Monday, 30 January 2012

The joys and pains of self-editing

Last week-end, I started self-editing the first draft of the historical romance I completed at Christmas 'The Lion's Embrace'. I can't actually believe I managed to leave it alone for so long. I have spent the last three days 'travelling' between Algiers and Tamanrasset, oblivious to anything and anybody around me.

So what are the joys of self-editing?

First and foremost, it is falling in love with my hero all over again. I know this might sound strange (and probably a little silly). After all, I practically lived with the man for five months - the time it took to complete the first draft. How can I have forgotten about him after a few weeks only?
Then there is the pleasure of reading a description, a piece of dialogue, a phrase even, which I actually find quite good! Being French and writing in English, I often agonise about chosing the right words, avoiding grammatical mistakes or just writing something which 'sounds' English and which a real English person would say. So when I come across a nicely turned out sentence, I feel very happy indeed.
Another joy of self-editing is 'pruning' the text. I find cutting out unecessary words immensely satisfying: adverbs, 'but' 'and', 'suddenly', 'that', dialogue tags, repetitions, punctuation. I have a tendency to use adverbs, they seem to sneak into the text without my noticing. Same thing for exclamation marks!!! and these little things here ...

Now for the pains.

The biggest one of course is to realise that an aspect of the plot doesn't quite work, or that a sub-plot has taken over the main storyline.
Another is to see the hero or heroin act out of character or develop a completely new flaw or quality half way through the story.

I am guilty of all these. Hopefully I will manage to eradicate some of my mistakes and improve the story. 

Here is a bit of news.

My soon to be publisher, Muse it Up Publishing, is holding a competition. There are books to be won!
To enter and have fun, click on the link!

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Broken New Year's Resolutions... already!

I was so determined to get it right this time but I have already broken a few of my resolutions for the New Year and we’re only two weeks into 2012.

My first resolution to be broken, despite my best intentions, was to blog once a week. As always I am full of admiration for of you who manage to write, research and edit your novels, as well as carry on with your ‘day job’ and look after your family, and still find time to write meaningful, entertaining and well researched blog entries. And I am not even mentioning facebook or twitter!  

The second resolution I’ve already thrown out of the window was to be more of a ‘plotter’ and less of a ‘pantser’. To take more time to develop my characters, research background details, settings and storyline and to plan ahead instead of rushing through a story and making it up as I go along. I started a new story a few weeks ago (which sprung into my mind when I spotted a bright pink car at a traffic light whilst driving my son to his rugby practice) and I am steaming ahead as if I had to get it finished and hand it in by the end of the month. The problem is that the plot seems to change on a daily basis, which is becoming exhausting! Even if I don't think I could ever plot a story from beginning to end before even starting writing, I need to remind myself to pause, take the time to think and plan more. 

The last broken New Year’s resolution has got nothing to do with writing and everything to do with not eating chocolate and cakes!

At least I’ve managed to keep to one of my resolutions, which was to be more patient. At the end of December I finished the first draft of my second historical romance – ‘The Lion’s Embrace’ – and resolved to leave it ‘rest’ for a few weeks before tackling the rewriting and editing process. Well, it’s been two weeks and I haven’t gone back to it yet. 

Happy New Year!