I’m editing a 92K-word story (32 chapters) in 30 days as an alternative to NaNoWriMo. I don’t get to write another book until this one has been sent out. Dammit. And I have three more NaNo books that I need to rewrite. I’ve been a bad author lately, all first drafts and no rejection slips.
Lesson #1: just as the crunch of the actual NaNoWriMo forces you to learn about putting pen to paper, the crunch of of DeNoReWriMo* is forcing me to learn to stop worrying and love the delete key.
But that was the wittiest thing I’ve ever said! Delete.
But I really liked that tongue-twisting-but-totally-accurate-yet-adverby description! Delete.
But I don’t want to show! I want to TELL! Delete.
Oh, yeah. Love that delete key.
Some other lessons…
Read out loud. I’m learning there is no substitute for reading the story out loud. None.
I thought the story sounded okay in my head. And then I talked to Doyce about podcasting last week, and I decided to actually read the story out loud, instead of just imagining I was reading the story out loud but not actually reading out loud, because that might be embarrassing, to have people who already know I’m a bit off hear me acting a bit off. Thanks to my family for not commenting on how odd it is to have someone typing away in the back bedroom for hours on end, talking in funny voices, then saying, “Shit,” and typing some more, because WOW, actually reading the story out loud. Yeah.
Adding the characters’ voices was hard. I felt like even more of an idiot. And then I realized I didn’t have a voice for some of the characters. Ouch.
Fix the plot holes first. I’m also learning that it’s better to read through the story and fix plot holes before I start reading out loud. The part of my brain that has logic (i.e., that can manage all the plot lines and determine whether so-and-so should be in the scene anymore) does not like the part of my brain that listens to the sounds of the words. It gets disgusted and walks off.
I’ll catch additional plot holes when I read aloud, but they’re usually of the was-the-shirt-buttoned-in-the-last-scene-or-not variety.
The compressed editing schedule makes it easier to spot plot holes, by the way – you don’t forget what you wrote in chapter 2, because that was six days ago, not six months.
I doubt I’d want to do speed-editing like this if I hadn’t already beat the plot to death with a stick. I’m at the point of fixing minor plot holes, not adding chapters, deleting characters, and reassessing just what the point of the book was supposed to be, anyway.
Editing takes time. It’s taking me longer to edit these chapters – just on this go-through – than it did to write them in the first place. I’m used to ten pages = 1.5 hours, with focus. Now it’s ten pages = all damn night. AND I log off Twitter.
Brag it up. Rewriting needs just as much support as doing your first draft. Thanks to everyone who’s commented, in person or over the net. Some days, having somebody ask me how my book is going is what made me walk back to the keyboard.
More later. Unless I haven’t finished my chapter for the day…
*DeAnna Novel ReWrite Month.