pandora/ipod: “mrs. robinson” by simon and garfunkel
You’ve tackled the hard part. Honestly, I’m not just saying that. You wouldn’t believe how many people say “I’m going to write a novel” and then never actually write the damn thing. But you’ve done it. It’s pretty. It’s shiny. It’s done.
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Back the truck up. Finished?
Not yet, buddy.
CHAPTER FOUR: THE EDITING
As much as we would all love to think that the glorious, Hollywood-esque moment of typing “THE END” actually signifies…the end, truth is that your manuscript probably needs more work. If it’s like one of my first drafts, it probably needs a lot of work.
Let me introduce you to my little friend:
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, by Renni Browne and Dave King might be the greatest resource for writers. I will admit loud and strong that I never would have found an agent were it not for what I learned in this volume. Believe it.
Editing is not just about finding typos and grammar mistakes. I wish. Editing your novel is about identifying, deciphering and fine-tuning one or more of the following:
- Plot Holes
- Showing vs. Telling
- Dialogue Flow
- Character Motivations or lack thereof
And that’s just off the top of my head. There are so many factors that go into a successful novel, and sometimes you need to be reminded of what problems to look for, and how to fix them. Browne and King is an invaluable resource in this regard.
There are a multitude of methods for editing your manuscript. My preferred method is to print the whole bloody thing out and attack it with a red pen, notepad and small Post-Its. I use the red pen the most, marking that puppy up like she’s going in for a face lift, boob job and full-body lipo. Post-Its help with identifying different themes, and where their important scenes exist in the manuscript. I use the notebook to remind myself of things I need to fix, rewrite, double-check or consider cutting.
Then there’s the inevitable implementation of hardcopy edits into the ms. To me, this is the hard part because my brain wants to jump ahead to the next step. But page-by-page, bit-by-bit, the manuscript starts to come together. Once my hardcopy notes are all in place, I do another pass – I call it my *~*SPARKLE PASS*~* – to punch it up.
Sort of. Because there are still a few more chapters in this How-To Guide, kidlings. Like next week: Chapter Five – Beta Readers.