So I thought this week since I’m editing and polishing a manuscript for an agent that I would talk about my experience over the last three years with editing my written work. Now as of yesterday I was not a fan, and cringed whenever anyone wrote the dreaded E word within my line of sight. But since (thanks to RWA Aust and their critique partner scheme) I’ve been lucky enough to find cp’s who mesh with me. And because of that, my thoughts on the subject are starting to change.
I started writing three years ago. My first ms (the one I’m editing now) has come a long way since those first words were typed. In fact, just for fun I searched out the cd, which the original novel is saved on the other day to read. After a few chuckles, ok many laughs later, I had to congratulate myself to some extent. Because the bones of the story which make ‘A Stolen Season’ great, in my book (no pun intended) were there all those edited out words ago.
And let me tell you, many, many words have been edited out. Who as an avid reader of the romance genre knew words such a gerunds existed. I didn’t until my cp pointed out I had a love affair with words that ended with ing. I’ve learnt to shorten my sentances and make my point more quickly (believe me I used to rattle on a bit and went really no where at all). Verbs, nouns, adverbs, adjectives, passive voice, showing not telling etc etc the list goes on and on. It’s like I’ve gone back to school and learnt the basics of english all over again.
And thanks to my cp’s, online courses and RWA Roadshows that travel to my home state of South Australia, I’ve learnt what all those edited words really need at the end of the day to work, and that’s a great story. I’ve found that I no longer shy away from putting my hero or heroine in situations people in general would cringe from. I like to make trouble for them and see how they dig themselves out. I know not to sag in the middle but to create action. And now, I know how to write it. Had I submitted that first ms without the edits, rewrites and then more edits ‘A Stolen Season’ would have never seen the light of day. Which I think would have been a shame, because edits aside, its a great story.
So, my advise for anyone out there who writes and thinks first drafts will do, I’ll tell you what a published author told me at a roadshow two years ago. ‘Get that sucker out of the drawer, rework it till it shines and get it out there. How can you expect to be published when all it’s doing is gathering dust.’ And she was right in what she said. So I did get that ms out and let me tell you its starting to shine. And I won’t settle until I see it on the shelf in hardback.
Happy writing everyone and of course editing. 😉