tales from the editing cave

Y’all, sometimes editing is an easy thing, basically shooting rainbow ideas through your fingers to create this perfect masterpiece.

source: reddit.com

Other times?

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You get a late start and all you really want is a couch fort and Harry Potter marathon, but you need to get some work done, so this is how it goes:

Step 1: Sit down at desk, turn on Harry Potter soundtrack music, and immediately stand up. No. This isn’t going to work at all.

Step 2: Turn off social media and maximize word processor. Type a few things you immediately delete. Okaaaay?

Step 3: Light a candle and make some tea. This feels better, but something’s still off.

Step 4: Change pants and dig old editing playlist from the depths of your computer.

Step 5: Move laptop to an alternate location. There. All is right in the world.

Step 6: Edit approximately 5 pages before you wake up realizing you’ve added 20 pages of “rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr….” to your document.

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{ scenes from the cave, in all of my unedited glory }

Editing your own work is a little like trying to reassemble a shredded USA map and fit all the edges together when you’ve known all your life that Texas goes under Oklahoma. But then a brilliant, lovely editor (Hi, Victoria!) shows you it may also fit off of Alaska and make America prettier, more symmetrical.
So you see your work in a new way you love, but you basically also have to keep Oklahoma from falling into the earth’s core.

With the hope and knowledge that, piece by piece, there will be an ending and it will be magnificent, my job is to show up and give my best, whether it’s five pages or 50 that day.

And, as nerdy as it sounds, I love going to work. On the whole, it’s really, really fun 🙂

the friday {NON} mixing bowl

For the next few weeks, my life will not be a mixing bowl.

It will look exactly like this.

Post-It Notes, all the pens, edits that have color categories,
plus a whole lotta caffeine and Jesus.  <3

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And this is a mild spread!

I’m so excited about this project and can’t wait to hit send.
There are lots of adventures to update you about.

What’s new in your neck of the woods?

a quiz: what does one do after pressing send?

Yesterday I pressed send on a project I’ve been working on for a little while. So, what glamorous thing does an aspiring author do to commemorate such an occasion?

a) Steal a celebratory burger date with your spouse before he/she leaves on a business trip

b) Eat fundraiser chocolate

c) Scrub some dishes that have been waiting in your sink too long because of said project

d) Change a diaper

e) Wonder what to do with your life once the kids are in bed and you’d usually be working on it

f) Give yourself one night and then get back to work because you love it too much to stay away

g) All of the above, internally partying like the boss that you are for pressing send

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The correct answer is G. This little slice of the web is all about celebration — the big things and little things.

I love the juxtaposition of pressing send or getting the call or writing the end in the middle of messy, glorious real life. It’s pretty much my favorite.

What are you celebrating right now? What’s the most glamorous thing you’ve done after a major writing milestone?

Party on, my friends!

 

{foodie friday} a writing update + a quick weeknight recipe

I am almost finished with edits on book 2. Maybe this weekend? It’s taking longer than planned because 1) work has ramped up lately (thank the Lord) and 2) according to my latest tally, I have added 11,000 words since my first draft! Hooray!

And I’m encouraged because my critique partner didn’t show me huge chunks to delete this time 🙂

Can I just tell you how amazing my critique partners are? There have been a lot of blog posts circulating about the importance of a writing community. I love and appreciate the people on my team. Can’t thank God enough for working things the way He did. I need to write about it. I need to write about a lot of things! With these edits under my belt, you can expect to see a lot more of me around here. I have lots to share.

Before I go, I’m going to share a delicious dinner recipe for you to make this week. After all, it is…

foodie friday

 

Last night, I made RealSimple’s Roasted Tomatoes with Feta and Shrimp for the second time.

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It was relatively easy and quick to make with bright lemon, sweet roasted tomatoes, tangy feta cheese, and juicy shrimp. I subbed basil for the parsley, and it was just as divine as the first time I made it. The ingredients were fresh, which I think was key! Okay, so maybe I ran to the grocery store last-minute to whip up something for dinner. But it must have been delicious or my toddler wouldn’t have done this:

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My recommendations: on the last step, don’t leave it in the oven quite as long so the shrimp don’t get overcooked. Remove it from the heat with the shrimp get pink and curl into a C shape. Oh, and you’re going to want to make sure you have lots of crusty bread for serving. You will want to sop up the scrumptious juices on the bottom of your baking dish. Trust me.

As always, enjoy with someone you love!

Are you a seafood fan? Did you try any new recipes this week?

writing the end, sickies, and sandcastles: february goals

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I reached my January goal of finishing my latest manuscript’s first draft! Hooray! My goal was to make it to 72K with the knowledge that I still needed a few scenes to fill in some gaps, and I usually add about 10K of “muscle” in later drafts anyway. I made it to 74K!

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So for the first few days of February, I’ve been taking it easy. Allowing myself to unwind so I can approach editing with fresh eyes. After I finish this post, I’m going to spend the rest of naptime diving into edits.

My top priority today has been taking care of this little sickie (pictured here with her tenderhearted giant guard dog).

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And helping me make this all happen is this treat:

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Major props to Whole Foods for carrying my favorite brand of chai in the world! Everything’s better in this magical, magical land. I found out it was going to snow (again) and ran to the store on my way home from the gym. Normally, I’m armed with a meal plan and grocery list, so this was a new experience for me. But never fear, I came out with three cases of LaCroix, some thai soup, chicken, naan, and this chai. Weirdest snow grocery haul ever!

Okay, focus, Laurie. Didn’t this post have a point?

My goals in January were to finish the remaining 25K of my draft and translate the remaining 30K of my book that was still in first person. Done!

In February, I’ll be focusing on:

  • Completing the second draft to send to critique partners.
  • Writing my proposal for this book–well, to be more specific, my synopsis. (Ugh.)
  • Being more consistent with blogging.

What are your goals for this month? Don’t mind me. I’ll just be building sandcastles 🙂

shannonhale

the many wonders and woes of self-editing

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The name of my game has been editing lately. We’re talking long nights, sacrificed sleep, crossed eyes. The whole, glorious lot.

I’m not talking about editing others’ work. That’s a breeze. A breath of fresh air. A completely different ballgame. I’m talking about self-editing the same lines I’ve read over and over again, forcing myself to look at them with fresh insight, from an unbiased lens.

If it sounds intense to you that’s because it is. I’m trying to teach myself discipline, and in the process, I’ve given myself a tiny taste of what it’s like to be on deadline. {Someday I’ll look back on this post and laugh…}

The good news is, while I’ve worked on this kind of schedule before, I’ve never had this kind of happiness and fulfillment. This is fun as a whole. But like most things, it has its stages…

Optimism
Checklist. Check.
Red pen. Check.
Throwing my bias out the window … Check?

Disbelief
Maybe the second chapter would be a better first chapter. (Cringe.) Axed.
I’m never pantsing a story again. Ever.
Will I have anything left by the time I’m finished with this?
Is this really as good as it sounds in my mind?

Happiness
I wrote that? That’s actually kind of funny!
Epiphany! That’s just what this scene needed.
These characters can do no wrong!

Delirium
Is this screen moving? Are these letters supposed to look purple?
*Face-first in the keyboard* How long have I been asleep?
What did I change while I was asleep!?

Finality
I have a lot to be proud of with this manuscript.
There’s nothing more I can do to it this round. (Famous last words)
After some serious prayer, I’m ready to press send.

Look at these like ingredients in a recipe. It isn’t like baking cookies where, when you combine the proper proportions of butter, sugar, and flour, it’s predictably fool-proof. You blend these ingredients together and repeat, never sure what you’ll get and when you’ll get it.

If you’re not a writer, you might not understand why someone would choose to do this willingly. But if you’re an author, you get it. Because hopefully at the end, this manuscript medicine has delivered that Finality, a polished product you should be proud of.

Go ahead and make the cookies too. You deserve it.

Here are some helpful resources I wish I’d found much earlier in the process:

This editing checklist from the Writer’s Cafe. It’s pretty extensive!

Read>Play>Edit: The blog of writer and developmental editor Jamie Clarke Chavez. She’s worked with some of my favorite writers and really knows her stuff. Her blog shares this sage advice and makes me realize how much I have to learn!

Pretty much everything YA author Janice Hardy tweets. I have so many bookmarks of articles she’s shared. Her blog also looks really informative with a great content map in the left sidebar. But to be honest, it’s still on my list of things to check out when I can give it the full attention it deserves.

Professional editor Amanda Bumgarner’s blog. I used to work with Amanda, and she has a lot of great insights and grammar tips to offer. I’m excited that she’s recently taken her editing show on the wild and crazy road of freelancing.

What are your tried and true ingredients and resources for editing survival?