Friday, 18 January 2008

Editing like a reader who wants to be a writer

Gosh this editing lark is hard work. I especially don't like it when I get to a paragraph that I have circled in red, with the words 'completely rewrite' in the margin. Not particularly helpful. I am feeling inspired however by Reading like a Writer by Francine Prose. She encourages you to read one word at a time, to appreciate the effort that has gone into choosing the right word. I am trying to apply this to my editing, which is possibly why it's taking me so bloomin' long.

What am I editing at this stage? (well I'm trying to reduce the number of times my heroine throws questions into the air for one.) I'm working on the first three chapters of my novel ,as yet untitled but with a crappy working title that I shall reduce for blogging purposes to omg. They are drafted but need to be seriously edited before I submit them to My Man for an early critique. I just want him to give me the answers to a few basic questions such as 'Does this make any sense at all? Have you got a clue what is going on? Have I lit the fuse yet? Have you already sussed the how, what and when of the 'bomb'? Is she still asking too many questions? Is this a really bad idea?

I want him to be totally honest (while bearing mind that I have PMT, a rotten cold and another 14 days to go before I can have a drink). Is this a worse idea than asking your partner to teach you to drive?


CTaylor said...

Rather you than me Sarah! Whenever I talk through my ideas for short stories or novels my partner always give me feedback that winds me up! Not intentionally I'm sure but I think it's best if he sticks to writing songs and I stick to writing fiction and never the twain shall meet!

CTaylor said...

p.s. I can really relate to your editing agonies. My first 50 pages are covered with scribbles that say "waffly" "boring" and "rewrite". Even less helpful are the long squiggles I've placed next to a couple of paragraphs with a big question mark next to it!

The marking up bit is great. The fixing it...not so great!



I don't give anyone I know anything I've written to read any more, (unless it's been published!)as I've found them to be incapable of being properly impartial - plus my partner thinks "not enough goes on" in most women's fiction, which renders his opinion rather redundant :)

A. Writer said...

Yep, I can relate to your editing agonies too. I'm hating doing it but I know it HAS to be done!

That book you mention, do you recommend it?

Sarah Dunnakey said...

Cally & Karen - I am finding the prospect a bit daunting but he's been very useful as a reader for my short stories so I'm going to risk it.

A.Writer - I'm enjoying the book but having to read it very slowly as there is a lot to absorb. First chapter is about looking at inidvidual words in a piece of fiction, second is about 'beautiful sentences'. I'm really enjoying the fact that it is looking at the language rather than plot structure etc.

HelenMH said...

That sounds like a great book. Amazon are going to love me!

SpiralSkies said...

Sounds like another book to add to the pile... aarrghh.

Another two weeks and I plan to have finished my dreaded novel. I'm not sure whether to dread the editing or not!

Sarah Dunnakey said...

Helen & Spiral - hope you enjoy it.
Spiral - 'dreaded novel'? What happened to the power of positive thinking? Stamp on that evil pixie of self doubt and admit that it is a 'brilliant', 'amazing' or even just 'quite good' novel (you never know when prospective agents might be lurking!)