Friday, March 11, 2011

They're just words on a page

There is a point while I'm editing where I lose track of the story, the scene, and I'm staring at words on a page.

I'm there now. I can evaluate sentences, but the effectiveness of scenes are beyond me, and I cannot sort it out in context with the book. So when someone asks, how is the book coming, I truly have no idea. I'm so caught up in the trees, I barely know the forest exists.

I know there was a point where I could read scenes and chapters and point to what was wrong. But that point is not where I'm changing words, and I'm really concerned I can't get back there. Because when you've read a scene four, or five times, it stops making sense within story context.

I always feel like my threshold for this is lower than other writers. That I get to this point faster and get immersed in it easier. I know writers that can edit and edit and love to do this and truly have an amazing impact on the book, while I know after a while, I'm changing words and nothing else.

Other than time away from the book, does anyone have any good tips for editing without losing focus on the story?

11 comments:

Eileen said...

And then even the words start to look funny. Oh, yeah. I know that routine.

Sometimes I force myself to re-outline. I write down each scene as I read. Just a little one sentence thing. It's easier to then go back and ask myself, did this move the plot forward? Was there a goal and an obstacle? Did the scene accomplish what I needed it to accomplish?

It's a total pain in the ass, but it helps me pull away from the comma placement and look at the bigger picture.

Molly O'Keefe said...

SEND IT TO YOUR CRITIQUE PARTNERS WHO ARE DYING TO READ IT!!!!!

Maureen McGowan said...

I agree with both of those suggestions. :)

Stephanie Doyle said...

I'm not a critique partner but I will also get in line to read it!!!

And I know you must all be sick of my Kindle love... but that has been huge for me.

Spend the $139 (US dollars) - load your document and read it.

You can't edit it on the Kindle - but you can tag everything you don't like and make notes to yourself.

It forces you to focus on the reading - less on the actual word choice.

Then once all your notes are made - you can just concentrate on the "trees".

It was a breakthrough for me... because I like you can spend an hour changing the order of a sentence and miss something bigger I should be fixing.

Sinead M said...

Great advice Eileen, I will definitely do that.

And Steph, I need, need, need a kindle. It's hitting my B-day list.

Almost done, except for the ending, I still haven't written that sucker yet...

Eileen said...

I contemplating a Nook instead of a Kindle. You can't check out e-books from the library with the Kindle and you can with the Nook. Although I guess the Nook is a little heavier.

Maureen McGowan said...

Does the Nook have a keyboard, Eileen? I know the Kobo doesn't. Nook's aren't available in Canada because there's no B&N up here. (Whereas Kobo was a joint venture between Indigo up here and Borders. Actually, I think it was more Indigo than Borders...)

When I was choosing I really wanted to buy Canadian (Kobo) plus it comes pre-loaded (up here, anyway) with a TON of free out of copyright classics... but ultimately decided I wanted a keyboard for what Stephanie is describing. I still haven't used it for my own ms (but think I will next time) but I now do most of my critiquing on it. Not sure how my CPs feel about the way I take notes now... They get a chunk of their text for reference, followed by a note from me... but it sure works from my end. I make a short note on kindle just so I know what I was thinking. Then transfer the file to Word and flesh out my thoughts to hopefully make them coherent for others.

Eileen said...

No keyboard on the Nook. :-( Hmm. Clearly there's more thinking to be done here . . .

Girl Friday said...

Hah, I just wrote a post a few days ago exactly like this. And for me, the only answer was to have a few days away from the story to clear my head and come back with fresh eyes. I think it's the best thing.

Another thing is to change the font on the MS. Helps to look at it differently.

Molly O'Keefe said...

A different font!!?? So simple, so genius!!!

Sinead M said...

That is pretty amazing... love that. A few days away makes a big difference.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...