In Which I Edit My Manuscript | Chapter 3

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Pretty much me when I edit.

My very good reason for why I haven’t been editing for the past month? It turns out that it is very scary to edit a novel. I edited my novel’s prologue and first chapter consecutive weeks. I can’t wait to get back on that schedule because that’s totally going to happen.

And yes, I know that this is Chapter THREE’s edits, and the last chapter I posted was Chapter ONE. I numbered my novel’s chapters weirdly as I was writing it (it’s a long story), and so if it’s all weird, like this one is, don’t be frightened.

I guess I could excuse myself by saying that I had an idea for how to improve my novel and make it better, which is why I haven’t been LiveBlogging my edits as much as I used to at all.

I’ve also recently started writing a new novel, which I have found really enjoyable–thankfully I’ve gotten past the scary, scary first pages, and I’m on to the nice road to a happy novel. It’s young adult realistic fiction.

Why have you not heard of this?

Partially because I have been MIA for the past fortnight (no blog posts for two weeks is pretty rare for me; I’ve been trying to blog every week).

So, that’s all of my update for now.

Chapter 3 is pretty short, at least compared to Chapter 1, which was like a tsunami.

So, without further ado, here’s my lovely advice for you!

The CyberWorld, Chapter 3

  • Okay, first off, make sure your characters actually, uh, GO somewhere. Like, don’t let them mysteriously disappear halfway through the novel. It’s a lot of work getting them out.
  • Make sure everything you write is pretty much vital to the plot or relief from the tension. Other than that, your readers are going to wonder what just hit them, and WHY it hit them.
  • “Wide awake, I felt like jumping off the walls… ‘Sarah. Seriously!? Jumping off the walls is NOT a good idea! You could hurt yourself!'” Don’t fill your book up with boring dialogue. Honestly, this is probably something I wrote at 1 AM. It’s not vital to the plot, or to the character who’s talking about it, because she disappears later. Also, “jumping off the walls,” is a figure of speech, which has just been ruined by this lovely part right here. (Honestly, what was I thinking?!)
  • Which brings me to my next tip: Exclamation points. Are. Holy. First of all, they’re very annoying. I’ve been told numerous times by writing teachers during creative writing units, as well as published authors (no, I haven’t talked to any, I’ve read their blogs), that exclamation points are like the Holy Grail. One in ten pages is really more than enough. Three in less than a paragraph is a really bad idea, unless your character loves to shout or something.
  • “I was just pressing the wake-up button…” You’d really never know that the character here was powering up a computer. I mean, how many people call the power button “the wake-up button”? She knows what it’s called. Yet another piece of bad writing. I rest my case.
  • FLASHBACKS!!! Yes, I know, I just said that exclamation points are like the Holy Grail, but if they are the Holy Grail, flashbacks ARE the thing holier than the Holy Grail. These have to be carefully done and well-planned; if they’re too long and too boring and unimportant, they can jerk the reader out of the story and not let them settle back in. They become an annoyance if not done properly.
  • “However hard I tried, I just sounded like a scared child.” SHOW, DON’T TELL. Yes, another Very Important Thing. Showing and not telling is what makes a book great. It’s what makes it interesting, and frankly, fun to read. So do me a favor, and show, don’t tell.
  • Let the writing keep up the tone of the book. Um, yeah. I know this is kind of redundant, but you wouldn’t believe the amount of times this has shown up in my writing, just today. My book’s tone is a little bit dark, so, “The last thing I heard was the boom of a lock,” would have been the perfect ending for my chapter. Unfortunately, I had to add two lines at the end: ” ‘Fun guy, huh?’ Katherine asked perkily. / I snorted. ‘Tell me about it.’ ” Those. Will. Definitely. Be. Going.
  • And here’s your reward for reading: your funny-but-oh-so-true GIF (well, today it’s an image, but, you know) of the day!

 

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My novel. :’)

So that’s pretty much it. Compared to my other posts about my edits, this has been a pretty short one; the bulk of it was just explaining WHERE I’VE BEEN for the past two weeks.

I hope you enjoyed what you’ve read, but really: IF SOMEONE EVER OFFERS TO EDIT YOUR NOVEL FOR YOU. TAKE THAT OPPORTUNITY.

Not Being Able to Wait for My Beta Readers,

– S

InkOutLoud inspired me to share with you the ups and downs of editing my manuscript, through her LiveBlog: In Which I Edit My Manuscript series.

 

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12 responses to “In Which I Edit My Manuscript | Chapter 3

  1. “Exclmation points are the holy grail”

    I’ve heard that one too–but I rarely follow that rule in any informal writing. Lol! (see?) I’m editing my WIP too and it’s a very scary process. At the same time, I’ve learned a lot about myself too. 🙂

    • Yup–I try to stick to that rule in my ACTUAL writing, but for blogging/comments/social media stuff/anything other than actually writing, I really do not care. 😛
      You bet! Editing’s one of the very few scary things I’ve run into in my writing. It’s right up there with Writer’s Block *cue shudder* and First Page Syndrome (my nickname for my fear of first pages :P) *cue shudder again*.
      I’ve definitely learned a ton of great stuff about myself, just from my read-throughs. I’m hoping that this experience will help me mature as a person, as well as a writer.
      – Sabrina

  2. this was so cute! :))
    I like the way you share your progress and give tips.
    I’m glad I read your post! There are a few things I need to work on on my WIP. The torture:((

    • Thank you, Karla!
      I actually LiveBlog my edits because of all of the support that I get in the comments, as well as the likes I get. Editing’s really tough for me, because this is my very first time, so the community support really makes me want to keep editing. 🙂
      I’m glad you were able to take something away from all of this! 😀 That made my day. Of course, nothing’s set in stone, they’re just tips. 🙂
      I know exactly how you feel! WIPs can get really annoying at times!
      – Sabrina

  3. Pingback: What’s Up Wednesday | Featuring Books, Writing, Inspiration, and Other Random Things | Books and Bark·

  4. ARGH! Showing vs Telling is so hard for me to do. Then again, I can easily find the ‘telling’ in books I attempt to read (actual, published books you can get from your library or bookstore) and it DRIVES ME NUTS!!!!!! (as do excessive exclamation points, ha.) Flashbacks aren’t too bad if done well and if they are short. However, who really wants to read five pages of italics in the middle of a good story? Thanks for reminding us all what good writing entails. Now, we just have to do it. Also, the word ‘that’ and ‘just’ are my two nemesis’. Nemisi? Sigh…

    • Really? I think you did an excellent job of showing and not telling just in this comment itself. You expressed your frustration on editing without outrightly stating, “Editing frustrates me.”
      Excessive exclamation points belong in my text messages to my writing buddies when I get a good idea–definitely NOT in the center of a novel. I used to suffer from flashback-itis, and looking back, I have tons of flashbacks that don’t need to be there and that aren’t driving the story. So lesson learned: Doing flashbacks? Do them right.
      Aww, thank you! This is just a nice little reminder for myself (it’s interesting to see the writing process from two opposing ends, and it’s always nice to not have to edit much).
      Oh. Yes. I’d forgotten the having-to-do-it part.
      “Just” is absolutely awful. I’m currently struggling with that, as well as the words, “honestly” and “like”… Teenage girl characters, you know?
      And now back to more editing…

      • I do editing/proofreading of other people’s texts for a living and I like it; but I absolutely hate editing what I’ve written myself. I try to write it right on the first attempt…

        • I try to do it right on the first attempt as well, but alas, I’m a teenager and I don’t think I have the focus to do it right. Plus I keep getting new ideas for the plot, so by the end, it is a mashed up mess 😛

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