I Am Not Editing – Really!

Posted on February 22, 2010. Filed under: Editing, Fantasy, My Writing, Science Fiction | Tags: , , , |

I got enough sleep last night after all the craziness of the last few days. It was glorious. And it was so lovely to wake up and realize I’d overslept my alarm for the umpteenth time. I suppose getting a job would cure me of that failing or else that failing would cure me of a job. Either way, I feel rested today.

So I thought it would be a good idea to read a bit more of How To Write Science Fiction & Fantasy while I was awake and able to process it. So far I’m really enjoying the book, but it’s also been rather challenging. That’s both good and bad for me.

Having Orson Scott Card’s take on this area of fiction has been rather invaluable for me. I finished reading the chapter on world creation today and am currently reading the story construction chapter. It’s fascinating because there are so many facets that need to be considered in order to write a well-rounded, thoroughly planned, adequately articulated novel. Granted, a lot of those are things that become subconscious, like deciding your genre and then adding in elements that are typical to that genre in order to fit with the conventions. But there are a lot of questions this book is raising for my own story.

For example, I have to wonder if my world is really developed yet. Do I have an organized system of government for my country? Is the magic involved fully scientific and fully ‘magical’ at the same time? Does it make sense? Are their articulated rules on how the magic works?

My answers to each of those questions are the same. Yes and no.

Card’s challenge to think through these expectations of readers is really causing me to want to get into the nitty-gritty development of my world regardless of the story I’ve written. I want to go back and pin down all the variables that make up even the details of the world that will never be written into a story.

It’s kind of exciting and kind of exhausting at the same time. But I’m thinking it’s a good idea to begin working on some of those extra details now while I have the opportunity and before I begin editing that first draft. That’ll make it easier for me when I go back to identify the areas that need to be explored, fleshed out, and detailed. Or nixed altogether.

And, despite the fact this book was written for authors of science fiction and fantasy, I think it can provide guidance for writers of any genre. Just check out the third chapter on story construction. Card begins with a discussion of the distinctions between ‘heroes,’ main characters, and point of view characters and throws out ideas for just how those characters can be the same and different depending on the story.

Perhaps this is a plug for the book, but I’m enjoying it. In fact, I’ll probably go back to reading it some more after I finish this. But it’s beneficial, challenging, and thought-provoking in all the best ways. So I’m going to stick with it.



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10 Responses to “I Am Not Editing – Really!”

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Glad you found a great book.

I need to start editing my novel in March. Bleh. I think I need a less time-consuming hobby. 🙂

Sometimes I agree with you! Heh… editing’s going to be interesting, to say the least. But we’ll see how it goes. I’ll cheer you on if you cheer me on. 😀

I’m actually glad you mentioned the book before. I’d never heard of it, but now I want to check it out. 🙂

It’s pretty cool. I’m getting a lot of ideas from it. You might enjoy it. 🙂

Our beloved Orson Scott Card, author of the Enders series. I haven’t read his book on writing, but it’s been one of the most recommended on writer’s forums. I’m happy its inspired you to expand on your ideas for the “universe” you’ve created. I’m reading some research stuff too. I’m reading Martin Rubin’s Thrillers for my current manuscript. Do you have a manuscript in the works? I saw that you participated in NaNoWriMo. Is this what influenced you to read Scott Card? If so, I think I’m seeing some good progress. I remember you posting that you have never completed a manuscript. Well, you have the tools in order. Now you just have to create. Perhaps, starting with that “Fits and Starts” story you began.


Well, I did participate in NaNoWriMo, and I wrote my 50,000 words on my novel using the universe I created. I kept at it in late January/early February, and I ended up with a completed manuscript that’s 90,000 words long. So I’ve technically written my first novel. I just have to edit the thing. Easier said than done after reading through some of Card’s suggestions.

Oh, that’s terrific! Even my manuscript is only 68,000 words. That’s great Rae. I need to use you as inspiration when completing my current manuscript. I hope to at least get to 80,000 words.

Is this your second manuscript that you’re working on now? And do you have your first edited? I’d be interested in trading tips. 😀

I’m not sure I’d be much inspiration, but whatever works, right? LOL.

Oh, I meant my first one. I’ve barely reached 10k with my current. My goal is to finish my second manu. this year. And start editing over the winter. I’m my own editor I’m afraid. I just utilize editing books (i.e. self-editing for fiction writers, English grammar for dummies, Strunk and White, Spunk and Bite, and the Little Brown Handbook)

So, I don’t know if I’m an expert at all, but if you really would like my layman advice, I can give ya a hand.



Heh, considering I haven’t even started editing, I could probably use all the help I can get. I have a self-published friend who writes sci-fi (I think), and she’s offered to hook me up with her editor when I get closer to needing more professional help. She tells me the woman who edits her stuff offers competitive rates and has a good sense of humor, which I’m sure I’d need.

I’m going to edit mine in three passes to begin with unless something goes wrong and I find I really just need to start a massive rewrite. However, after doing NaNo, I get a free proof copy of the novel from CreateSpace, so I have to claim that before July 1 or else forfeit it. I’m still debating on how that’s going to go. It’s up in the air right now. 🙂 I’ll probably offer up some questions about self-editing in March in my posts.

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