I know this goes against the age-old adage not to edit your book as you write, but to keep going until you’re finished and THEN edit but… I totally don’t do that.
Normally, I write the first 3/4 of the book and then go back, edit and take notes on what I’ve got so that I can see what subplots need tied up and what characters I lost in the narrative. Once I reach my stopping point, I have a clear view of what the ending needs to be and move on from there.
Then I have a third draft, which gives me the word count and helps me write the synopsis alongside it.
But I broke my own rules with The Melody of Bones and this newest approach seems to work even better. Before I explain, I should leave a disclaimer that I have a wonderful husband who works and allows me a great deal more time to write than some, so this might not work for you if you can’t block out large periods of time for writing.
He also spoiled me with a super-awesome laptop that has a pen-function so I can take notes directly on the screen instead of constantly printing things out. So keep that in mind too.
Currently I have 3 drafts going on the same novel, all at once.
I got to the 3/4 mark and started my major revision, using the ‘track changes’ portion of my word program so I could go through and review what was going on. At the beginning of my writing time, I track those changes, accepting them and permanently inserting it into the novel, for about three chapters.
This reminds me of what I’ve changed.
After I’ve done at least three chapters – sometimes more, depending on what other work needs doing that day – I start writing the new stuff. I aim for 1500 new words a day, inching my way through that last quarter of the novel.
This is normally where all the BIG action is, and it always takes me a long time to write, which tends to be depressing for a writer. We don’t like it when we feel like we’re slogging through the swamp of sadness.
Which is why, at the end of the day, I take that neat pen/tablet mode and start from the beginning of the novel, highlighting typos and sentences that feel off. These bits will be fixed when I do my 4th draft.
Another recent change I’ve made is that I am writing the synopsis at the same time as the novel. I work on it once a week (on Tuesdays) so that by the time the 4th draft is completed, I should have something palatable for agents/editors.
The synopsis is the great nemesis of the novelist, after all. I’m never quite sure if I’ve nailed it.
See what my fellow authors do to polish their work…
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Connie Vines http://mizging.blogspot.com/
Anne Stenhouse http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com/
A.J. Maguire https://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/ (YOU ARE HERE)
Dr. Bob Rich https://wp.me/p3Xihq-1dm
Victoria Chatham http://www.victoriachatham.com
Helena Fairfax http://www.helenafairfax.com/blog
Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
Rhobin L Courtright http://www.rhobincourtright.com
7 thoughts on “Prepping for Submission – March Round Robin 2019”
It’s really interesting learning about the digital options available to help writers along with the different techniques everyone uses. As far as your editing, I think there is no one correct method and everyone has to find the one that works for them.. Thanks, A. J.
I love this idea of a pencil/tablet thing to write directly onto the manuscript. I have been arguing with myself for a few years since I moved to only using my Macbook Pro which is less than 2 pounds so why do I need a tablet or iPad? but this possibility makes a lot of sense. Just might tip the scales.
Ah, the dreaded synopsis! It never fails to amaze me that, as authors, we can write thousands of words but a few hundred can stump us.
Synopsis and blurb. My is blurb is always too lengthy; my synopsis too short.
The pen on the screen editing sounds cool and so does your new computer. Your process is interesting.
I also edit as I go, but not in such a formalized way as you. When I need thinking time, I return to a previous part and read forward.
Also, while I don’t have a plot before starting, I keep a dossier of important facts like names, minor character descriptions, etc., and record a time line: what happened when, where, involving whom.
Hi AJ, I love your synopsis writing ploy. I’m going to try it. Anne