Editing Weekend

As some of you might know, I recently applied for Pitch Wars, a contest where you pitch your novel to agented authors and editors, and they pick one entry to read and critique. I submitted a pitch for my “New Adult” novel about three college roommates who learn about each other and themselves. My novel wasn’t chosen, but I received some really helpful feedback from one of the mentors I queried – Miss Dahlia Adler. I may not know exactly how to fix my query letter, but I know what to fix, and that is a huge help!

Between November 26 and December 3, I was reading through my novel and making some changes. Since then, I haven’t really done anything as far as writing is concerned. I have enjoyed the break, but now it is time to get some work done. I am going to start by editing the second novel I wrote for NaNo: For Real This Time. I haven’t really given Maggie much attention since I finished the first draft, but I think that it’s her turn. I printed out the draft and have it in a binder. From what I remember about the novel, it actually was a decent first draft – I just hope I still feel that way after I start reading. I hate wasting paper, but I find editing so much easier on paper.

This weekend, my boyfriend and his parents are going out of town, and I am staying at their house to take care of their dogs. I have decided to use this time to get a jump start on my editing. I’m going to try to do my first read through this weekend. I have pens and highlighters and sticky notes and a notebook. My goal is to go through and make notes on parts that need fixing. I am also going to look at the novel scene by scene to see which parts should stay and which parts need to be added. My goal is to have all the changes marked down on this draft before I type it into the computer. I think I often get bogged down with how much I have to do, and I end up getting confused and quitting. I’m now going to take this step by step. This method worked well with Tilt Your Head and Smile (or at least it did before I stopped editing to work on Camp NaNo and never started back up again), and I’m hoping it will work this time, as well.

If there’s one thing Pitch Wars has taught me, it’s that writing one draft isn’t enough. If you want to be a writer, you have to keep going. You have to fix the first drafts. It’s important to write a lot, yes, but you’ll never get anywhere if you don’t edit. I went to school to be an editor. This should not be the part of the process that stumps me. I currently have seven completed drafts and four incomplete drafts. I’m much closer to where I should be now than I was last year (at least I have finished drafts now), but I’m still not where I should be.

My goal for the rest of this month is to get a decent draft 2 of For Real This Time. I already have a decent draft of Let Go. It’s time I start taking this seriously. I’ve learned a lot this year, and I’ve accomplished a lot, but I still have a lot to do and learn. And I’m looking forward to waking up early tomorrow, waving goodbye to my boyfriend, and then diving straight into editing.


Posted on December 13, 2012, in Editing, For Real This Time, Let Go and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. I’ll be cheering you on in your editing mode. In some ways, I think editing is hard because then we have to go back and evaluate what we’ve done. If we never do that, we can always retain the sense that it was fine or even good. But you’re right, you have to keep going, because fine and good aren’t enough. You need to go back and give the story a chance to be all it wants to be, something I’ve found you can only accomplish through editing.

    I hope this turns out well, as I’m sure it will, and I suspect that going through the editing process will teach you a fair bit about writing, especially if you start recognizing patterns in your writing and any recurring problems you have. That awareness is a key part of learning to be a better writer, to produce better first drafts. I know you’ll get there though. *hugs*

    • You’re absolutely right about this being a necessary part to becoming a better writer. It’s a step that I’ve been skipping a lot, which I’m just now realizing has been a huge problem. Yes, you can learn a lot about writing simply from writing, but you learn even more when you go back over what you’ve written. I think that might be part of why I usually avoid this step – I think I’m afraid of seeing how much I have to learn. But that’s not the case anymore! Now I’m ready to face my (writing related) problems head-on! 🙂 Thanks for the encouragement! *hugs*

  2. Once I get into it, in a lot of ways I actually enjoy editing more than writing that first draft. I always feel like I’m discovering so much more about my story and my characters as each new draft develops. Still, getting started on editing is always the hard part. 😉 Have fun, and good luck!

    • Thanks! I’ve only really edited one draft before this one, but I know that I really enjoyed editing once I got into it. Well, let me clarify – I liked making notes about what needed to be fixed. I liked planning how to fix it. Actually making those changes was a bit more difficult, and that’s where I stopped last time. But I will not do that this time! And I’m currently on page three and am enjoying reading over what I have so far, so I’m hopeful about this round of edits. 🙂

  3. How did your weekend go? Did you get through the draft in the way planned? Love your optimism and energy in this post!

    • Thanks! 🙂

      I didn’t get quite as far as I wanted, but I still got a decent amount done. I spent most of Friday glued to Twitter and CNN keeping track of the horrible events in Connecticut, and yesterday my boyfriend and his parents got home earlier than I expected, and I ended up making them dinner for when they got back, so I didn’t have quite as much time as I thought I’d have (or, rather, I just didn’t use it all wisely).

      But still – I’ve read through half of it, and I’m enjoying it. I’m actually thinking it’s better this way – I get to take my time and enjoy reading through it and making notes/edits. 🙂

  4. Love weekends where I can just veg with my story. It sounds like yours what somewhat productive, even if not to the extent that you wanted.

    I printed mine out and stuffed it in a binder, too. There’s something about NOT sitting in front of your computer that is too delightful to pass up when you can.


    • Oh, absolutely! I’ve tried to edit mine on the computer in the past, but it’s so much more fun to be able to see all your words printed out and be able to go sit somewhere without a computer and still be productive. 🙂

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