On the First Read-Through

Posted on March 3, 2010. Filed under: Editing, My Writing | Tags: , , , , |

It’s been an incredibly busy day. I’ll make a short post. Wednesdays are hopefully going to be my days to update you on the editing progress this month and tell you all the fun things I’m working through on my manuscript for Fire and Ice Bound.

With that said, I’ll start by explaining how I want my first read-through to go.

I’ve already read through the prologue and the first chapter. I may or may not ditch the prologue after the advice Orson Scott Card gives in his how to book. I haven’t decided yet.

My first read-through, for better or for worse, is simply going to be a grammar check. The only reason for that is I know myself too well. If I reread what I’ve written, I’ll go nuts every time I find a comma splice or misspelling. So I’m reading critically for grammar first.

But I almost forgot to mention my program! As a NaNoWriMo winner, I had the opportunity to cash in on some great winner offers. Obviously the one most NaNo-ers care about is the free proof copy from CreateSpace, and I definitely plan to use my coupon and get my proof copy once my manuscript passes inspection. However, there’s another awesome offer that a select number of NaNo-ers were able to cash in on this year as well.

I say select because it really depends on what type of operating system you use. Anyone using an Apple was able to cash in on this offer, and it’s pretty fabulous. The NaNo winners were able to purchase Scrivener at a 50% discount from the cover price.

Scrivener is a word processor, but it’s not just a word processor. It was created with writers in mind, specifically writers of longer pieces of fiction, like novels. Scrivener allows you to do some really awesome things: combine all your story documents into one giant file, use the corkboard to move and manipulate the order of your story, divide each chapter into scenes, edit, use the full-screen mode for minimal distractions while writing, and so much more.

It’s a pretty intriguing program, and I’m just now exploring it through editing Fire and Ice Bound and writing The Macchiato Murders and Tales from Lucy, but there are a lot of things I’ve yet to figure out. It has everything from a standard novel manuscript form to a tutorial to scriptwriting features, and it’s pretty simple to operate.

So I’ve imported all my chapters from the NaNovel into Scrivener and have read through the prologue and first chapter, making minor wording changes and a few rewrites or deletes. It’s not great, and it needs a lot of sculpting and shaping to make it work, but it’ll be worth it.

This is the beginning of my editing process, and I know everyone edits differently, so what’s your starting point? A brisk read-through to get a feel for the whole story? Chapter by chapter or scene by scene revisions? Let me know! I’d love to hear tips and tricks from the pros (or the not-so-pros as the case may be).

-Rae-

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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.

-Rae-

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