Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Editing is Key

(Reposted from 05/06/08)

You know you've been gone too long, when your co-author says, "You're blog hasn't been updated. People will think you're dead."

Well, I'm not, and after a couple months' hiatus, I think it's about time to get back on track, and start updating this blog as I said I would at the beginning.

In reading KL's blog post about "making [our work] pretty", I was reminded of all the moments we've been editing and have run into things that need to be fixed. It's very important as a writer to go over your work and look for subtle nuances of meaning.

Author Checklist:

1. Make sure you're using the right words. When editing, KL and I take turns trying to brainstorm words that are appropriate for the scene and the character.

For Example:

KL: Well, 'Rai thought as he flopped…'… 'Flopped' is too girly. What should he do?

JLY: 'Posed manfully'? 'Boyfully'? 'Full of boy'? 'Skipped'? 'Traipsed'?

KL: You're not even trying.

JLY: 'Dove'? 'Conquered'? 'Vanquished'?

KL: ...No.

2. Make sure your characters stay in character. Sometimes when we're caught up in things, if we don't think about it, our characters will start to sound the same. Or, not at all like themselves. In this scene, Rakam speaks the way KL and I normally do.

For Example:

“Who doesn’t like me?” Rai feebly joked, hoping to get a laugh out of Wisteria.

“I can tell you who doesn’t not like you.” Rakam said. “Wisteria, that’s who.”

3. Make sure you make sense. I have a tendency to write late at night, and sometimes it shows. This gem is one of KL and my favorites. It's good to have a co-author or beta reader to call you out on things.

For Example:

"So, it seems like everyone's paired off for the Winter Ball by now." Rakam said.

Wisteria stiffened. She and Rakam had come to some unspoken agreement that as long as he was trailing her, they didn't speak. Well, it was actually more than an unspoken agreement. Wisteria had made it into a rather outspoken statement on multiple occasions. Still, Rakam insisted on talking to her.

JLY: I don't know if I was trying to be funny, or if I was just tired.

KL: It works on so many levels. It's an unspoken agreement not to speak. But then it's not actually unspoken. And, Rakam doesn't even agree.

JLY: ...So, actually, it's a very spoken disagreement

So, these are just some basic rules for writing and editing. I'll post more when I think of them. I think writing, above all, is a process, and while it's easy to get discouraged when the right words don't come or when you can't get into character, it's important to be able to step back and put things in perspective. Above all, enjoy your writing, and don't be afraid to laugh.

Take Care,


PS. You can be an author too!

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