Beautiful Books #3: The Editing Process

7:15 AM Gemma Fitz 6 Comments

So-- technically, my NaNoWriMo WIP has still not reached "The End". (No, surprise, surprise, I did NOT finish it in the first week, as I was hoping.) But I've still been wretchedly wrenched back to reality and the fact that very soon I am going to have to edit this thing (ahh!!!) by the new Beautiful Books link-up: the editing process.
In case you weren't here the first two times, Beautiful Books is a blog link-up event hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In in which bloggers everywhere weep and flail over their half baked NaNo novels. It is lovely, and you should do it-- but this is your last chance! This is the last Beautiful Books link-up for the year! Which is very sad, but I believe they will be picking up Beautiful People again, so there's that.

1. On a scale of 1 (worst) to 10 (best), how did the book turn out? Did anything defy your expectations?

We'll call it a 8. It needs a lot of work, yes, but overall, I am very, very happy with my new novel, and I basically love it to death. (Yes! This is the definition of success in my world!) I'm shaking at the thought of editing, at which point I will rediscover all it's weakest points and decide I detest it after all, but until I get there, I'm going to let myself love it as much as I can.

As for expectations, I don't actually remember most of my expectations for the thing before I started it, but I do know that all my characters are completely different from how I originally envisioned them. Also, it wasn't supposed to have a body count. It really wasn't. And yet here I'm left weeping on a blood stained battlefield, the bodies of the heroic dead strewn around me--

Ahem. Forgive me for waxing lyrical. Point being. People died. Good people, bad people, they all died. Though to be honest, even back when I was conceiving this thing, I knew myself well enough to suspect that the "no body count" thing might not last long.

2. Comparative title time: what published books, movies, or TV shows are like your book?

Eh-- I don't really know?? My book is urban fantasy/paranormal/supernatural/whatever you want to call it, and I don't read or watch a lot in that genre. (I'm probably going to have to change that.) I did feed myself a sporadic diet of Supernatural fan videos for "research" while I was writing it, so it probably bears some resemblance to that, though I haven't seen the show itself and really couldn't say.

Otherwise, for you Doctor Who fans, I'd describe it as "Silence in the Library" meets "Flatline", with a bit of "Fear Her". (Wow, that just made it sound even creepier than it actually is. o.o)

3. Do you enjoy working with deadlines and pressure (aka NaNoWriMo)? Or do you prefer to write-as-you're-inspired?

Deadlines and pressure, definitely. If I don't have some kind of pressure, I don't get anything done. Anything. For most things in life, that pressure is my Mom. For writing, it's NaNoWriMo. (This is also why we need a National Novel Editing Month-- I have a feeling I would get editing done much quicker and easier.)

In theory, write-as-you're-inspired sounds pretty appealing-- especially for an overly independent, "forget rules and regulations!" type of person like me. But since inspiration rarely lasts as long as it takes to write a novel, I simply can't run that way.

4. How do you go about editing? Give us an insight into your editing process.

Step 1: Cry and eat chocolate.
Step 2: Read through novel. (More tears and chocolate involved.)
Step 3: Get ready to edit and freak out. (More tears and chocolate...)
Step 4: Try to edit and panic. (More tears... More chocolate...)
Step 5: Throw computer at the wall and scream. (... You know the drill.)

I haven't really gotten much further than this in the process at any point in any book. Usually I just give up and do another rewrite, because while those are more labour intensive, at least I know what I'm doing. Editing I have no idea. Someday I am determined to actually sit down and make myself edit until I get it right.
Sorry. Couldn't resist.

5. What aspect of your story needs the most work?

The Shadow's back story, probably. There's this creepy shadow monster who's killing my MC and is planning to take over the world or something (I should probably mention that I haven't mentioned even this in the book, so far-- it, too, will have to be inserted during edits), but I never actually told the readers what it is or where it came from. I know what it is (ha ha-- kinda-sorta-not-really), but the readers kinda have to know as well. But it's rather difficult to explain when the entire book is written from the POV of a character who probably wouldn't know where the thing came from.

So yeah-- lots of tweaking will go down in this area.

6. What aspect of your story did you love the most?

I've said it many times, and I'll say it again-- my MC, Rae. I totally adore her, and she really makes the story for me.

Aside from that, however, the theme of my story is extremely important to me as well. I didn't really have a big theme in mind when I started writing, but I did plan for friendship to be important aspect from the beginning, and it really just snowballed from there. From the verging on abusive relationship between Rae and her Shadow, Rae's third wheel position in her friendship with Micah and Glenn, the growth of her friendships with Chloe and Darryl, and even the relationships with her various family members, by the end of the month, it was obvious that the real point of the story was the difference between healthy friendships and unhealthy ones.

7. Give us a brief run down on your main characters and how you think they turned out. Do you think they'll need changes in edits?

This is going to take a while. Just so you're forewarned.
Rae is snarky, practical, and pretty much my exact opposite. She's an ISTJ and has a certain structured, disciplined approach to life that I really appreciate and don't relate to at all. She's funny. She's quirky. She pretends to be a lot more chill than she actually is. And she's a bit more emotional than her personality warrants, which I need to change when I do the rewrites.

Micah is my ENFP (yay!) goof-ball. He shakes things up, keeps it fun, and never answers his texts. Sometimes it may seem like he doesn't care about anything but having fun, but he can be quite sweet when he remembers to be, and he genuinely cares about his friends-- and just about everyone else, too. So far, I don't think he needs to change much.

Glenn is an ISFJ-- reliable, loyal, and just an all around nice guy. But underneath his sweetness, he's all too capable of taking care of himself and his friends, and no one enjoys being on his bad side. He's the middle ground in the trio-- the balance between Micah's goof-ball carelessness and Rae's sarcasm and discipline. During edits, I plan to make him a more prominent and defined character, since the others kinda stole his glamour in the first draft.

I keep going back and forth on whether Chloe is an ESTP or an ESFP, but one thing is certain-- she loves people and she has absolutely no fear. (Wait, that was two things.) She's a little bit crazy, a little more sweet, and a whole lot of fun. That being said, her character and especially her relationship with Rae needs a lot of work, because I really didn't know what I was doing when I wrote her.

Darryl, Chloe's brother, was a weird one to write. He's an INFJ-- empathetic, intuitive, and relational. He's good at interpreting people-- especially their emotions-- and he notices a lot more than he gets credit for. But do you have any idea how hard it is to write a male INFJ? He's cute, but he honestly doesn't make a ton of sense to me, and he needs a lot of work.

Sophie is Rae's older sister, and a very lovely person, even if Rae doesn't always recognize it. She's an ESFJ. She's a girly girl. She likes boyfriends and make up and little frilly skirts. She doesn't understand Rae at all, and sometimes she gets annoyed at her, but she loves her a lot and tries to be the good sister. I really like her, and I don't think there's too much that needs to change-- other than the fact that she kinda disappeared from the story for about twenty chapters, somewhere in there.

Emma, Rae's little sister, honestly got pushed to back stage while I was writing the first draft, a fact I really regret, now that I've gotten to know her. Since I wasn't planning for her to be very important, I didn't really develop her personality much-- I kinda wrote her to be the stereotypical annoying little sister and the also stereotypical awkward tweenager, and left it at that. But then I ended up really liking her, and-- I wish I'd made her more prominent and consistent. So that's what I'll be doing in the edits.

So-- that might not have been brief. Sorry.

8. What are your plans for this novel once you finish editing? More edits? Finding beta readers? Querying? Self publishing? Hiding in a dark hole forever?

Plans? HA. Who do you think I am?

In theory, I will edit it until I'm not horribly embarrassed by it, then let 2 or 3 or 20 people read it as alpha and beta and gamma readers, then edit it some more and some more and some more and maybe someday it will satisfy me enough that I can go out and see about publishing this thing.

Maybe. Someday. Keywords here.

9. Share a favourite snippet!

I've already shared my favourite snippet, so we'll go with this one, just because it's short.
Micah steps through the gate to the fortress, Chloe close on his heels and Darryl sauntering a few steps behind.
“Hey guys!” says Micah, and the look on his face beyond the smile says, “just wait-- I promise I’m not crazy.”
The problem is, Glenn and I both know that Micah is totally, undeniably, hopelessly crazy. It’s just a matter of what new turn his insanity has taken.
So we smile politely and prepare ourselves for the worst few hours of our lives.

10.  What are your writing goals and plans for 2016?

Again with the plans thing? *nervous grin*

I hope to have the first draft of Shadowwhisper 100% done by Christmas, after which point I will take a break until the New Year. In January, I'll probably focus in on Splitting Atoms rewrites, trying to get that in some semblance of order and distract my brain before taking up Shadowwhisper edits in February. After that I'll probably just go back and forth between the two novels, rewriting and editing whichever I feel in the mood for. April and July I plan to participate in CampNaNoWriMo, and I've got a couple plot bunnies on the brain, plus the Splitting Atoms sequel I've been wanting to write forever. November I hope I'll be able to do NaNoWriMo again.

So that's kinda the idea, but I probably won't stick to it too closely. I'm really bad at sticking to things, as you probably know by now.
Shut up, yes I can.
How did your novel turn out? Does anyone else know how this editing thing works? What lies in store for you and your story, this New Year?


  1. I totally concur with your editing process. ME TOO. Particularly for the "Weeping" and "chocolate" steps because, that is life basically. The only way to survive editing. xD But that is so so awesome you love this novel a lot! I AM SO HAPPY FOR YOU! I often finish novels and absolutely hate them, hehe, so it takes me a few drafts to properly fall in love...except this NaNo I actually really like the dagonish banter I came up with so there's that. :')
    I seriously wish there was a National Novel Editing Month too!! :P
    Thanks for joining in the linkup! And YES there will be Beautiful People link ups for the next months until October again!

    1. I'm going to have to buy a LOT of chocolate in preparation for my edits. xD Eh, yes, I get you. I've written novels which were just such great ideas and I wish I loved them but. I. don't. Yet, anyway. We'll see where rewrites get me. ^.^ But YES to dragonish banter. :D
      Thanks for commenting!

  2. Ah! I love all your characters! They sound like a lot of fun together. I like how you have their personality type for them too. :D

  3. Ooooh, I love all of your pictures for your novel! You should make a collage thingy because it would be so prettyyy. <3

    Editing. Ha. I have no idea how editing even works. I JUST KINDA REPHRASE SENTENCES THE SAME WAY AND HOPE IT WORKS OUT. *collapses* It's so exhausting. I was trying to edit right now actually, but instead I'm reading blog post. Funny how much easier it is to procrastinate on editing than writing. -.^

    1. Thank you! Oooh, that actually sounds like a ton of fun...

      I FEEL YOUR PAIN. I procrastinate soooo much during editing. *sigh*


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