Author Topic: how to Edit your novel  (Read 5771 times)

Offline fordy

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Re: how to Edit your novel
« Reply #30 on: January 11, 2007, 09:43:16 PM »
A short personal story ...

When I was a young lad at school, I flunked English; basically because my spelling was poor (this was a long time ago).  I ended up being fearful of writing anything down because of the hilarity that my spelling caused.  When I went to work, if I needed letters or reports written, I would always dictate them to the secretary (I did say this was a long time ago, right?).  Then, someone came up with computers, word processing and SPELL CHECKING.  If I knew who that was I would send them flowers every Christmas.

The writer in me got liberated by that tool: yes, I know their/there are shortcomings but it isn't too/to/two difficult to learn those instances where the spell checker will put you wrong if you aren't careful.   I love the red squiggly lines - they draw my attention to POTENTIAL problems and allow me to correct, go check it out, or ignore the suggestion.

Point is, I would love to be as naturally precise as Symphony clearly is, but I am not.  And for me, the choice is to let a tool like a spell checker help me, or crawl back into the woodwork and never write again.  I do agree though, that using any of these tools indiscriminately is dangerous and as users we need to learn how to use them at the conceptual level as well as the practical. 

David (posted from the Firefox browser, which has a built it spell checker)  ;D
If I always do what I always did, I'll always get what I always got.

Patx

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Re: how to Edit your novel
« Reply #31 on: January 12, 2007, 06:32:59 AM »
Hi Glued

"I am doing my edit on my first novel draft which is a literary piece. The word count is at 66,000. I thought I would increase it to around 70 to80K.
Now I feel I should make it tighter and it'll lread better at 50,000. Also make it easier for publishers to try their luck with me. What say you. Is that word count acceptable."

If this is a literary novel then I wouldn't even be worrying about word count at this stage - if it's good enough the amount of words will not make a difference.

Polish up your first three chapters - ignore the rest of the book and get those three chapters sent out to an agent with a synopsis - this is the important stuff - don't waste time on chapters an agent may never even ask to read.

If it's good enough, and they want it, they will give you the time and help to sort out the rest.
If it's good enough they will give you time  and help

N.Mott

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Re: how to Edit your novel
« Reply #32 on: January 12, 2007, 06:52:29 AM »
Quote
Now I feel I should make it tighter and it'll lread better at 50,000. Also make it easier for publishers to try their luck with me. What say you. Is that word count acceptable.

I've just been on another forum where an author's first novel was 50,000 words. The publisher thought it was good but too short for a first novel (which can make or break an author's reputation) and so wanted another 20,000 words before publishing it.
The author did a rewrite but the pace etc of the novel fell apart and his Agent recommended that he shelve it for the time being, finish off Novel2 which would be published as his first novel, then resubmit the shorter novel once he was better known.

So the moral of that story is, don't shove words in if it ruins the story, you can always come back to it later in your career.

 

Patx

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Re: how to Edit your novel
« Reply #33 on: January 12, 2007, 07:43:02 AM »
Spot on Naomi

No agent or publisher considers taking on a book because it's got the right amount of words

You've got to get them to like it enough to want to finish it before they even think of saying 'it's too short' or 'it's too long'

Offline Arnie Birk

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Re: how to Edit your novel
« Reply #34 on: January 12, 2007, 11:13:08 AM »
As for spelling checkers, check out this posting by a visiting Dave: http://www.mywriterscircle.com/index.php?topic=5915.msg49527#msg49527

Arnie
Check out my personal blog at http://arniebirk.com - unless, of course, you have something more important to do, like writing a book ...

Offline glued

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Re: how to Edit your novel
« Reply #35 on: January 13, 2007, 12:57:46 AM »
Interesting points Pat X and Naomi,

As a matter of fact since the first post on this thread I have begun to realise that word count is a silly way of setting up your novel. I have been silly enough to work according to the formula that everyone speaks about.
What I feel now is that what matters is the quality of those 50 or 60 or 70K words. Quantity by itself is no yardstick, though a novel has to obviously be a novel. And that means a minimum word count as a guide line.

Pat I am trying to make this tighter. I feel that I had written scenes that add nothing to the novel or that could be shortened. Let me say this: It is tough and I have begun hating what I wrote. >:(
And now i have to deal with that.

Offline fordy

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Re: how to Edit your novel
« Reply #36 on: January 13, 2007, 01:29:23 AM »
Let me say this: It is tough and I have begun hating what I wrote. >:(
And now i have to deal with that.

Oh yes, can I relate to this.  It happened to me just last weekend.  I had been working on this story for three months, first draft complete, started first edit and was now on chapter three.  Then, one morning, it was sitting there on the desk and I started to read chapter one again.  A couple of paragraphs later I was thinking, "this is crap.  No one is ever going to want to read this.  What made you think you could write".  Ruined my weekend.  >:(
If I always do what I always did, I'll always get what I always got.

Offline glued

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Re: how to Edit your novel
« Reply #37 on: January 13, 2007, 06:42:08 AM »
Fordy,
Well both of us have lots of company, thats for sure.
I feel like putting my MS into a cold storage and starting a new novel. But I just cannot do that either. My mind is not willing to accept new ideas.
I wanted to edit my MS today but escaped from the desk all day. It's just getting on my nerves and I keep thinking over this again and again.

OK no more whining. I had to say this.

Offline fordy

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Re: how to Edit your novel
« Reply #38 on: January 13, 2007, 02:00:41 PM »
Fordy,
Well both of us have lots of company, thats for sure.
I feel like putting my MS into a cold storage and starting a new novel. But I just cannot do that either. My mind is not willing to accept new ideas.
I wanted to edit my MS today but escaped from the desk all day. It's just getting on my nerves and I keep thinking over this again and again.

OK no more whining. I had to say this.

Well, this is what I came up with at the time ...

I spent a while wrestling with the thought: is crap ... isn't crap ... is crap ... isn't crap (you get the idea?) and realised that this wasn't an argument that I could win right now. Only other people can tell me if they find my writing crap and even then it is only their opinion (though ten out of ten could be convincing!).

Point is, crap or not, I haven't yet finished writing the best book I can. It's still mainly rough draft and until I have finished editing it and making it the best I can make it, it doesn't get subjected to the crap test.

So, unwelcome thought that you are, your day has not yet come - you are going to have to wait until I am 'finished' (whatever that means). Now, back to that editing.
If I always do what I always did, I'll always get what I always got.

Offline Arnie Birk

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Re: how to Edit your novel
« Reply #39 on: January 13, 2007, 02:09:39 PM »
Ernest Hemingway has been quoted as saying, "All first drafts are crap!"

Arnie
Check out my personal blog at http://arniebirk.com - unless, of course, you have something more important to do, like writing a book ...