Thursday, March 12, 2009

Done the page edits!

Or line edits. Whatever I'm calling them today. I finished the last page at 9:43pm, central time, on March 11th. I couldn't sleep so I decided to start the task of imputing the changes into the Word document. It's been so long since I started that I felt I've been away from the beginning of the novel long enough.

It took me almost 30 minutes to be happy with the first two pages. Well. The first two pages after I finally decided to nix the prologue as it added nothing to the story and was only there to show off the backstory I had written. Didn't delete it completely, just out of the second draft file. I am an avid saver. Even if I'm deleting a sentence, it gets copy-pasted unless I know I have it saved elsewhere. Now that I'm working on the second draft, I don't have to copy-paste, everything is perfectly preserved in the first draft file.

I really do think I am going about this in the most difficult manner possible, but it is what is working for me. Next time I'm ready to edit a novel, I'm sure I'll try something else. It will help that I am a much better writer than I was when I started writing the first novel. Seeing how many careless mistakes I made really taught me a lot. And I learned that spelling out all words simply for NaNoWriMo word count really is NOT worth it later. I don't think I used a single contraction in the section from NaNoWriMo.

Overall, I am happy with how the editing process has gone so far. I only found one minor plot hole. I managed to find all the big ones while I was still writing. Okay, two plot holes. One minor and one just silly. My characters were last seen at point A heading for point B. The next time we see them, they are on their way to point E with no explanation as to how they ended up going that way. I knew why, but I kinda, sorta forgot to tell the readers that.

I also discovered I overuse the word 'quickly'. At least in my mind it is overused. I wouldn't see it for pages, then I'd use it five times on one page. It's my crutch word.

I am wondering about tense in novel writing. This one is a fantasy novel, so I'm thinking past is the best. I know, I've already written it, why am I asking about tense? Because I wrote it in present tense and am now switching it to past as I type up the fixes. I write all my stories in present. I see the story in my head as if it is really happening right now. So that's how I write it. I don't like reading present tense. 'said' disappears on the page a lot easier than 'says' does to me. Of course I still have time to change my mind as I've only managed to type in three pages worth of corrections.

What do you think? Do you like writing past or present? Which do you write in? Does genre really matter? I honestly want to go to the library now and pull random books off the shelves and see which one wins. I believe past is the 'standard' of novels, but I'm not really sure. I'm still a newbie in terms of the novel writing world.

Have a good day, (and I actually mean that!),

P.S. I totally don't mind if anyone notices typos or other errors and wants to point them out to me. I'm notoriously bad at actually noticing errors on screen.


  1. I'm slightly confused. Do you mean you have finished the entire job of editing the book, or have you completed just one step? If you haven't finished, keep going! Pass that 50-hour mark, if possible!

    I know you have joined me on NaNoEdMo. Unlike NaNoWriMo's word count, our count of hours are not posted. How many hours have you made so far?

    If you have completely finished editing the book, do you have more editing that you can do? Last year, I completely finished editing my book and had to stop with three days left to go. I wasn't concerned, though, because I had put in a fraction over 104 hours. My goal this year is to equal or exceed 105 hours.


  2. Hi Dave,
    I've just completed one step. I've got much more work to go.

    I just hit 14 hours and 45 minutes tonight for NaNoEdMo. I'm a little behind, but I am catching up fast now that I'm at the step of transferring my on paper fixes to the computer. I'm much more likely to work on the computer for long periods of time then I am to hunch over paper with pen in hand. Better posture at the computer anyways. :)

    You can actually see where everyone is at on the EdMo site. This is the link: Click Here. If that works. If not, this is the link. You'll just have to copy paste it.
    It is a full list of everyone on the site, it is put in order by number of hours. The person with the most is at the top and it goes down from there. Like I can see that you're just over 30 hours! Wow!

    I hope that clears up the confusion.


  3. I forgot to say past tense is more common. Present tense does result in published books, however. Two books Sara Gruen wrote for NaNoWriMo, Flying Changes in 2004, and Water for Elephants in 2006, were both published (NaNoWriMo FAQs, What happens to all the novels written for NaNoWriMo? Has anyone been published?) Water for Elephants is written in present tense. I don't know about her other two books.

    I do not care to read present tense and probably never will read Water for Elephants or any others in that tense. For me, they are hard to read. But who am I to argue against success?

  4. Speaking of not noticing typos on screen...

    I had finished the first draft of my novel and read it cover to cover (if it had covers) dozens of times. I printed it out and gave it to a friend and avid reader for her opinion. Now, we all know how important it is to grab the reader right off the bat right? The first chapter being the most important, etc.
    The first four words were as follows.

    "Cathryn entered the entrance..." (duh! what else are entrances for?)

    I just didn't see it on screen. I've learned to read everything on paper!

  5. Charlie - I had a similar learning experience, except I was handing in a story as a school assignment. My teacher asked me if I bothered to proofread it. It was for AP English so I can understand why she was unhappy with the obvious errors. :D

    Dave - I'm not a fan of reading present tense either but I didn't realize that until I was reading through my manuscript. Great time to learn about something you dislike.


  6. Maybe if you posted a paragraph each way you could find out which we prefer.

    I'll be working on my edits soon for Killer Career. It took a back burner to income tax prep. Cross my fingers, that job appears to be done. Hope the accountant doesn't find something else for me to do.
    Morgan Mandel

  7. Morgan, that's a good idea, thanks for sharing it :)

    Good luck with the taxes! That's one thing about not making any money from my writing yet, my taxes are still easy.

  8. I prefer to read and write in past tense. "That" and "it" are my words to watch. ;)

    Lynnette Labelle

  9. In one book, I put one character in first person POV and the other major character in third person POV. It took me completely changing that set up a couple of times before I settled on it. That took a while.