The problem is, I've got this lump of 50,024 words with plot conflicts, unfinished scenes, awkward dialogue, and lots places where it's nothing more than a steaming pile. I need a plan. Last year I started editing, but didn't finish. I ran out of steam almost immediately. Probably because I jumped in, feet first, at word number 1, with out a plan. This year I am working on a strategy. And I have done a little research on the editing process. And this is what I've got so far:
- Smooth out the plot. I want to get a good handle on my story line and make sure it all makes sense before I start tweaking the prose. I don't know what's going to stay and what's going to go right now. So, there's no point to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
- Once the plot has been thoroughly hammered out, I'll move onto filling in the unfinished scenes. I jumped around a lot writing this scene, then starting that one during NaNoWriMo. Now I will fill in all those pot holes to create one contiguous rough draft.
- This step will make that draft less rough. With a coherent and fleshed out story, I can now work on sculpting the story into something more elegant and artful. Here, I'll go line by line wordsmithing the draft into a novel. Hopefully it will be a novel that someone, somewhere out there, will actually want to read. (Cue the music from "An American Tail")
- Wash, rinse, and repeat step 3 over and over and over again. There is always room for improvement.
- When I think it's ready...hand it off to someone and have them critique it. I'm already ahead of the game on this one. I joined a local writing/critique group. So, when I've edited the living daylights out of my manuscript, I hope that group can help me get it ready for a possible shot at publishing.
During my planning process I found these websites to be helpful in creating an editing road map:
- http://www.nanowrimo.org/nowwhat - NaNoWriMo's I wrote a novel, now what? Page
- http://tinyurl.com/yavn5pt - Editing Tips for the Aspiring Writer
- http://tinyurl.com/yemtwyp - A veritable plethora of links to editing tips
- http://tinyurl.com/yhq4nxl - Basic tips for editing your novel
With all the time afforded me with NaNoWriMo now over, I'll be posting much more frequently. I leave for vacation in NYC tomorrow. And since it isn't a backwater town, I'm sure I will have internet access. So, check back soon for my vacations posts about my writing spot of the day and to see if I stick to my editing plan.