National Novel Editing Month update, week 3

March 21, 2011

Total time logged so far: 32 hours, 14 minutes

I’ll have to put in quite a bit of time this coming weekend to get to fifty, but I really do think that I can make it. Since I last updated, I have…

finished the critters crit that I started last weekend, sent it in – and got a very nice thank-you note from the author for my feedback!
Finished proof-reading and spell-checking ‘The Angel’s Charlie’ – and grammar-checked it as well.
Participated in the ‘Hone your skills’ blogfest – yes, I counted the time I spent reviewing and sending feedback to other blogfesters as Edmo time, for the same reason as doing any other critiques, and I still didn’t have time to read everybody’s work, because of all the Wizard World craziness.
Began doing basic spell-checking, proof-reading, and grammar checking on a Roswell raggedy edge fanfic I finished last year, “Roswell Calling” – I’ve finished the spell-checking up to part 3 of 18, while the other stages are lagging a bit behind that point.
And I spent a lot more time reviewing notes for “The Long Way Home” and coming up with my own thoughts about what still needs editing in that manuscript.

Grammar checking with Microsoft Word is a process that I have to be careful with, I think, because while the automated tests can sometimes flag truly atrocious sentences that I never seem to notice when I’m reading the manuscript myself, and that sometimes slip by other readers – if I follow all of the suggestions about avoiding fragments and so on, I definitely I lose some of the unique voices of the characters. At some points I actually found myself growling ‘That’s voice!’ to the laptop while clicking on the ‘Ignore this rule violation’ button.

I’m not quite sure where to go next with “The Long Way Home” at this point… I might try to just pick something from the list that I’ve made that would be a fairly substantial rewrite of a scene or multiple scenes, and just start writing, in the hopes that I can get in touch with my creative side again, because my Inner Editor is all over the place and doesn’t seem to have a regimented plan for whipping the manuscript into shape. (Not that it’s in such terrible shape at the moment, but I know that it can be better, though I’m unsure about how to get there.)

One thing that was oddly fun about writing my Long-way-home list of things to fix, was getting into the possibility of powering-down my heroine’s magik arsenal, since it stands to reason that if things generally go too smoothly for your hero, taking away some of their resources or abilities and seeing them flounder a little and have to be clever about doing more with less sounds like a good tack to take. It works quite well in the Robert Asprin Myth-adventures series, actually, where for most of the books the Great Magician Skeeve has really only a few basic tricks down pat – but they’re also reasonably versatile tricks, and he’s smart about using them in fresh new ways.

Wish me luck for the final ten days of EdMo.


Trying to tie up plot holes?

December 29, 2010

I’ve been working since October (but not during Nano,) to complete a basic first-pass edit of one of my Roswell fanfiction stories, ‘Runaway with me.’ It’s fairly basic stuff – some spelling and grammar checking, basic proofreading, changing phrasing here and there for better phrasing – and also just keeping track of places where the need for more in-depth changes seems glaringly obvious to me. In those spots, I tend to put a very terse note to myself in [square brackets] and just move on. For instance. [Review this for consistency with chapter 17 later.]

I’m noticing a lot of places where I’m needing to put in square brackets, partly because the story was one that I didn’t plan out too much beyond a vague notion of where I wanted some of the plot beats to be going, (Organic Linear Plotting, they call that,) and maybe because it was one of the projects that I would work on for a little and then leave alone for weeks or months at a time.

Among some of the issues that I remember flagging are:

– I’ve included references to later aspects of the mythology of the tv show, such as the Granilith, dream archetypes, and even the Destiny book, that are almost entirely contradicted by the ending that I ended up tagging onto the story.

– Since I couldn’t figure out a good ending to a chase scene at a time, I ended up skipping ahead, describing the aftermath as Max and Liz return to Roswell, and have them figuring out what happened bit by bit, piecing clues together. Unfortunately, not all of the clues mesh perfectly, and there’s at least one place where a particular character, who would know the entire story, keeps procrastinating on filling in the blanks for the other characters, until I forgot that she knows things that she still hasn’t told them, and doesn’t mention it again.

– Somebody spills a drink, and the fact that the broken glass appears unbroken later on is a plot clue – but I described the original spill without mentioning the glass getting broken.

– For some reason, when describing a characters homework, I appear to have made up a poet named Willis Chesterley. Not a horrible thing, but I’d like to find a real poet that fits the reference I think.

– The fact that one character has had her appearance shifted to resemble somebody else, and I think that I have the same characters suspecting this two or three different times without any mention that it’s a thought that’s occurred to them before.

It’s a story that I do really like parts of, but hopefully I’ll be able to figure out a way to sort out a few of the small issues like these without causing other problems or being forced to cut out the parts that I like.


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