If you’ve been following me on Facebook or Twitter, then you know that I got the latest round of edits for Vodnik back from my editor on Thursday evening. This round is different from the last few I’ve been doing: they’re pretty much just line edits. What does that mean? Basically, we’re now to the point where the plot and characterizations are all more or less good to go. The big stuff is in place, and now we’re working on a sentence level, for the most part.
For example, one thing Stacy has been pointing out to me is a tendency I have to filter my action. Have no clue what that means? Neither did I. (It’s amazing: I’ve taken a ton of writing classes, workshopped with professionals, gone to writing conferences–and there are still things to learn. I like that about writing. There are always ways to improve your writing.) Filtering your action is when, instead of showing your readers what’s happening, you tell them that one of your characters saw, smelled, heard, felt, or tasted. I know that sounds contradictory at first–after all, isn’t that what fiction is all about? Telling people what someone else did? Well, sort of. The thing is, you’d like for your audience to experience that action first hand–not have it always be filtered through someone else. So instead of saying “Mary saw a big dog running right at her,” you’d write “A big dog was running right at her.” Take out the “Mary saw.” The focus should be on the big dog, not on Mary seeing.
I’m probably butchering the explanation here. Stacy linked me to a much more complete description. Check it out. (Although for some reason it’s not loading on my machine right now. Not sure why, but if it doesn’t load for you, try again later, or Google the web address and use Google’s cached version of the page.)
Anyway, so I’m going through the book working on refining the language I’m using, not the plot. I’m also fixing a few details that I noticed were off when I was over in Slovakia this time. (Having edited the book as much as I have now, I was much more familiar with what I’d said–and how I’d gotten it wrong. It makes fixing the descriptions that much easier.)
One big difference? Before, I usually had at least three weeks or more to work on the edit. This time, time is becoming more of an issue. We still need a copy edit done, and then it heads to book design and all sorts of other lovely Next Steps. I need to get this back to Stacy by a week from today, so I’ve been moving much more quickly. It helps that it’s mostly just looking at her comments and making small fixes. No big chunks of new text, no changes in the plot. So still work, but mainly just because I’m trying to move quickly.
Actually, I’m already through with 213 pages out of 373. I worked extra hard over the weekend because I knew that this week I had some other things going on. (A yard sale on Friday and Saturday, for starters, plus a date with my wife that we’d had planned for a while, and I don’t work Sundays–so I really only have three afternoons of time left, and 160 pages to do in that time frame.) I should get it done. It’s just a lot of work, when you already have a full time job, family responsibilities, and church duties.
But that’s okay by me. It’s a problem I’ve been wanting to have for a very long time. 🙂