I started writing a mystery novel way back in 2011 (or 2013… I honestly can’t remember it’s been so long).
I wrote the first draft, edited it, then wrote the second draft. Then I realized I needed a serious POV change.
I rewrote the novel, edited it, rewrote it again, and edited it again. Sort of. I’ve been trying to edit it, but my editing skills weren’t great. I’d end up just finding typos, get discouraged, then put the manuscript aside to write something else.
All to avoid editing.
My editing skills have grown a lot over time. I feel more confident editing and I actually do a good job (I think so, anyway).
Surprisingly enough, I did learn a thing or two in my creative writing courses in college. I’ve also experimented and tried different styles of editing.
The method I use the most and that seems to work best for me is Rainbow Editing. I have different colored pens and use each color to zero-in on different parts of the story such as plot, character development, pacing and tension, spelling and grammar, and more.
My problem was always that I’d read my novels and never see a way to make them better other than to check for typos. I didn’t know what to look for. I don’t read each paragraph six times, once for each color, I just read it slowly and ask myself, “What else can this character do other than nod and shake his head?” It works.
My plan for Camp NaNo this month was to rewrite or retype, the first book in my mystery series. I’ve been stuck on this book for so long now and I think it’s high time I get my butt into gear and do something with it.
I never have because I struggled with the editing. I knew changes needed to be made, things added, others deleted, but I never knew how to go about it. Now I do and I feel confident about it.
So, I was going to retype the latest edited draft and go into May ready and excited to edit the next draft. I’ve given myself until the end of the summer to really make sure this novel is ready.
Except, when I opened my Dropbox I realized I already had a document saved for this current draft. I clicked on it and I already had the first chapter retyped.
Okay, cool. One less chapter for me to do. I opened the hard copy of my manuscript, flipped to the second chapter, and… it wasn’t edited.
Apparently, I had edited the first chapter, “edited” the rest of the story (the pages only had one or two red marks if any at all) and I had deemed that well enough to type up as a new draft.
The document was made in August 2016… Yeah, that’s how long it’s been. Go figure.
So there’s been a change of plans. I’ll be editing the current hard copy I have during NaNo this month. I’m tallying up the words for each chapter and counting that as my word count. It kind of sounds like cheating, but my goal is 80,000 words this month and I’m still making progress. I’m not going to worry about it.
The manuscript is about 65,000 words and I don’t even know if I’ll end up finishing the whole draft before the end of the month. I’m hoping I will but I also want to take my time with it.
I’ve been making great progress on it so far. The rainbow editing has been really helping me. I also created a timeline of events that happen in (and out) of the books, creating a timeline of the books in the series as well. I had done that a while ago, but I’m using it now as a reference and I know where this series is going to go.
I’ve never been excited to edit before and now I actually enjoy it.