Friday, February 1, 2013

Editing Fool

Edits. Ah, my weeks from a very special sort of hell. I actually threatened my editor with the Kraken on Facebook. She laughed and said they were good friends. I cursed her with Cthulhu, she grinned and I saw her green teeth, realized she was one of the chosen.
It wasn’t fair. I warned her, as I addressed the 242 comments on the side of my 15.5k story (that is over 5 comments per page!) “I’m gonna end up adding a ton of words!”
“Add more words. More words are good!”
(Direct contradiction of my first editor who, when I added 5k words to an 80k story, said, “Good! Don’t ever do that again.”)
What did Zee, the new editor, want? Well, she wanted more details. She wanted great depth and sensuality, she wanted more backstory and development of the myth, she wanted me to stop having body parts move and behave independently of the characters. (It is a bit on the horror side but not so much that I could get away with hands wandering like Thing in the Addams Family.) (One day I’m gonna write a book like that, just so I can write all the disembodied body parts I want.) (So, there!)
She wanted, she wanted, she wanted!
I? I didn’t want. She hit me with all these wants at a time when I could barely string together two emotions let alone stir any libido into the mixture. I was silent and unable to muster up any enthusiasm at all.
But I had to. I got an extra week and with no choice before me…I opened the doc and dove in.
And wanted to kill her over and over and over and over and over.
I ended up adding 3.5k to the short story. Torturous, terrible, words of blasphemous belief and a sensuality that only an elder god could appreciate.
Lorelei’s Song is all about the last siren on earth, who knew she’s different but didn’t realize how different. She is into heavy BDSM, rich as Midas, and bored. Terribly bored. (It is really hard to write a bored character as anything but boring. I may never create a bored character again. If I do, shoot me.) (I mean she wasn’t a boring woman, but she was bored. Big difference.) She goes to a Steampunk convention and meets two guys. Who happen to be descendants of the unholiest of all elder gods, the terrible awesome Cthulhu. These guys can shift into tentacle sea monsters.  They are on the edge of desperation. Need to mate, need to let the monster inside get sexy. 
The three meet and it might mean the end of the world…or it might mean…???
Yes, fun stuff. I actually had a lot of fun writing it, but the editing was straight from the gaping maw of the soul sipping Cthulhu himself.
Is the book better at this point? Yeah. I will admit that. And I did prove to myself that even when every nerve and creative synapsis is dead on arrival, I can reach into my deepest pit of hell and find something.
I’m waiting with baited breath for the next round. And preparing my talisman’s of power. I wonder if Zee knows voodoo?
My point? Well, I know it may not sound like it, but this was an empowering exercise and I can now say with confidence? “You think you are out of gas? You think you can’t do it anymore? Creativity has died a long slow death along your spine? Well. MAGGOTS! GET OUT OF THE MUD AND PULL UP YOUR PANTIES AND DO IT! DO IT! DO IT!”
Or I’ll sic Zee on you.

The next round came and I was given three days to cut 175 uses of the name Jerrod by at least ¾ and the same with the 145 times I used Nicholas. Plus about the 32 times I used the word cousin. I did it. My brain is now so torqued it’s hard to walk.
I must have done a great job with Jerrod... Third round of edits she added a few of them back in. ;-)

What was the last thing you didn’t think you could do and you did it anyway? Did it kill you? What’s your nightmare story?




Zee Monodee said...

Lol. Sounds like I'm getting quite a reputation, innit? And yep, the Kraken and I are party buddies (didn't you know they had the best bashes in the sea kingdom underworld?) *grin*

Seriously, though, I always knew you had it in you to write as I wanted you to. I'd seen glimpses of that in the story and simply pushed (okay, mighty push, that one!) to get you to carry that throughout the story.

And to answer your question - I recently rewrote the very first book of mine that got published. My writing style and development potential grew/changed amazingly in the past few years, and it looked like a trip to Hell and back to attempt a rewrite on a story that had nothing but the bare bones holding it together. Nightmare time, but I did it... and won contracts for a 3-book series in the process.

Where there's a will, there's a way. Cliche, yes, but it's just soooo true! XOXO

Maureen said...

The editor showed up! Everyone! HIDE!

Nah, it's all good. And it is a better book, I like the poetic I hauled out of me...Zee hauled out of me. I will be very curious to see how the story does!

Zee, I know that place! I'm getting ready to self publish the very first story I ever wrote, editing it and revising it and all... It is sorta impressive to see the growth since that puppy was writ!

I'm thinking to throw a kraken party when A Caribbean Spell is released...and maybe a pre-party or after-party for Lorelei's Song. Not sure when LS will be out! So, we'll see when the Kraken throws another bash!

Thanks for stopping by, Zee!

Natalie G. Owens said...

See, Zee? I told you the world would take note of your utter fabulousness one day. Seriously! And let's not speak of connections! Kraken, Ares, Zeus, Cthulhu, etc.... :)

Natalie G. Owens said...

Oh and well done and good luck with your steampunk tale, Maureen!

Terri Osburn said...

You know, Zee, if you could have seen the emails I was getting... ;) Kidding! She pulled her hair out and whined and gnashed her teeth, but she always knew these edits would make the book better. Good job both of you!

I have a feeling whenever I get around to reworking/rewriting my first MS, it's going to be quite painful. Mostly because making that book work will require cutting a ton and adding new. I hate cutting and adding new. So I'll continue to ignore it for now.

There were a couple times during edits that my inner 4-year old came out and stomped her foot and pouted, but I pushed through.

I think that's really the key to anything that has to do with writing. Whether it's getting the words on the page, querying, rejections, edits, or even self-publishing. You just have to push through.

It's very much like giving birth. :)

Sabrina Shields (Scapegoat) said...

So proud of you Mo and happy you've found an editor to push you to go beyond where you are comfortable. That's what will take you and your writing to the next level. Can't wait to read it!

Maureen said...

Natalie - I tell ya, the woman is connected...

Terri - Let's never speak of those emails again... And I figure, when you sit down to untangle your foodie tale, it will be so much easier than you think. Because you'll know what needs to be done!

Sabrina - I wasn't uncomfortable, I was sure what she wanted me to do was impossible. I knew it needed to be done, but I was running on empty...but it happened anyway! Much like some of your spinners must feel when they first walk into the gym...

MsHellion said...

“You think you are out of gas? You think you can’t do it anymore? Creativity has died a long slow death along your spine? Well. MAGGOTS! GET OUT OF THE MUD AND PULL UP YOUR PANTIES AND DO IT! DO IT! DO IT!”

I think this might be my favorite thing I read this week.

I refuse to give birth. It all sounds so I can't have that. There was a funeral or two I didn't think I'd make it through. But usually when I feel "this" way, I'm in the middle of an exercise class--unfortunately at the FRONT of the class and therefore can't leave--and I thought I was going to die continuously and didn't know how everyone else looked at ease. Once was a Body Pump class--so that made sense; but I felt like this once at a YOGA class. I was like, "Are they kidding me?"

Glad you powered through. I think people like that in our lives is magic.

Maureen said...

Hey, yoga can be really hard! I took a class while on that Alaskan cruise last year... Try holding a pose on a swaying ship!

Otherwise...this is why I never do group exercise classes... I would not only poop out in the middle of class, I'd get a leg cramp and scream about it.

Glad you like my Marine Sergeant impression.

Kathleen Ann Gallagher's Place to Reflect said...

Maureen is back! I'm so happy I visited your blog today. It inspired me during my edits. Thank you!

I'm happy she pushed you. It's all in there... We need our editors to help us search our souls for the good stuff!

Lorelei's Song is going to be hot!!

MsHellion said...

Mo, I imagine Tree and Eagle would be bitching hard to do on a ship. Eagle's hard when you're in a non-floating room. *LOL*

Maureen said...

Kathleen! Hey, girl! What was that I read about you being on the morning show???

And yup, most Fridays are mine... Glad to see you!

Maureen said...

Yeah, Hel...good thing we were a small class or we'd have been like a floor full of dominos!

Marnee Bailey said...

I'm so glad you got through these edits, Mo!! How exciting!! :)

Hardest thing that I've gotten through when I thought I couldn't? Dunno. Need to think of that.

But I do feel like revisions can be never ending. I know I can get through but it just feels like it takes a LONG time.

Maureen said...

Revisions always kill me, Marn. I'm fighting to keep my attitude positive as I work on the Caribbean Spell series. Though I still think book three is going to kill me fer real.

I think by setting up my calendar with specific dates for when these books are going to copy editors that I am paying gives me a step-by-step process that I can't put off. And that helps!

Terri found me a quasi line editor who is relatively inexpensive and that was a great way to get things going.

Anonymous said...

Mo, now you know why I love my editors at Decadent Publishing. They get me the BEST stories out of the BEST authors!

Glad you were tortured......eerrrmm, thoroughly and you ended up loving the result.

Heather Bennett
Decadent Publishing

Maureen said...

Thanks for stopping by, Heather! I think you'll be pleased by what Zee managed to yank out of me... That doesn't sound strong enough... More like do brain surgery, expose my grey matter and extract out of me...

I love the cover and have already considered another story in the same setting. Maybe with werewolves getting all romantic and eating rude tourists...

Kathleen Ann Gallagher's Place to Reflect said...

It's great to be here! I meant you're fabulous sense of humor and motivating words are back!.I guess you've been here all along. Maybe I have been in the writer's cave too long. lol

I got a chance to be in the audience at the Katie Couric Show! I posted about it on fb. Exciting...

Maureen said...

How fun! Yeah, I've been a bit AWOL... I should probably rejoin the Decadent loop so I can keep up with everyone, but it's gotten so huge!

Janga said...

Congrats on all the hard work you completed and tons of good wishes for the rest of the process, Maureen. I'm awed by the things your imagination produces.

I always do better work when there's some kind of external pressure pushing me. Today the pressure is a five o'clock deadline. I've written 2K this morning and have another 1K to do by 4:00 your time--then a final check and an upload. I think I'll make it. I think I can, I think I can I think . . .

Terri Osburn said...

Chance, you need to add your cover to this blog. I don't think you've shared it over here. And we need to get it on the side bar when it's up for sale.

Maureen said...

Well, frigglydibit! My comment disappeared!

Let's see, I was being clever...

Janga - Awed, eh? Not horrified? (I figure when I run these things by Terri, she just sighs and diplomatically replies. Always encouraging!)

I think when I made the actual 'appointments' with the copy editor and formatter, I nailed myself in and considering I'd been talking about self publishing for more than a year and done nothing... I needed to be nailed.

And that didn't come out right...

Janga - good luck on the deadline! 1k in the hours until 4, my time, should be easy-peasy!

Maureen said...

Terri - Yeah, we'll have to figure out how to do that. But your cover needs to be up there, too! Pretty soon we'll need to solicit comments so everyone's covers will show up!

quantum said...

Goodness. I had no idea that you authors worked so hard, under such intense pressure, and all for a short story!

If I end up on Janga's desert island, the last siren on earth might be pleasant company, if she goes easy with the BDSM stuff and doesn't bring her shape shifting tentacled sea monster friends!

On second thoughts this stuff might give me nightmares. I really need a nice refined time travelling witch for company. Is Miranda included in all this revision and editing?

Afraid I lead a pretty boring existence compared to this. I sleep easily at night with my dreams of beautiful equations. No recent nightmares to scare you with. LOL

Good luck with this Maureen.
Like most things practice makes perfect. LOL

Maureen said...

Yeah, I think you'd prefer Miranda, Q. Lorelei's tastes run a bit harsh. And the guys aren't letting her go anywhere without them!