Monday, July 11, 2011

More process

First an announcement. If people haven’t heard or seen, there’s a crit partner match up over at

There’s also a tweet-pitch off over at Love Ya that starts tomorrow (which by the time most people read this is today).

More on my process: editing

I guess all writers are pretty strange and otherwise unfathomable. I know a ton of people in revisions land right now, and that got me thinking: what is my process?
See, if curling up in a corner to cry was a process, that would probably be mine, but at some point I finished a novel. Then I went back over it. Then I went back over it. And then, because I wasn’t really sure, I went back through it three more times. I think you get the drift. The only way I can start to see the problems with my manuscript is through repetition. If I have a hard time staring down a passage for the seventh time, then there’s probably a reason.

I think there’s this sort of evolution in writers. Maybe I shouldn’t be so general: I went through a sort of evolution. The first time I wrote a novel, I loved it so much I wouldn’t have let anyone change a hair on its pretty little head. I was twelve. The second time I finished a novel, I was 24. I loved, loved, loved that novel. In fact, I loved it so much I was willing to rewrite huge portions of it. Oh man, I loved that novel. It’s one of the few projects I’d be willing to consider tackling from the “Once upon a time…” and no, I don’t start stories like that. I didn’t write another novel for six years, but I loved it so much I tore it to pieces, reassembled it, ran it through the grinder of every person I could bribe into reading it, then took that feedback back to my manuscript one more time. Then I started putting it out there, and getting feedback from professionals, that’s how much I loved that story. I loved that story enough to brave the dreaded land of queries for it.

In short, the more I love a story, the more I’m willing to work on it. That seems simple right? Well, it isn’t. We all get those SNI, and how do we know that they’ll turn into a story we love enough to rewrite it. My guess is, this is what agents and editors are always talking about when they say write the story you want (need!) to write, not the one you think will sell. (Do I sound like an afterschool special yet?)

So, right now, my process is this: write story I fall in love with. Write a different story so I’m not all googly eyed at the first story. Reread the first story in preparation for edit. Tear first story to little bitty bits. Take a look at second story to see if it would be any easier to beat into shape. Nope, back to first story. Beat it into shape (I do this by going over it repeatedly and talking plot points with people I trust). Edit it. Revise it. Edit it some more. 

Basically, my editing process is a Mandelbrot set. (I’m super nerdy right now). 

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