Wendy's favorite quotes

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind."— Dr. Seuss

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Come, young grasshopper, let's be Ninjas!

Editing? You are not alone. My friend, Ali Cross, has declared this month to be Ninja Novel Revising Month.

Many of us bust our butts during NaNoWriMo and enjoy the friendly competition and encouragement…but then what?

First off, congratulate yourself for having written something because "You can't edit a blank page." — Jodi Picoult

I can hear the whining already, I hate editing, wa wa wa. No. Stop it. Editing is the refiner’s fire where you sift impurities and plain old crap out of your writing.

I struggled with editing until my good friend, Renee Miller took the time to go through my first novel with me. A light bulb went off in my brain and I realized that while editing is hard, and sometimes painful, it’s doable and even—dare I say it—fun!

If you don’t know how to edit, spend a few days and research. Highlight all the ly’s, that’s, and just’s in your WIP and stand back as the screen explodes with a case of the unnecessary-word-pox. Watch for was, were, could and all those other sneaky passives.

Most of the time you can find a more active way of saying what needs said. And all that pretty prose, you favorite bits that are beautiful but add nothing to the plot? Put them straight in the crosshairs of your delete button and pull the trigger. Like Stephen King says, sometimes you have to “kill your darlings” to make the book worth reading.

My goal is to finish COLORLESS by the end of March and have it ready for readers.

What’s your goal? Want to be a Ninja too? You can. Check out these other Ninjas.


Nancy Campbell Allen said...

Awesome post, Wendy. I used to hate revisions and editing, but now I really do love it. It's like polishing and scrubbing and making the mss so much better.

Nicole MacDonald said...

I'm hacking out a first draft at the moment so a couple of months off a revision :)

The Arrival, only .99c on Amazon

Mike Keyton said...

Actually, you're right. Editing/Revising is fun. Like shooting ducks in a fair with a gatling.

Renee Miller said...

I remember how scared you were when I said I'd take a shot at 'critiquing' Coyote Dreams. Then, remember when it started to be fun and you thought maybe you'd caught the crazy-bug from me? Don't deny it. You were worried.

Editing takes a certain frame of mine and a lot of focus. But yes, it is fun. Especially if you take the edited version and compare it with the rough draft. That's awesome.

Unless you suck at editing, then I can't help you there. Kidding! I'm kidding. Here, have a cookie.

Renee Miller said...

Speaking of editing "certain frame of mine". Huh. Should've edited that post.

Rita J. Webb said...

Good luck. I have the same goal to finish Symbiote by the end of March.

Wendy Swore said...

Ooh, Rita, you've come over the the Ninja side! I'll come peek at your Ninja post.

Renee, I was nervous when we started, but once we pushed past those first nerves, editing was really fun. Your craziness is catching for sure.

Nichole, good luck with that draft!

And Nancy, you are exactly right. A little polish (or a lot) goes a long way to making our MS shine!

Wendy Swore said...

Mike- sometimes when all those ly's are highlighted, I remember Carlos's advice to massacre the poor dears in droves. Much like shooting in a barrel. You are right.