Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Editing is the Pits

Yeah, I've heard some people say how much they hate drafting their books, but they love editing. I'm precisely the opposite. Yeah, I love my book so much more after doing a big edit, but in while the edit is underway I can't help but hate it.

I recently received back most of the critiques for my next submission--one more is still on it's way through snail mail. So I've taken time to incorporate suggestions, decide what to keep (most of their suggestions) and what to ignore (hardly anything).

My biggest problem mentioned by several of my readers? Huge lack of background history for the readers. You see, the first book (that is coming out in June) is all about the story of how this convoluted family tree comes to be, so apparently I got it into my head that the background was well explained in this one--but I was so wrong!

*Sigh* So once I finish making the rest of my notes on this version, I get to read through from the beginning and see where I can add bits and pieces without having maid and butler conversations like this:

"Well, as you know, Lily," Denise said as they walked out to the car, "Kaylee is my half sister who was raised by the aunt and uncle I never met."

"Why, yes, Denise, I remember when that happened. You made a trip to Ogden to meet them. "

Yeah, usually you can have one character tell another things they don't already know, and it's fine, but since all my major characters are well aware of the complex history, I can't do that.

The next option is exposition...lots, and lots of exposition. Yuck! I don't know about you all, but when I'm reading I tend to skip right over big blocks of history or descriptions when I want to get on with the story. Okay, so I haven't always written this way, the first few books I wrote had lengthy blocks of exposition, often telling background information I needed, but that the reader didn't.

Now I've moved the other direction, I guess.

Apparently I also need frequent breaks during editing because I haven't edited for more than five or ten minutes at a time before having to check Facebook, read a blog, get up and check on my hatching quail, or something similar.

Which is funny, if you think about it. I'm using my editing as an excuse to procrastinate reading the 225 pages of text for this week's EMT-I class. Then I used this blog as an excuse to avoid my editing. Excuses, inside excuses...

I really better get back to my document!


Ronda Hinrichsen said...

And yet, I know how you feel. Something about blogging makes you feel like you really aren't alone.

ali said...

LOL Heather, I'm right there with ya!

I love first drafts. Those late nights and exciting moments of revelation when you just know what your character is going to do next. Or, better yet, those marathon writing sessions when the story flies from your fingertips and you read along in awe at this amazing story that you're reading for the first time! It's awesome!

And then the editing starts and you have to face the fact that you say "really" or "was" or "so" WAY too often. That the amazing scene you couldn't wait for readers to read fell flat and was missing a ton of information.


Editing is a sad facing of facts that we are incapable of writing the perfect story the first time through, lol. Oh that we were!

Good luck to you and your edits!

Nichole Giles said...

Heather, it's so funny that you mention stalling and taking breaks...

I'm reading blogs because I don't want to edit my chapters as well. Sounds totally familiar.

Editing is so hard, but it really pays off in the end, doesn't it? You'll figure out how to handle that backstory, I'm sure of it. It might come to you in the middle of the night, but it'll come.