Friday, June 1, 2012

The More I Learn

The better I will be (hopefully). :)

My primary focus lately has been on editing. The learning curve got so steep I almost fell off. Seriously. I put what I thought I knew into The Tyrant King, had test readers and self edited it until I didn't think I could do any more to it. Then an actual editor got their hands on it, and it's a whole new ballgame.

First off, I don't know nearly as much as I thought I did. That one wasn't must of a surprise. It's kind of like all the rules I was following were for mainstream fiction and not so much for fantasy. You actually write fantasy a little different.

I also have a huge problem with repetitive words. Not the same word every time, but sections of the story where I use a word over and over. Not too easy to do a whole MS search for those when they vary with each section. (no lie, I also had a lot of repetitive words throughout the MS that I could search and replace) And the word "said." I was told it was pretty much an invisible word, but, apparently, you can use invisible words too many times.

I'm not saying any of this to freak you out. And you can't really use my editing experiences to take apart your MS. All writers are unique. I'm only using these examples to illustrate what I don't know.

Most of you are aware I have a traditionally published novel. The problem there is that I learned almost nothing through their editing process. (which is actually something else I suspected) I also think that contributed to the fact that they didn't accept the sequel. Looking at my MS from an outside POV I'd have to say I probably would have thought it had too many problems to publish.

Editing is golden. Even though the learning curve is steep, I'm really getting a lot out of it. Not that any of this is easy. It's hard to feel like you've got the best thing you can do only to have someone pick it apart and tell you everything that's wrong with it. What I am learning, though, is that what I thought was my best wasn't. Yet.

Now if only I could work out my comma handicap...


  1. "Editing is golden." - YES! As writers we all hate it but it's amazing to me how much more I like myself and my work after I've read through a critique and made changes- you really don't know what you don't know until someone shows you, that's for sure. It's like an episode of "What Not to Wear". Initially we all start out super defensive and try to hold on to pieces that aren't working, but then once we start giving in and letting the change happen, we look in the mirror and say, "Wow. This is amazing. So much better than before." :-)

    1. Wow--Editing = What not to Wear. I can totally relate :) Thanks!

  2. As writers we often come to feel married to our words. We put in time, effort, and commitment to get these words on the page and we don't want to separate ourselves from them. We are in it. Sometimes editors can be the marriage counselor who gives the advice and tools to help make an good marriage a great one, and sometimes the best editor is that divorce decree that allows us to start new having learned from the past experience. I have had a couple of essays torn to shreds by readers, but when I pull myself together enough to really re-research and re-write, the essays have been astronomically better. I have also had some writing students who are at first really hesitant to take my advice to completely rework sections or their entire papers (because they feel married to their words), but once they take my advice their papers have moved from C papers to A papers. It is hard to be the one receiving the difficult news, but it can make such a difference when we follow through with the process.

    (To be clear, I am no easy advocate of divorce in a real marriage.



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