My Methodical Method of Self Editing

I focus one word at a time. At present, I’m focusing on transition words. Apps such as Paperrater are learning tools for me, I’m not expecting to pass every test these apps perform, but I want to understand what causes the failure. Paperrater show me how often I place my transition phrases at the end of the sentence; the app failed me for my sentence structure. The Paperrater app prefers a diverse sentence structure and favors a transitional phrase at the beginning of the sentence; so now, I search for particular transition words (i.e. tomorrow, after, and soon) then I rewrite the sentence. The app may fail me if I switch around too many, so I let some go.

My methods bore me, but they may improve my novel incrementally. This type of editing sends me to a random place; which, keeps me more alert because I can’t skim. I’m not done evaluating my pronouns, but that’s a long process, so I stopped after I hit the halfway mark to add a bit of variety to my editing process.

The Tedium of Editing your Own Novel

You need to focus when you self-edit, but rereading material makes you want to skim over parts. A developmental edit followed by a line edit is my normal routine. An automatic proofreader helps reduce the reading during the line edit, but the developmental edit needs multiple rereads. A professional editor would have been great, but I’ll handle it myself.

I rushed out query letters and didn’t take a true break before editing because I figured I would gamble with the slim chance of getting an agent, before committing to self-publishing. This could have been self-sabotage, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted an agent.

My punctuation gimmick, for dialogue, demanded a decision and the indecision between publishing pathways caused problems. Yeah, I could have sent better samples to agents but I started feeling the press of time. My six-week bout of depression didn’t help, either.

I finished my first edit after the break and I installed my dialogue-tag gimmick; which, helped with editing. My previous lack of commitment to my punctuation gimmick threw some dialogue out of whack, but the gimmick helped fix the screw-ups. Now, I’m doing a line edit.

After I create an eBook, I’ll listen and follow along as the ‘text to speech’ feature reads aloud my novel. That should be my last edit, before publishing.

Finding Your Novel’s Problems

Every writer makes mistakes, but you should realize the type of errors that you tend to make. My prose often stumbles. I rewrite my novel several times. Sometimes I forget to complete the picture because I know what a scene looks like in my head, but a reader needs the image written into text.

I jump from one tendency to another, in my phrasing. I noticed my overuse of the word ‘have’ without using ProWritingAid, but it showed me a few more overuses (“knew”, “about”, and “believe”). My glue index is slightly high, but that will probably go down when I fix my overused words and phrases. Computers help you find the sentences you need to rephrase, just don’t so a universal replace.

My novel is dialog heavy and I’m not sure if that’s good or bad thing, but I doubt this ratio will change much. Whittling down the glue word takes time and doesn’t feel rewarding and I no sure if dialog naturally has more of the common words.

I started editing and left a couple of scenes unwritten because I need to know what I haven’t covered. The general plot is easy to keep up with, but subplots are harder.

f _me

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While white-boarding my book’s main concepts, I drew up a bunch of f-words in almost an “f” shape. I added more words to make this image. Working on white space in my chapters has me thinking about presentation.A little dabbling and this accidental image may have some use. Simplifying concepts helps me think about what I want to enhance as I edit. A presentation idea also hit me as I looked at the image..

Tibetan mandalas have a mind map quality about them and I see a way to do an interesting symbology exercise. Mind maps favor a central thought, but some book elements come from different parents than the central theme. I write around what I call literary buoys. Some elements in my book orbit around Florida. I then tie my Florida buoy to my Flora buoy. People may look at my blog and see me going off on wide tangents, but I beg to differ. A better presentation may help people see more method in my madness.

You see many of those “f- words” in my posts. When I thought more about f-words, I came up with a new one – felines. My central mythology character, Ptah, is married to cat goddess. Women link to cats in many ways. Adding some cat stuff makes (gotta say it) purr-fect sense.

 

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Writing Analysis Criticism

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I show two sample reports from Autocrit, which, I used to analyze about half my first chapter. I use first-person point of view for my narrative and every perspective has its own nuances. Autocrit flags sensory terms, but the first-person perspective needs such terms. Creative fiction also differs from college term paper style. My overuse of, “have” and “it” may need addressing, but small one syllable words read quick and become close to invisible. My one “generic description” flag comes due to an allusion I use, so it stays. If Autocrit performed different checks for different writing styles, I might find it more useful. Such tools can help identify where you get extra lazy, like many of my blog posts. I rarely edit these things. They go as they go.

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Felling Gravitas

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Editing to add white space caused an unwanted shift in tone. I often use levity, but my first chapter needs heavier gravitas than many other chapters. The change in tone surprised me. A few added words and some rephrasing led to, “Timber!”

Both images come from Wikipedia The first has this description: Center of pressure in relation to center of gravity while off-balance. The image takes a more humorous tone when attached to my tale involving a fertility cult. The second image shows how earth warps space-time. My novel does some warping of its own. Dreamtime acts as warp drive for my main character, as he needs to make big jumps in time and place.

 

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Wrestling with the Whatever

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“Write drunk; edit sober.” ― Ernest Hemingway

Some wrestle with words, like me. Others with drink. Wrestling is part of life. Mariel Hemingway arm wrestles Patrice Donnelly and then go to the mat/bed to leg wrestle. The scene comes from Personal Best where Mariel/Chris wrestles with her sexuality and trains for the Olympics with Patrice/Tory. Characters always wrestle with something and often have a parallel story line. Mariel/Chris sweats as she runs track and runs to and from her male and female lovers to sweat up the sheets. The characters in Wrestling Ernest Hemingway wrestle with personality. Macho gets tougher as a man gets older; something Hemingway dealt with until he could deal no longer. He also wrestled with alcohol. Characters in The Sun Also Rises have a high booze to blood ratio. Now to the reason for my post – Editing.

Hemingway uses more dialogue than narration; I suspect it lowered his editing time. He kept things simple and let the dialogue do the talking. If characters skip the sight-seeing to stay in a bar and drink; you can skip the travelogue narration. The Sun Also Rises gives greatest visuals to the bullfighting, the fishing, the feasting, and the somber end (which relates to editing). I can write without drink, but editing makes me want to get drunk. I hate rules about punctuation because they rarely agree. I need a blank slate to edit; familiar material makes my mind skip. I enjoy the analysis part of editing, but I hate the rewrite. Watching sweaty lesbian love beats dealing with end of the writing process. Blogging has helped me focus on certain issues, but I fear the final push.

 

Darn, a Yarn

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You write your novel’s first word. A whole sentence forms; it turns into a paragraph and then into a page. Back in the day of paper, you would wad it up and test your basketball skills. Someone needs to make an app for throwing away your work, more fun. Writing lends itself to the spinners wheel, but it fertility rites own the creation process. Castration plays a part in fertility rites; you have to sacrifice. I weave fertility rites with Flora’s (the goddess) namesake state – Florida. Goddesses of mythology weave fate and I weave them into my work, as well. Darn means mend and most times it means mending a weave. Editing is darning. Darn also substitutes for, “damn,” and that relates to the underworld. Fertility rites often weave with funerary rites and I weave all this in my book. I am at the the darn stage and I prefer, “darn,” as my four letter word. It provides humor to the frustration.

My blog gets into topics like castration and has a lot of sexual innuendo because they play a part in fertility; thus, they playa part in my book.

I modified one of Harry Clarke’s illustrations from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s, “Faust.”

Need a Pecker? Like a Pecker Needs a Hole

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When you do it alone; you miss things. We try to play every role these days, only the rare birds can. I fail at detail and I need a Mary; some fail at the big picture and need a Lou. When I am weary and close to a dream state, I can create. Even when I’m wide awake, the where to put a comma escapes me. See the woodpecker, you can call him Elvis, he’s a rare bird. They call him a grail. Even people who may not care for peckers may want this one. The link does go to an Ivory-billed woodpecker; I’m not a Weiner politician.