I now have less than two weeks to finish editing Daughter of Kings. I’m freaking out. My initial read through took longer than I’d anticipated and I’m running a little short on time so forgive me if this post is a bit short.
Context – the very first line of Daughter of Kings
Related to the date – I fine-tuned this scene this morning
Night cloaked the sprawling temple complex which perched bird-like on the rocky mountainside as Farenel, High Priest of the Raheni and former Prince of Fariel, made his rounds.
Want to read on? You can! I’m sending my manuscript out to beta readers on June 6th. If you’re interested, see this postor shoot me an email (aebrowne.ink[at]gmail.com) for more info
I’ve managed to read 10 books so far this year (11 if you count my almost reader-ready YA fantasy novel), which has me almost up to speed with my goal. Admittedly, I caught up so quickly by sticking to a genre which I can devour when I’m in the right mood – YA, specifically fantasy, magical realism and/or distopia.
(Latest books are in bold)
The Raven Boys | Maggie Stiefvater
The Queen’s Choice | Cayla Kluver
The Captive Prince | C. S. Pacat
The Many Coloured Land | Christopher Koch
The Architect’s Apprentice | Elif Shafak
Sasha | Joel Shepherd
The Dream Thieves | Maggie Stiefvater
Blue Lily, Lily Blue | Maggie Stiefvater
All Our Yesterdays | Cristin Terrill
Me Before You | Jojo Moyes
Currently reading: The Secret History | Donna Tartt
How are your reading goals going? Have you read any of these books?
In less than two weeks, I’ll be sending the manuscript of my Young Adult Fantasy novel to beta readers. That means I have under two weeks to finish my edits.
So, I thought this would be the time to talk about some of the things I’ve learned during the editing process.
You really don’t need dodgy adjectives or pesky adverbs. Like, ever.
It has been said a hundred times before, and will be said a hundred times again, by writers much better than myself, but the truth of the matter is at least half of the adverbs and adjectives in your manuscript are redundant. I was reluctant at first to cut them. I had this idea that modern writing was bone dry and ridiculous, that the omission of adjectives and adverbs did nothing but over simplify the text. In an act of rebellion I dumped so many adjectives and adverbs in my first attempts that the reader could barely discern the meanings. It was bad, really bad. In fact, it was terrible. Although cutting as many adjectives and adverbs as I could lowered my overall word count by nearly two thousand, it has made the rest of the manuscript run a lot smoother. That said, there are times where adjectives and adverbs are necessary and do add something to the writing. Just make sure that you use them wisely.
If you think its fine, you’re probably wrong.
All work needs editing. Even if you think it’s perfect, I can promise you it won’t be. But don’t be disheartened because editing can fix even the most atrocious of problems. As I have admitted before, I am floundering in the deep when it comes to working out my editing process but I had to start somewhere and I am good at editing others people’s work so for once, I took my own advice. I always tell my students to read what they have written out loud, as stupid as it may feel. This is super important when it comes to dialogue because it helps to a) make sure it flows well and b) ensure each character’s voice is distinctive. I also have to force myself to look at my work objectively, distancing myself from the characters and places and events that sprang from my mind and treating them as critically as possible. If you cannot be objective towards your own work, you will never edit it well enough. That said, beta readers come in handy for those parts you just can’t make yourself cut.
Don’t try to tackle the beast, learn how to tame it.
Before you are start editing a huge work, read first. Read every blog article and advice column you can get your hands on. Read what worked for others and what didn’t. Practice on shorter pieces, essays and short stories. Practice on someone else’s novel because it is always easier to critique someone else’s work. Make sure though that you note your processes, so that when you are ready to tackle your own work, you know what you do and what you look for.
At the end of the day, you know best.
When it comes down to it, you as the writer know what is best for your story, and if there is something that you’ve been told to cut but cutting it affects a hundred tiny things further down the track then keep that part in but check it. Make sure it flows, that the characters motivations are believable here, that the reader’s interest is maintained. You may have to take the section apart and put it back together again in myriad different ways until the puzzle pieces fit.
It is a constant learning process.
Editing, like all things, is a constant learning process. You will never know everything, you will never catch every typo or notice every weird turn of phrase but that is okay. There is no right or wrong way to edit. You must find a method that works for you and stick to it. Most importantly of all, find someone who you can trust to tell you the truth and who is willing to read your work and ask them to edit it for you. A second, or third, or fourth perspective is invaluable. It’s these readers who will pick up the bits you missed.
It isn’t always easy but, in the long run, it is always rewarding.
This week, I kept my ROW80 goals nice and simple. They were:
Do initial read through of Daughter of Kings – Almost there, only 9 chapters to go. Reading through the print out, reading the scenes in order, has made it so much clearer where the work needs to be done and which scenes still need a lot of work. It is now only two weeks until I send it out to beta readers and I’m super excited.
Submit a job application – Done, as of this afternoon.
Work out what I actually want to study at the grad level – I’ve made a decision though I’m not sure it’s what I want. Actually, I know it’s not what I want but I need to be practical. The practical, sensible, real world decisions in life are why I read and write fantasy in the first place…
Next week, the plan is to:
Finish initial read through of Daughter of Kings
Get about 3/4 way through close read of Daughter of Kings
Find more jobs to apply for
Choose a TEFL course to enroll in
Question time: have you had to choose between your head and your heart? Which did you choose?
After work on Saturday, I made pilgrimage to the Holy City of Printing, Officeworks, and sacrificed $48 dollars to the Paper God to have my manuscript printed.
I’m pretty sure I clutched it to my chest all the way home, giddier than a red-cordial powered child about to go on a roller coaster.
And then I got home and promptly buried the tome under a pile of clothes and proceeded to ignore it for three days. Because having an entire novel that you wrote in print, even if it’s one Officeworks produced copy, is terrifying.
Which, tbh, is probably not the most constructive way to enter into the next phase of the editing process. By Monday night, I was sufficiently recovered to actually start reading. My plan was to do one read through sans edits before I armed myself with sticky tabs and a rainbow of markers. This plan has so far met with moderate success.
The exciting part of the read through, though, is that I am enjoying reading it. And to all my beta readers*, I hope you do too.
As the above instagram post suggests, I am still looking for beta readers. Shoot me an email if you’re interested.
We’re keeping it short today because I’ve a lot of editing to do. My work (actual work, that pays and everything) schedule has seriously amped up and I can count the days I’m not working between now and the 6th of June on one hand. I don’t even need the thumb.
WIPpet Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by the wonderful Emily Witt. She’s just published her book and is generally just awesome. Check her out.
Excerpt from Daughter of Kings, page 90 (18 x 5).
Leaning against the knotted trunk of the willow, Kara stifled a laugh. She looked down at Anjez, who was seated among the roots. The dappled sunlight wove shifting patterns on his closely cropped hair.
Still looking for more beta readers – if you’re interested, follow this link.
So this post is a little late but that is because this weekend was Eurovision. If you know me, you’ll know how obsessed I am with the glittery, spandexy, fire show that is Europe’s answer to avoiding conflict. Seriously.
Therefore, I was little distracted and didn’t have a chance to post my ROW80 update til now.
There were my goals for the week:
Make sure all necessary scenes are written in DoK and decide whether or not to cut some – Did this
Work out at least three times this week – Nope. I did a lot of walking but that’s about it.
Plan out scenes for some of the my others WIPs so that when I’m finished with DoK, I have something to move on with
Submit a grad application
Submit at least one job application
Keep up my writing momentum
Find more betas for Daughter of Kings –but this is where you can help! Follow this link for details
Despite appearances, I did get a lot done on Daughter of Kings and have a printed, real, actually physical copy to edit.😀
Ok, so this week:
Do initial read through of Daughter of Kings
Submit a job application
Work out what I actually want to study at the grad level
How did your goals go? Do you find that sometimes you’ll be super productive but your achievements don’t line up with the goals you set?
And most importantly, which was your favourite Eurovision performance?