Editing, learning, and shopping

It’s funny – I keep getting excited when I see back-to-school sales because that means I can stock up on pens and notebooks really cheaply. It wasn’t until I was at the store today that I remembered that I’m actually going back to school this fall. It was so weird. I ended up getting a folder and notebook for each of my classes (color coded, of course). It was fun. Way more fun than getting my back-to-school shot was. It’s ridiculous: if I wasn’t going back to school, no one would care if I had a TB test done – so why does it matter now that I’m going back? But whatever. I have more important things to think about.

Like the fact that I’ve cut 4,460 words from Tilt so far, and I’ve only edited the first twelve chapters. I’m no longer freaking out about the fact that I liked too much of it. I completely rewrote chapter 9 and rewrote large sections of 7 and 8. I also added a bunch to 10 and 11, so that helps show how much I’ve cut out if I can add whole paragraphs and still have cut so many words. It’s currently just over 97k right now, and I’m about a third of the way through the novel.

Once April starts looking for a job, the novel goes downhill. I’m learning that I don’t really like scenes where she’s all alone, at least not for more than a couple of pages. I’ve started including a few more scenes with her and her boyfriend’s families, which helps move the story along in a more interesting way. I’ve learned that sometimes it’s better to just have her talk to someone about how she can’t find a job, rather than showing her sitting on her bed thinking about how she doesn’t have a job. Scenes like that are important, but they can’t be half the novel.

I’ve also learned that sometimes I think I need to rewrite a paragraph when really I just need to delete it. I can’t get over how many times I’ve started to think about how to best remove a paragraph without messing up the flow of the story, only to discover that they actually flow perfectly without that missing paragraph. I also can’t just add things because I want that information in the story. I’ve found myself doing that sometimes, too: I want to include a fact in the novel, so I try to tack in onto the end of a paragraph, and it doesn’t work. Each time I’ve stopped myself from doing that, I’ve ended up with a better way of fitting it in later, so it’s good to know that patience can actually be a good thing when writing.

On a related but different note, the other day I was going through my old files, trying to find my immunization records. While I was looking, I found my report card from first grade. Each marking period, my teacher would make some comment about how much I loved reading and how I much the class liked the stories I would come up with and how I was starting to write my own stories instead of just reading them. I’ve always thought that I started writing in second grade. That’s when they gave us blank books to fill in with our stories. That’s when my friend Miranda and I started writing about polio and unicorns (not at the same time). It was interesting to see that I had actually started earlier. ๐Ÿ™‚

Right now I should be working on the next chapter, but I’m still torn on what to do with 13. April has to take a copy editing test, and there’s one word that trips her up. I’m not sure what that word should be, and I can’t decide if I should show the actual paragraph that she has to edit (and the one that she has to rewrite), or if I should just summarize what she’s doing. I don’t really feel like writing them, but I also don’t want to not include something and feel like I’m not showing enough detail. Once again, this is where I’m not sure how much detail is too much detail.ย  I also need to think of a compound word that’s really just one word but which April could realistically think was two words. Yes, this scene is based on something I did in real life, but I can’t for the life of me remember the word that I messed up on, so I’m having issues with this scene. Any opinions on this issue (either about what the word could be or if I should show the actual test she takes) would be appreciated.

On an unrelated note, I went dress shopping with my sister today. Her 21st birthday is tomorrow, and Saturday she’s having a party where everyone’s supposed to dress up. I didn’t end up finding a dress, but I did get a new pair of black pants, four dressy shirts, and a skirt, so I still consider it a win. Now I could actually go a solid week dressing up without having to re-wear a shirt. Not that I need to now, as I have a uniform at work, but having more than two nice shirts will come in handy when I’m teacher…assuming this degree actually leads to a job. ๐Ÿ˜€

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Posted on July 19, 2012, in Editing, Off Topic, school, Tilt Your Head and Smile. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Man, you’ve been doing some serious learning. ๐Ÿ™‚

    As far as the copy editing test goes, my yardstick is always whether it actually adds to the story. Ask yourself that question. My inclination would be to summarize the test and only get specific about the word that stumps her. Your opinion may differ though, and it is your story. I would point out that while you’re summarizing, you can get into her thoughts a bit, self-doubt, worry, that kind of thing, or even over-confidence.

    There are whole lists out there of commonly misspelled or mistaken words, and I’m sure if you googled them and took a look you’d find something good, maybe even the one you’ve forgotten.

    • I was leaning toward summarizing the test, too, but I was afraid I was letting laziness win. ๐Ÿ˜€ You’re right, though. There are better ways to deal with the test. And I’ve spent so long trying to find the exact word that I messed up on – I completely forgot to just Google misspelled words. Haha. I feel stupid now. Thanks!

      • Not stupid, really wrapped up in the quest. We all stumble over the obvious from time to time. It makes me swear as my toe hurts from hitting it eventually.

  2. Sounds like you’re superbusy! I agree with Julie on the summarizing… I tried to imagine what it would sound like to describe a test in detail and it sounded like way too much unnecessary info – but then again, I don’t really now your story or how important that test is in the overall story. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Yeah, it’s not really all that necessary. I can just summarize it, maybe include the line that has the word she messes up on, and leave it at that. Thanks for the input! I’m always afraid I’m leaving out too much, so I end up adding more detail than I actually need. ๐Ÿ˜€

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