Editing Week One

Currently I’m sitting at two chapters edited and planning to finish the third one today. These chapters both needed pretty major editing. I’ve changed and cut some backstory in the first chapter I edited, and I added new scenes-part of a new subplot that won’t really be important until the second half-to the second chapter I edited.

There are two main things I’m trying to do with this edit: to create a new subplot so that the main plot of the second book makes more sense, and to make Riana a bit less rude, a bit more compassionate. One of these involves adding a few scenes, and the other involves removing some-and cutting others short.

Creating a new subplot is harder-or at least it feels harder-than making Riana nicer throughout the book. It involves adding new scenes and giving characters that were briefly mentioned in the last draft a slightly bigger role. It also involves editing several scenes to make sure that the facts match. I’m also trying to make it so that the subplot has an effect on the overall tone of the book-to make it feel like there’s still something going on in Moonshadow when this story ends, that there might be another story. That will probably be the hardest part-once they leave Moonshadow, I have to show Riana worrying about the state of politics there, and I have to give her a reason to stay worried.

In most of my previous edits, I’ve spent a lot of time adding things. Adding little details that I forgot, adding scenes which make the story make more sense, sometimes adding tens of thousands of words to my projects. As I’m trying to make Riana nicer, I find that most of the editing I’m doing to make that happen is actually cutting things out. I still want Riana to be a bit mean, a bit ruthless, and definitely at least a little sarcastic. But as I read my last draft, I realized she was so sarcastic a lot of people probably wouldn’t like her. So I’ve been cutting back on her snarkiness-taking out witty one liners and even deleting whole arguments. I’m not trying to make her a saint-I’m just trying to make her a little bit nicer.

And of course the best possible scenario is that I’ll manage to make the new scenes for the subplot show Riana’s compassion. That will be a neat trick because it’s a political subplot and Riana’s not very friendly with politicians that aren’t her king, but if I can find a way to do it, I will.

How is your editing going? Do you find yourself adding more or cutting more when you edit?


About Dianna Gunn

I am a freelance writer by day and a fantasy author by night. My first YA fantasy novella, Keeper of the Dawn, is available now through The Book Smugglers Publishing.

Posted on June 10, 2011, in Editing: The Hard Part, Novels and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Greetings:

    Edited 50 pages of Play #1. That is … have completed a very close pass at Play #1 for stage instructions, punctuation, wrong vocabulary (ie synonym required for my colloquial) needless words (in nano mode, I often start with well, so, and, darling, right … just to get a word down so that I draw out what I actually want to say).

    I’m tracking who’s on stage with a white board. I even sketched out the set and placed the characters in the set. Discovered that I do not use stage right at all.

    This is an interesting process. It is hard to pay attention. Really hard. I often gloss over words and “think” that it’s right when, in fact, there’s a spelling error or a punctuation problem or I have the wrong character name.

    So. When I say I have done a first pass, I may need to do it twice. 😐

    Question for you … do you edit by hand and then correct or do you go straight to computer? I find I can’t “read” right on screen (with sufficient attention to catch everything).

    I am well chuffed that I am actually editing something. Ha! Who knew it was possible …


  2. Oh … and the question am I cutting or adding more … I report in that I am almost completely word neutral. If I had to pick, I have deleted a hair more than I have added …

  3. RP,

    That’s great progress you’re making. Don’t get yourself down if your first pass isn’t perfect-it’s expected that you’ll have to go through two or three or more.

    I like to read my work in hard copy and take notes on what I need to change; actual changes are made on the computer, and new scenes/chapters are written on the computer as well.

    I never managed to edit that third chapter; hopefully I’ll get it done tonight, but I expect that I’ll have to do four chapters this week to catch up… and a mound of homework. Eep…

    Thanks for reading,

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