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!

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