Tag Archives: editing

DIG! Digging into edits

16 Mar

I’m editing. Really. I almost want to end the post here because that’s pretty much my life right now. Knee-deep in the edit dirt, since I’m talking DIG here.

When I received the edit letter and marked-up manuscript of OLIVIA TWISTED back from my editor, Stacy Abrams, I kind of freaked out for a moment. A long moment. I think my first thought was “Does she not love me/the book anymore?” It’s silly, because of course she does, but there seemed to be so many areas of opportunity. And everything I thought could be swept under the table, she caught. There were also many places where she felt I could develop certain plot lines or characters more.

Thus began the digging. As I explored each character, I realized that I had missed many opportunities to develop motivation, personality, and relationships. Some things worked, some fell flat. So I started moving around, asking my characters a lot of questions about their motivations (yes, they talk back) and adding several scenes. And reading back through it, it seems to work so much better–like it pops! So yeah, Stacy is pretty genius in my book (along with genius Nicole, her intern).digging man

Of course, as I write this, I’m still editing and staring at my deadline like a deer in the headlights (I’m from Texas originally so I know this look). That’s probably why this post is short—my brain is a little fried.

Eventually, the edits will be finished and I’ll send it back with the hopes that Stacy will like the changes. And from what everyone says, the first edits are the toughest. After that it’s like cake. Well, anytime you reference something like cake, I’m happy!

Anyone else in edit world these days? How’s it going?

ZOOM! (even if we drive a minivan)

24 Jan

My first thought when we voted on ZOOM for our power word was that I drive a minivan and zoom doesn’t exactly describe it. Though my husband would disagree by the way I drive. Whatever.

Before I started writing this post, I thought I’d use ZOOM in the definition of focus, especially since I’m knee-deep in the editing process right now.

Vivi ziplineThen I opened my phone and saw the picture of my recent zipline experience and decided to use ZOOM the way I feel at the moment—moving full speed ahead! And you know, sometimes when you ZOOM through life the sides of the road may blur, which sounds like a bad thing. However, I feel that when you’re focused and moving ahead, if you stop to notice the things on the left and right of you, those things start to pull you from your goals. For me, social media is a great example of something I need to let blur when I’m ZOOMing. I get distracted very easily by Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. Excuse me while I check my email. But if I’m flying through something at any given moment (and I have to really be engaged in what I’m working on), I need the sides of the road to blur so I can make headway. And it feels good. blurry road

This past year, I decided not to let anything stop me from what people have called my bucket list—all those things I’ve always wanted to do but something got in the way (um, okay, usually I was standing in my own way).  Were there things on the “side of the road” that could’ve stopped me? Of course! (I got a lot of the “Your parachute might not open!” To which my response was, “We all gotta go sometime!”) It was such an incredibly rewarding year that I’ve dared myself to keep going. I will take on each challenge not just by climbing but leaping. I won’t let anything get in my way, especially not my own inhibitions. I will seek out new experiences and stay positive through all the bumps and curves.

I will allow the road to blur when necessary.

I will ZOOM!

Will you?

Seven Habits of Highly Effective Procrastinators

11 Mar
  1. It’s not due for a few days. I have plenty of time.

    I'll work on this n--Oh look, there's a bird!

  2. Okay, now I’m sitting down to work on an outline [oops, phone call from friend trumps the outline].
  3. I’ll work through the outline in my head as I watch that new movie with Hugh Jackman [Hugh Jackman trumps everything].
  4. Okay, now I’m going to sit down and—oh, look, a shiny object!
  5. Oh, shoot, it’s due in two days. I guess I better start. Hey—a Glee marathon!
  6. Um, it’s due tomorrow. Okay, I’m sitting down to work on this. After I run to Starbucks. Then to Target. Then to the bookstore.
  7. It’s due in a couple hours. Oh, well, I’m better under pressure anyway.

This is me. And yes, I would’ve gotten it finished, no problem.

A few years ago, I took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) that measures how you perceive the world and make decisions. My results were ENFP, which basically means I’m the following:

  1. Extroverted
  2. Procrastinator
  3. Blue-sky thinker
  4. Disorganized
  5. Easily distracted

In fact, every personality indicator I’ve ever taken has shown that I’m these things. The funny thing is that no one who knows me is surprised by this. I told one person I took the MBTI and he said in a disdainful tone, “Oh, you must be ENFP.” I thought that was hilarious (ENFPs are very easy-going, by the way).

You know what? This works for me. Not everyone plans a vacation out a year in advance, or creates drafts from outlines.  I’ve tried to fit into the mold of a planner, but it’s never worked for me. In college, I used to write my final paper, then the outline from it. The one time I tried to follow the formula and tried to plan, my grade suffered. I do much, much better under pressure (and I do meet my deadlines). Perhaps that’s one reason I’m a great multi-tasker, too.

To sum it up, everyone is different. If you have a formula that works for you, excellent! Don’t apologize, and don’t try to change. Embrace your so-called weaknesses and make them work for you.

I’m going back to work on my edits…um, later.

Killing off my darlings

20 Dec

I don't know what this picture represents, but aside from the near-miss on the moon shot, I thought it was pretty cool.

I hesitated to put that title because I didn’t want FBI showing up at my door to make sure my family is still alive (they are, and as loud as they can be, I’m sure our neighbors can vouch for that). But it’s how I felt when I made what I consider pretty major changes to my manuscript.

I was hesitant, even resistant to the changes. But someone(s) finally took a hammer to my head (kidding, kind of) and convinced me to make the adjustments. I finally realized they were right. It took a lot of work, but it was worth it because the book is so much better because of those changes. In chapter 8 of Julia Cameron’s Walking in this World, the task is to perform an “exorcism” of the creative demon. She suggests throwing it over the gorge bridge or burning it. Too extreme for me. I decided just to cut them and stick the extra “babies,” those pieces I thought were necessary until I realized they weren’t, and pasted them into a document I’ve titled “pieces and parts.”

Of course, I won’t go back to those pieces and parts. They were cut for a reason. They lay in their virtual grave, to only be revived if needed for a reminder to myself or to others close to me that getting rid of those little darlings can be good.

Hard, but good.


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