Go Get an Editor Right Now

It’s been silent here on Writing and Whatnot. You might think nothing has been happening, that I took the month of December off to drown myself in beer, football, and holiday cheer. And that would be a good guess, because I’ve done all that. I’ve also been doing A LOT of editing.

All of you fans (ha!) will recall me posting about hiring an editor to review my novel, To Kill the Goddess. I knew that TKtG needed more work, but I didn’t know what I needed to do next. How close was I to publication? Did I still have a little work to do? More than a little?

So I found Brett, my editor, and sent her my book. Then a few weeks later I received her editorial report and the marked up manuscript.

Holy crap.

Brett commented at the end of her thirty some page report that I probably felt as if I had just been disemboweled, but that every writer felt that way and that I should take time to absorb her comments.

Personally, I wouldn’t use the word disemboweled. For me it was as if my every flaw and blemish had been laid bare. Kind of like that dream where you realize you are standing naked in front of your high school gym class and all the cool guys and pretty girls are laughing their asses off.

But then a day or two went by, and I started to see that instead of displaying my insides for everyone to see, Brett had presented me with a MRI. What I had was not a thirty page outline of my failures, but an extensive diagnosis of my weaknesses, as well as a blueprint that would enable me to elevate my writing to the next level.

*lightbulb*

I began to study Brett’s report, and to really think about what she was saying. Then I picked up Witness It, my recently completed novella, and started making changes.

And let me tell you, it’s been awesome. I’m excited. Stoked, to borrow a word that might have been used in my gym class. My writing still isn’t perfect, but thank God (and the Goddess) that I finally took this step because the results are kind of astonishing. My novella’s plot is exactly the same, but my technique and word choice has improved so much that Witness It is a significantly better story for it. And I haven’t even had it edited yet.

So if you are one of those writers who has been debating as to whether or not you should get an editor, then end that debate right now. Get one. Also get a good beer or scotch to help you through the naked gym class phase. Then sit down and really read that report. Accept the diagnosis, study the blueprint, and begin to focus on realizing your dream.

I have, and I’m now one day closer to making that dream happen.

Editing, Editors, and Excedrin

Holy crap is self publishing giving me a headache – and I’ve barely started!

Hence the Excedrin (which I’ve never taken, but it did make for for a nice title).

So let’s get on with it, shall we?

Conversations With Potential Editors

These are going well, but in the interest of full disclosure, I have admit that I’ve been self medicating on Surly Fest!

To date, I’ve had conversations with three editors. Now that is a strange experience. It’s one thing to ask the Scribblerati for feedback, but it it’s entirely another to talk to a total stranger and have them zone in with laser precision on the faults in my book.

Of course, those faults were all I focused on at first. It wasn’t until after some time for reflection that I saw all the incredibly complimentary things they also said. I mean, damn did they come back with a lot of really nice things to say.

But don’t think I’m taking all the credit for that. Sure, there was a tremendous amount of hard work involved (and really, if it isn’t any good by now then I might as well hang up my hat and take up golf or something) but I know I couldn’t have made it to this point without the encouragement of the Lovely Leann or the insight of the Scribblerati.

So while I’m feeling good, I’m also well aware that there’s still a serious stretch of road ahead, but things are good, you know? I feel like I’m on the right track and that there’s a possibility ahead, like anything could still happen.

Wrestlin with the novella

On the personal writing/editing front, I’m finishing up Draft 3 of my novella, Witness It. The first half is in front of the Scribblerati right now, which is super exciting. It’s been fun revisiting the story (I wrote it almost exactly a year ago) and I’m excited to hear what they have to say. My intention has always been to pair Witness It with To Kill the Goddess, so it feels good to have that in motion as well.

And what about Book 2?

Moon Sister is gestating. I have the first half-ish sketched out in outline form and the next step is to start writing.

From scratch.

Page 1. Word Count = 0.

Gulp!

Shawn Vs Chaos

My writing life is in chaos.

With To Kill the Goddess done (for now) my daily routine of picking up where I left off is a thing of the past. It was grueling, but at least I always knew what needed to be done next. Now it’s time to move on to new projects, some of which are in better shape than others.

Project #1 is, of course, TKTG, which is currently taking a well deserved nap while waiting for a couple readers to give me the thumbs up/down. After that I’ll tackle the daunting “find the perfect freelance editor task.” Gulp.

Project #2 is Witness It, my TKTG companion novella. I wrote two drafts of WI late last fall and when I picked it up to read it last week I was pleasantly surprised by how good it is. It needs some TLC, but another editing pass should get it ready to share with the Scribblerati.

Project #3 is Moon Sister, the sequel to TKTG. You would think that writing the second book would be easier than the first, which I’m sure it will be, but planning & plotting is another thing altogether. TKTG grew organically, in fits and starts over the course of several years and multiple drafts. I want to be done with Moon Sister inside of two years. That means I’ll need to do a lot of up front planning before putting words to page and I’m learning that process as I go.

So far I’ve bought a bazillion multicolored Post-Its, rearranged my room to free up a wall, and started slapping them up. This is either my best idea ever or a complete waste of time. Time will tell!

In the meantime, I’ll keep doing what I’ve always done – chip away one day at a time. And one Post-It.