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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.