Monday, November 19, 2012

Editing and Scrambled Egg Brain

So it’s late on a Sunday night as I type this and I just remembered I’m supposed to blog tomorrow. Or today rather. You see, I’ve been a bit distracted. On Saturday I finished my 2nd round of edits on my debut release MEANT TO BE and today got back to writing the second book in the Anchor Island series UP TO THE CHALLENGE. That means my brain is officially fried.

I know this not just because I forgot about this blog, but because I haven’t blogged anywhere in weeks. Not even on my fancy new website. Which is just the silliest thing ever. I have the thing and I’m ignoring it! But again, the brain is scrambled eggs at this point.

But there are good things that have come out of this editing process.

1) I have learned that I suck at tense. Past, present, future and all that perfect stuff is lost on me. I figure it’s good to learn this now except I’m not sure how to fix it. I’ll try and I know there are many resources, but it’s understanding and retaining the information that I worry about. See scrambled eggs comment above.

2) My characters like to breathe deep. ALL of them. Deep breaths covered that book like ants on a watermelon. It was bad. At least that’s easier to fix though now I’m curious how many times I’ve already used that phrase in this new book.

3) It’s really hard to know what you have at this point of editing. Between the track changes and the various tweaks that require vetting the next several pages to make sure that one word change doesn’t screw things up in eight other places, I’m totally confused. I had confidence in this book two day ago and kind of still do, but at some point you start to wonder if you’re making things worse instead of better.

4) As an author of Contemporary Romance, not being a wine drinker is actually a problem. That one’s hard to explain but trust me, it’s an issue.

Wish I could go on to offer solutions to all of these new found issues, but I can’t. My point, however, is to show that a book does not need to be perfect to sell. My story is the same as it was before. My character are who they were and the plot is what it was with some clarifications made to enhance and make it stronger.

But all of these issues above existed in this me and this book before I sold. Editors can see through the rough patches to recognize a good story and solid writing. They can see your voice through the occasion patch of static. They can believe in your story even when it needs a little TLC.

So don’t give up and don’t let anyone fool you into thinking you can’t do this. You can and you will and one day an editor will get your voice and love your characters and make your year. Just keep going. It’ll happen.

Anyone already know what their weak points are? (This could be in writing or life if you want to get that deep. I also know I have commitment issues but that’s a whole other blog.)


Marnee Bailey said...

Mechanically, I'm not sure what my writing weak point is. I worry that I have pulled emotional punches in the past. I'll get right up to that line and then I'll let it go. I want to make sure I don't do that this time around.

Life weak points? I can be a judgy Virgo sometimes. And I'm a perfectionist. It's annoying.

MsHellion said...

Life weak point: I don't deal with disappointment well. This is possibly a UNIVERSAL human trait, but I *really* don't do it well. I need friends around to make sure I don't kill myself by doing something dumb to retaliate against the disappointment.

Writing weak point: LY words, characters who say similar things that I say like "Indeed" or "Honestly"--it'd be one thing if ONE character said it but all of them do, names that change, and I'm sure a dozen other things I'm not even really aware of. And I am incapable of doing TRACK CHANGES, absolutely stupid with them.

Janga said...

I have many weak points in writing and in life, but the biggest one in both areas is a lack of discipline, which encompasses procrastination, self-indulgence, and sloth among other faults. I'm particularly aware of all these failings in both areas today because (1) I checked my calendar this morning, and I haven't worked seriously on the WIP in exactly a month; (2) We had our big family Thanksgiving gathering yesterday(Our firefighters have to work Thursday), and I ate all sorts of things I shouldn't have.

TerriOsburn said...

Don't they say recognizing our weaknesses is the first step to doing better? I'd say we're all on the way to improvement.

Marn - I'm not quite a perfectionist but I don't believe in doing things half-ass either. Can make for long days. Especially when my house ALWAYS looks like a train wreck. I need to fix that this week. I think it's messing with my productivity.

TerriOsburn said...

Hellie - You may take a hit in that area but you'll bounce back. Maybe you take longer than someone else but there's no rule about this stuff. It takes as long as it takes. But never doubt you'll get back on your feet.

That was the thing about deep breaths. If it was one character I could say that's just his/her tick. But no. It was ALL the characters. LOL! Lots of deep breathing!

TerriOsburn said...

Janga - Before you beat yourself up too much about not writing on the WIP, answer one question. How many words did you write on other projects in the last month? I'm sure that answer will number in the thousands. Procrastination and discipline are not your problems. You just need this other stuff to get out of your way. (Which I know is hard when these are paying gigs!)

irisheyes said...

I'm a procrastinator who doesn't like conflict. That doesn't bode well for a writer - getting my butt in the chair to write is a chore in and of itself and well you can imagine how exciting the story is with no conflict. LOL I'm working through it though and that's fun - being able to create conflict on paper is becoming easier and easier. I'm sure if I went back over anything I've written I'd find way too many "reallys" or "awesomes". I tend to over use words a lot! Oh, and exclamation points. I'm an exclamation point whore.

In life the procrastination thing has made me less of a perfectionist (which was the last big thing I was working on LOL). Unfortunately, I think I have to find a happy medium somewhere. As for the avoiding conflict, I have 2 teenagers so that just isn't possible these days. I'm kind of getting jolted out of my comfort zone on a daily basis on that one and managing pretty well, if I do say so myself.

P. Kirby said...

Weak points...Um, I'm like an engineer's nightmare with design flaws cropping up everywhere.

Middles, i.e. plot stuff. I write out of order and am usually strongest in the beginning and end, with the middle sections losing steam. Struggling with this in the current WIP. Even a little with fan fiction thingy.

My characters are always, "turning" and "looking" at something/someone. They used to sigh a lot and play with their hair, but I've exorcised those demons only to replace it with others.

I rely heavily on humor, even with angsty stories, which isn't a problem. The problem is that sometimes catch myself reusing a joke or situation. To which, I end up saying to myself: "Dude, it was cute the first time; second? Not so much."

On a personal (personality) level, I've got paper-thin skin, which is a serious issue in this business.

Anyway, your book's gonna be awesome! Looking forward to seeing it published!

TerriOsburn said...

I still battle procrastination, Irish. Had to force myself to focus yesterday and still didn't get a lot done. IRL I'm fine with conflict. Maybe even a little aggressive at times. But I struggle to create it in my books. Something I'm always working on.

And living with a teen is like living with a live bomb that could go off at any second. One minute it's all calm and looking harmless and the next BOOM! And you never know what's going to set it off!

At least this has been my experience thus far. :)

TerriOsburn said...

Pat - Mine are always moving somewhere. "Move" is one my favorite words. Which is evidence action verbs are not my forte.

I'm not sure how thick or thin skinned I'll be. Round 2 edits were a bit harder because I didn't like some of the questions that came with them. I got cranky. LOL! But if she had the question the readers might so better to address them now.

It's inevitable that I'll eventually get bad reviews. You can't please everyone. No idea how I'll feel about them but I think I'm already trying to brace for them.

Maureen said...

I am the ellipse queen. Period. Period. Period.

I like my characters to get stuck on finding a word, or to pause or to reflect or... yeah, it's a problem.

One of the major flaws the writing coach picked up on was the gaps I leave with letting the reader in on what is going on. Part of this is purposeful, I want to leave them wanting to know what is going on... Which one can do a little, but not a whole lot. I sometimes do it a whole lot.

And sighs, head turning, or tilting, eyebrows lifting, smirks, snorts, lips curling, blinks... I got a million of them. Too bad I usually use ONE per MS.

Janga, someone I really want to lift an eyebrow, snort and curl my lip at the idea that you are lazy.

Pat, yeah...hard. Hard as hell.

Maureen said...

Ah, that should have been somehow I want to lift an eyebrow...etc.

Donna Cummings said...

Terri, I sympathize with your scrambled egg brains. :) I was editing two books at the same time, for two different publishers. Fortunately the first book's edits were nearly done when the 2nd one's came in. LOL

And I discovered when you get rid of the "echo" or "repeater" words, NEW ones show up that you couldn't see the first time around. Aaaugh!

As for my flaws -- I don't want to expose them in a public forum. You can discuss them amongst yourselves in private. LOL

TerriOsburn said...

Donna - I don't want to think about the spring when I'm writing one, editing another, and promoting a third. Brain completely shuts down at the thought. LOL! And I did feel better once the editor said the "deep breath" thing is a frequent issue with lots of writers which is why she looks for it. So I'm not alone!

Di R said...

Hello Pirates!

Terri, I am sooooo looking forward to reading Meant To Be!

I haven't been writing for a couple of months. My beloved father-in-law fell ill in September and passed in October. And I've been left devastated, heart-broken, and reeling.

In my writing I LOVE commmas! I put them all over the place. I once told someone, that when I reread what I've written I delete 90% of them. I should delete probably 95-98%. LOL!

As for life, I have too many faults to list!


TerriOsburn said...

Hey, Di! So sorry about your FIL. That will take a while to get past, I'm sure.

I think I put too few commas. Or the ones I do include are in the wrong place. I thought I knew where they belonged but now I question myself nearly every time I use one.

Maureen said...

Condolences, Di.

Maureen said...

Oh, as for real life flaws? Really, I'd need a blog or twelve.

Miriam N. Conde said...

Thanks for the encouragement! We all need it.

TerriOsburn said...

Thanks for stopping by, Miriam. I did want to get the point across that even with all these weaknesses, I still sold. That was the real point! LOL!