I’m in the middle of a major edit of Shadows at the moment and I thought today I’d share a little about how this looks. Earlier in the year I met the amazing Nicola O’Shea (editor extraordinaire of authors including Belinda Alexandra) at a NSW Writers’ Centre event. She read the first 15 pages of Shadows, loved what she read and we agreed it might be fun working together a bit more on my manuscript (MS). So I sent her my full MS and she gave me the most detailed feedback.
The down side – at the time I thought I was really close to being finished, almost ready to start querying but, as it turned out not so much! Holy cow was I a long way from being finished.
The result – a MAJOR structural edit. I mean completely changing the structure of the book. A LOT of work to come.
The up side – I can totally see how this will make Shadows a much better novel.
So, the journey so far looks a little like this….
The Pantsing stage. Pansting = flying by the seat of your pants. I tend to start all my writing by pantsing. I usually have an idea, often a picture in my head, and I write without knowing where my characters or the story are going to take me. With The Point I started with a picture in my mind of 2 people sitting on a bench. I didn’t know who they were, what their connection was, what the significance of the bench was. But I started writing and they soon showed me the way. With Shadows I started with what would become one of the final scenes, Alice lying in the grass with Dean (I can’t say more because it’s a pretty significant part of the story and I don’t want to give anything away). I didn’t know how she got there or what would happen after that moment but once I started writing, Alice told me what she wanted. I love this part of the journey – the unknown, the discovery.
Once I’m 30K words or so in and have a better sense of who my characters are and where they’re going, then I move on to the next stage.
The Plotting stage. Plotting = nutting out the details and mapping how you’re going to get from A to B to C. This where I knuckle down and figure out all the minor and major plot points and how they fit together; where I plan how the story is going to move through the beginning, middle and end.
My Plotting stage looks like this. Colour coded even!
The Editing Stage. This is the Polishing stage. Throwing bits out (that always hurts), adding bits in; checking there is flow and connection between the different elements; finding the holes, plugging them up; rounding out the story; figuring out that you haven’t really finished and going through yet another edit. And in the case of Shadows, completely overhauling the structure.
And this is what my editing stage looks like. Yes, the chocolate is an integral part of the process.
So, I’m in the editing stage (or chocolate stage) right now. I’m not sure how long it will take. Nicola’s suggestions mean a lot of work. But, I’m hoping not too far into the new year, Shadows might be ready to be thrown into the query trenches.
I do love all stages of this crazy writing journey, but pantsing is probably my favourite.
Writers – what’s your favourite part of writing?
Readers – what’s your favourite part of reading a novel? The beginning when you’re discovering something new? The middle when you’re in the meat of the story? Or the end, when you reach the resolution?