but I worked with an actual editor this time, one who gave (seriously cool) professional feedback. I’ve never had an editor before, but can I just say here, they’re awesome. Or, mine is, at least. She’s like a word-ninja.

I’m just amazed by how the simplest of suggestions really helped add depth to my manuscript. Even things like, ‘… It’s more dramatic if you delete this word…’ and ‘… Add a sentence here about [whatever]’. I feel like my story has just become so much more than what it was before. It’s like a caterpillar that has transformed into a butterfly. And now it’s ready to fly.

I’m also so, so, so happy with the new beginning. I was never a fan of my original beginning (which actually wasn’t even the original-original beginning), and that sucked because beginnings are important—especially in books! But now I absolutely love it. And there are other parts that are so much richer now as well. I’m just so pleased with how it’s turned out!

But you know what? I’m also really nervous. Because while I know that it still has to go through proof-readers and the like before it’s released to the public, now that the actual story editing is complete, it’s pretty much done—and that means people will soon be reading it.

I know, I know. That’s totally my dream come true. But understand this, once it’s published, it’s out there. Bam. Done. No take-backs. That’s pretty scary stuff! Especially when I consider the hordes of authors who can’t stand to read their old books because they only see their mistakes. I never want that to happen to me. I love my characters and absolutely hate the idea of ever resenting how I’ve written them into being. That would be awful! Not to mention, Akarnae is part of a five-book series, so I’ve still got a long way to go with them!

I know I have so much writing growth ahead of me, but I never want to despise my beginnings. I can only hope that my characters and stories will grow with me, and that I’ll always appreciate the journey that has led to me becoming a better writer and, hopefully, a better human being.

Does that make sense? I guess I can also think of it this way: I could edit, edit, edit everyday for the rest of my life, and I’m sure I’d still focus on things to nit-pick over. I found that even when I was re-reading the Harry Potter series recently—there were a number of writing ‘wrongs’ that I noticed. I can’t help but wonder if J.K. Rowling ever opens her books and cringes at the words she’s penned. Words the rest of us love, but words that perhaps she might have altered with a touch more editing. That’s a crazy thought, huh?

At the end of the day, we writers will always second-guess ourselves. I think it’s just a part of the package. But I guess I’ve just come to the conclusion that sometimes we have to risk the ‘what ifs’ and hope that our ‘good enough’ is, in fact, good enough. Perfection has no part in writing—there will always be something that could have been done differently. A character’s name, a room’s description, a town’s location—we create all that, so it’s up to us to believe that our version of the story is the write one. (See what I did there? Am I right?… Yikes, I think I need sleep…)

Before I get any weirder, it’s time for bed. My plan is to rest my manuscript for a couple of days and then read it from cover-to-cover in one sitting so I can check to make sure it flows well, etc. (Because, hey, when I’m reading a good book, I often won’t put it down until I’m done, and I tend to notice ‘issues’ more if I read it in one go—so I figure it makes sense to read my own manuscript like that too!)

Okay, seriously… It’s a good thing I touch-type because my eyes are so blurry that I can barely focus on my laptop screen. Sleep is calling me! ‘Night, everyone!

 

Exciting Editor Update

Guess what? Guess what? Guess what!

So, I can’t remember if I’ve updated the latest on my publishing journey – but basically my book is currently in the hands of my editor (I love saying that!) and she’s going to give her preliminary comments to my publishers, Pantera Press, around the first week of June. Woohooie! I have no idea what comes after that – but I can’t wait to find out!

Anyway, the even-more-super-awesome news is that I was reading a newly released book the other day by one of my favourite Young Adult authors, and I really enjoyed it (enough that I pretty much read it in one sitting). But the exciting part? I read through the ‘Acknowledgements’ after I’d finished and…

… *drum roll please* …

HER EDITOR IS MY EDITOR!!!!!!!

How amazingly exciting is that! I mean, this author is signed with HarperCollins Australia and her books are sold all over the world! My publishers told me a while ago that my editor had worked with the big houses like HarperCollins, Hachette, Simon & Schuster and Pan Macmillan, but still! Actually seeing evidence of a book that she’s edited (and me loving that book!) have really nailed it home for me. I’m so, so, so excited! And I’m a little bit in La-La-Happy-Land, to be perfectly honest!

It’s so surreal, but soooo YAY-worthy! And I just wanted to share with you all since you’ve been so encouraging on this journey with me! Hopefully I’ll have another update soon!

Editing Done!

It’s just after 2 o’clock in the morning and I’ve (finally) just finished editing the second book in my YA fantasy series. YAY! A normal person would have gone to bed at a much more reasonable hour, but when I’m writing or editing, I tend to lose all sense of time.

…*shrugs* … It’s a gift. (Not).

I was also kind of lost in the story, which I find really bizarre since I was the one who wrote it. It’s so weird when I’m on the edge of my seat and waiting to see what’s going to happen next – since, technically, I already know. But I’m so attached to my characters! It’s like, I just have to know that they’ll be okay, you know?

Right. I think we can all agree that I’m a little weird. I like to call it my ‘creative genius’. My mother just says I’m ‘special’ – but I’m not one hundred percent confident that she means it as a compliment. (Love you, Mum!).

Since it’s officially way past my bedtime and in the morning I’ll probably seriously regret posting this at all, I’m going to sign off now before I write anything too crazy. Because, really, the last thing I need is to say something like, ‘Omigosh, there’s a purple monkey eating my goldfish!’

No, wait. That’s not real. But it’s a prime example for a) my creative genius, b) my special-ness, and c) the fact that I need to go to sleep.

Long-story-short, I just wanted to post an update on my writing progress: the editing (a.k.a. ‘hacking to pieces’) is done, which means now I get to let the manuscript rest for a few days before I do a read-through and then send it off to my publishers to see what they think. Yikes, that’s a scary thought. (Almost as scary as purple monkeys eating goldfish).

Anyway……..

Goodnight, blogging world!

Ps. Feel free to come up with names for the purple monkey! I think he’s worthy of a title!

Strangely Addicted To Editing

So, I’ve just sent my first round of revisions off to my new publishers (I love saying those last three words!). It was really fascinating to go through my manuscript and make the changes they requested because as I made the revisions, other thoughts came to mind. Things like, if my MC is in another world, why has she never questioned how they can all speak the same language? Just stuff like that. It was really cool to sort of look at it all and see gaps that needed to be filled. And as weird as it sounds, I seriously love editing. Before this incredible book deal happened, I was actually looking into doing a post-grad degree in editing and publishing. It’s still something I’d like to keep in mind for the future because, like I said, I really enjoy editing. (Don’t look at me like that – it’s true!)

Anyway, the first ‘official’ edit of my MS is done now, so hopefully my publishers will be happy. As far as I know, the next step will be me working with the editor they’ve organised for me to start with in mid-April. How exciting! Until then, I’ll be focusing my efforts on the second book in the series. It’s already completed but it needs another edit before I’ll be anywhere near confident enough to send it through for approval. That said, I’m soooo excited about editing book two, since I absolutely love all the new plot twists and turns that develop – not to mention the new characters that we get to meet!

Okay, well, if you need me, you can find me in my happy place where I’ll be editing, editing, and editing. Yay!