editing


While doing research for my bisexual erotic romance novel, I ran across Marketing Beef: A Gay Romance by Rick Bettencourt and bought it.

Marketing Beef is about an accountant named Evan McCormick who falls for the new guy at work (who is way above his pay grade). A complication involves financial scandal in his company; as the accountant, Evan falls under suspicion.

From the title and blurb, I thought the story would take place in the office. Most of the novel took place while camping, though, and I kept wondering when they were going to get back to the office. I enjoy camping, but the business issues framed the camping trips rather than being an integral part of the plot. While their ‘big fight’ revolved around the scandal, the issue felt tacked on.

The main character and plot lines sometimes seemed contrived – painfully shy yet has multiple former lovers, all who ‘somehow’ end up at the same place? Hmm.

There was one place where I had to page back because of confusion about ‘what body part is going where’ … which may have been an editing issue more than anything else.

That said, the novel was entertaining and had several very funny scenes (‘egg’ in the hair, anyone?). It’s a good solid novel which anyone who enjoys m/m romance would like.

I’ll give this three thumbs up. Nice work.

 

three thumbs up

 

Is this thing on? Anyone still here?

Well —

I got to preview Holly Lisle’s How to Revise Your Novel, and the first lesson is pretty good! I dug out the original copy of Freedom that I got bound in that offer Lulu.com gave back during NaNo 2005 to use for my revision. That book has given me more fits than any other one I’ve written, so I figured it’s a good test run as to whether this class is any good. 😉

If you want to be in the first class in January 2010, just go to the link above and sign up to be on the announcement list for when enrollment starts.

The power of TK

For example, you’re writing along and hit a note that isn’t important to the plot or anything that is a detail that does need to be added in. Instead of stopping to figure it out, or research it, you write something like “He jumped into the [TK make/model of car] and slammed the door shut.” The ‘TK’ is a somewhat statistically improbable letter combination, so you can, in draft, just do a find for TK and work your way through in a later draft fixing little things.

Read more over at http://www.tobiasbuckell.com/

Daily routines of notable people

I have trouble relating to the whole “gotta write fiction every day” thing. But I do have a routine.

I get up at 6 am on school days, make breakfast, then check email until the kids are ready for school, then after getting home, do whatever I am doing that day, usually at the computer starting around 9 or so, with breaks for housework, yard work, and tending to the animals.

I write (blog, journal, whatever) every day. It’s part of who I am.

But I can’t write fiction every day.

The desire to write fiction seems to come during warm months these days, but I never know when it’s going to happen. But an idea will come that I have to write, and I can’t NOT work on it. I have been known to work for eight or ten hours on a story a day for days straight when it happens, and not feel stressed about it at all. It’s fun.

Then I can go months without a single story happening.

If I don’t have an idea, it seems stupid to waste time sitting at a blank page. I just go read in that case, and sooner or later I’m blogging somewhere.

This lady seems to agree with me (very funny, safe for work):

One thing that struck me about this video is the idea of creativity coming from the divine, taking the pressure off a person to BE a genius rather than CHANNEL the genius.

Now if only I could get this genius thing to edit better …

I should be writing my NaNo right now, but I need to explore this first. Maybe it’ll be of some literary interest.

A friend’s situation has me thinking about bitterness. Everyone gets bitter about some situation at some point in their lives. Not everyone overcomes it.

Hannah in the first book of my Freedom series illustrates that (and in some ways this friend’s life parallels hers, although it’s not about him by any means; I had already written it when I met him)

What came to me this morning: bitterness is always justifiable. Unless you’re just paranoid, someone did hurt you, and you can’t do anything about it (otherwise you’d be angry instead, and take action). So the knee-jerk reaction someone always gives when they’re called on their bitterness is, “well, look what they did!”, with the implication that you’re either unfeeling or judgmental or both.

Yes, that’s it, isn’t it. The focus is on what they did, and while certainly you can be bitter about it (since you can’t change things), the real question (to paraphrase Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park) is not whether you can, but whether you should.

But we all know this, which causes the angry rebuttals when we’re called on it. Lord knows I’ve verbally backhanded enough well-meaning ex-friends to recognize that, and thank God I’ve managed to let go of a lot of it, through various means.

You have to Let. It. Go. Because the other thing about bitterness is that it seeps into other areas of your life, poisoning things that should make you happy, altering your view of people, leaving you cynical, aging you, ruining your physical and mental health.

This doesn’t apply to my friend as yet, but imagine a fictional character who continues along this road. There’s certainly potential for a story here, and gives me some insights into Hannah. They say when the time is right the teacher appears.

Just got done with a novel opening workshop over at Forward Motion, one of the best yet.

If you’ve never checked them out you should, it’s a great place.

And my copy of Ragamuffin finally arrived! This is going to be good. 😀

Critiquing is the way to learn to edit.

This is what I’m learning right now.

I’m doing a critique right now of an epic fantasy (with the associated epic length). Every time I critique a novel, I learn something new, and today several things that were rolling around inside my head came together.

A novel has a heart, a core truth that the rest of the story hangs on, that every part of the novel relates to, focuses the energy of the story towards. You might call it the theme, but it might not be related to the theme. The heart of Lord of the Rings, for example, isn’t really related to the Good Triumphs Evil theme, rather to the truth that you can’t go home again, that change changes everything, including you. Neither Frodo nor Bilbo nor the Elves nor the Orcs nor even Aragorn could return to the lives they once led, as much as they wished to.

Your job as an editor/critiquer (should you choose to accept it) is to find the heart of the story in front of you. Like JRR Tolkien showed us examples of how each character in his trilogy couldn’t go home again, couldn’t take up like what happened hadn’t changed him or her, everything in your story should circle around its heart, like planets in a solar system circle the sun.

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