Last week taught me a couple of things. First, editing for myself requires so much more discipline than when I did it for clients 😬. And second, I need to take a serious look at my daily work schedule.
Review 26th May – 1st June 2022
Here’s what last week’s goal looked like:
- Say What You Mean (SWYM) edit for Act III of Running the Asset
(See last week’s post for what Say What You Mean edit means.)
First Lesson: Discipline
I started the week ready to do exactly as I’d planned. Check through Act III for any extraneous bits of story and add in anything that’s missing. Basically, solidify the structure.
Luckily, the overall structure, from a top-down view, is solid. On the other hand, the scenes need some reinforcement and some weeding. Although I write with highly detailed outlines, I sometimes forget bits and fail to put them in, end up following a thread of thought that doesn’t do anything for the scene, or repeat something later in the scene. Those are the things I had aimed to deal with in this editing pass.
That wasn’t how it went. I ended up doing copy editing while I checked each scene for its structural integrity. It might not sound like a bad thing, but it is; believe me, I convinced myself that I was saving soooo much time. Plus, these were technical scenes (fights, chases, sexy times), and it seemed even more critical to get the words right early in the edits.
[Copy editing is fixing spelling and grammar, catching inconsistencies, fact-checking, and improving word choice. It’s the edit before a manuscript goes to a proofreader (the final check).]
No. It’s one of the most ridiculous ways to do an edit. And, I know better than to do it this way! There are multiple passes for character, emotion, description, and tone that have to happen before the copy edit. If you’re wondering why the copy edit comes after all those other passes, it’s because those other passes will alter the text, and a lot of what I’ve changed will probably never make it past the first few passes.
Even with the early heavy editing mistake, I did manage to complete the first pass in the SWYM edit (structure) for Act III! 😁
The valuable lesson I learned from last week is that I need to discipline myself to focus on one pass at a time.
Second Lesson: Schedule
During the last month of writing, writing was pretty much all I did–aside from my update and Things in Scots posts. It was great, but I fell behind on staying up-to-date with your comments–sorry, blogs I read, actual reading, and my marketing plans.
I’d thought that once I started on the edits, things would fall back into place on their own. They didn’t. I spent all of my allotted work hours on editing and had little to no time left to deal with the business side of writing (like getting my newsletter sent out 😬 without resorting to stealing downtime to do it) or anything else, really.
Instead of saying, yip, I’ll make sure I set time aside, blah, blah, blah, I did something about it. I sat down this morning and came up with a timetable like the ones from high school, complete with breaks. Now, I’m not going to lie to myself that I’ll stick to it, that’s not always possible, but it’s there as a guide.
This Week’s Goal
- SWYM edit (structure) Act IIB
This one will be tough as Act IIB is ten to fifteen thousand words too long. More specifically, nine out of eighteen scenes are double the length they should be.
I’m hoping that it’s a simple case of repeating myself or even stray text that doesn’t fit the scene or the story. If it’s the case that I’ve overwritten, then that could take a lot longer than one week to deal with.
In honour of one of my lessons and the fact it’s one of my favourite songs by my favourite band, here’s some Discipline by Nine Inch Nails
That’s it for today. Thanks for stopping by, and take care.
PS Remember to sign up for my newsletter to gain early access to cover reveals, Things in Scots snippets that are too hot for the site, and more.
17 thoughts on “Author Journal 2nd – 8th June 2022”
I am having trouble finding an outline that I can work with. Do you have any suggestions? What do you use when you write? An outline; a mindmap; index cards?
Just a little help for a newbie?
Thanks for stopping by, Pamela!
Outlining is a colossal field; I studied and read extensively for years to find what worked for me. So, believe me when I say I know your struggle.
When I’m learning something, I need examples—lots of them. And I also prefer leaning on my screenwriting knowledge. (I’d ignored that last part for too long, which caused a lot of time-wasting.)
If you, too, like to learn by seeing examples of the methods in practice, I highly recommend reading H. R. D’Costa’s books (I write about her books often, search her name in the search bar in the sidebar). She has many in-depth and advanced books on structure, but she does have a more newbie-friendly structure book called Structure for the Win. You can find it on her site: http://scribemeetsworld.com/win/
As for what I use while I write… I have incredibly detailed outlines on what I call scene sheets (https://susantbraithwaite.com/2022/02/16/author-journal-17th-23rd-february-2022/). I work from these as I write, but I often plug all the details into my Scrivener file for the book.
I hope that helps. If you’ve got any more questions, don’t hesitate to ask–I love talking story structure!
I hope you find HRD’s books as helpful as I have. Good luck with your outlining,
Thank you so much. I have Schriever as well. This helps. I like to see examples. I appreciate a writer who is willing to help those of us new to the art.
You’re very welcome! I’m more than happy to help. I recall how difficult it was to find the answers, and if I can save someone time in their search, I’m happy to do so. Keep on writing! 🤗
I can still not even think how you find time to do what you have to do! Take care of youself too! All of the best for the next week!
Thanks, Aletta! I think a lot of my productivity comes down to Jez helping out and not letting me slack off. I’ve scheduled in some time each day to take regular breaks so I don’t burn out. 💖
That’s great! ☺️💐
I just faint at the number of words when you mention them Susan. It sounds ever so daunting but hey, you’re onto it so you go girl x
Thank you, Brian! Yeah, the numbers are a wee bit scary. But, it’ll be all the better for it when it’s done 🤞 😁
You’ll get there. It just might take a little longer, Susan!
The idea of making a timetable made me smile (sorry) but it reminded me of the number of ‘revised revision timetables’ I used to make when I was studying.
Thanks, Chris! You were a better student than I was. I had the revised revised revised revision timetable that never ever worked. 🤣
That’s only four, I’m sure I had more! 🙂
Wow, Susan – you got a ton of work done, and you learned those lessons, too!
I’m glad that you found a way to move forward with all the work. I’m sure it’s challenging to edit your own book.
Thanks for sharing some Discipline by NIN. God how I am missing music like that! I even listened although I’m in the hospital and have no headsets.
The issue with edting your own stuff is that you know it so well. And there’s the temptation to fix everything at once…
I’m sure the staff and patients didn’t mind 😂 it’s NIN. I’ve been listening to NIN and Slipknot non-stop lately, I’ll have to send you my playlist 🤗 (for when you’re out of the hospital.) Wishing you a speedy recovery 💖
I think I’ll need such a playlist, once I come out. 💗