Brain Freeze on Editing

 Do you ever get brain freeze?  You get stuck on stupid and can’t figure a way out of it?  That’s how I feel in this editing process.  It feels like a mammoth project with no end in sight.  I realize that I am being a tad dramatic but that’s how it feels.  I will get back to it and stop thinking about doing it and just do it.  That may work.

UPDATE:

It’s now several hours later and with resolve I have edited 34 more pages. Only 167 pages still to edit before I start on read-thru number 3 for the novel. Hey, at least it’s progress! 🙂

Happy Easter everyone!

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Book Review: Someone to Cherish by Kate Rothwell

 
The story began in the early 1900’s and drew me in with the strong female lead of Callie Scott and her little hairless dog, Mauschen.  With pride, frank speech and an innocence that is almost otherworldly, Callie captures your heart and attention just as she captured Detective Cutter’s.  He’s the one copper in town that seems to give a hoot about Callie and her plight.  Through her naivety and ignorance, Callie was rounded up with an unsavory group and Society has written her off!

However, the division of classes is still extremely strong and is a deciding factor.  No matter their feelings for one another Society had to be appeased and the hive-mind Society’s mandates had to be followed.  The noble Cutter finds Callie’s family and off she goes back into its bosom.  Or, does she?

With a knack for getting into trouble, Callie falls victim to yet another unscrupulous scheme and Cutter makes it his business to get her out of harm’s way.  When Callie’s kidnapped, Cutter’s not there to save her and her life and reputation are at stake.

Can Detective Cutter put the pieces of this latest puzzle together and find Callie before it’s too late?  More importantly, can he find a way to be with the woman he loves without Society casting her aside?

Someone to Cherish by Kate Rothwell is beautifully written.  The characters are realistic and read true through and through.  If you love a good old-fashioned love story — this one’s for you!

4 1/2  Blogairy Notebooks

Food and Editing at Alma’s

I have two major passions in life — other than my children.  I love food and I love writing (editing, not so much).  While having brunch at Alma, my favorite rooftop dining spot in the Waterfront area of Brooklyn, I decided to marry my passions and eat while editing. 🙂

I first fell in love with Alma Viva last summer when my guy and I went in search of something ecclectic, brunchy and special in Brooklyn.  After poring over dozens of Zagat reviews, we stumbled upon Alma and it’s been our little hip spot ever since.  I even food blogged about it here.  Love the owner — I call him Mr. Wonderful.  (He had a t-shirt on that said that too.)

But I digress, the topic here is food, writing and editing, right?  So, I finally completed my first draft of my National Novel Writing Month Novel (NaNoWriMo) a few weeks ago.  I let it rest for two weeks and then re-read it.  It didn’t immediately suck to me and that’s a big plus.  But, now what?

I went in search of things to help me understand how best to do this big job.  I figured I needed an editor.  Okay, found one (that’s a WHOLE other blog post).  But, before I send off this little puppy, I need to make sure my editor will not crucify me and ban me to the imbecilic writer’s club from the first page.

So, I blog about it (of course) and one of my blog readers, Leti Del Mar, came to the rescue and shared a recent blog post about her very intense and thorough method of editing her work.  Read her editing post here.  Then, if you are so inclined, read more of her Words with Leti Del Mar blog.

I shared Leti’s blog post with my writing mentors Jacqueline Lichtenberg and Jean Lorrah and they gave it a thumbs up! 

Between these two women, I’ve suffered literary growing pains and I’m so happy they kept the pressure up.  I recall one day breaking down into tears because I couldn’t figure out the correct plotting sequence of a book they wanted me to deconstruct.  All this happened around 2003.

After a little over two years of working with them, I think I hit burnout.  I couldn’t process anything.  Couldn’t write anything.  That began ending in 2008/9.  Inklings of wanting to write began to bubble.  Then, in early 2009, my very first short story was published Chambray Curtains Blowing in the Wind by Bartleby-Snopes Literary magazine.  This story was edited over I don’t know how many years.  Ms. Lichtenberg and Ms. Lorrah helped me with it and coaxed out the true plot (back then I didn’t know what a plot was until it bit me and I was half-dead).  Then, editor Nathaniel Tower, pushed it to where he wanted it to be.  The ending had to change.  Everyone said it.  With reluctance, I changed it and it was published.  Lesson learned.

Anyway, all of this brings us to today and editing.  Back then, I had the help of my mentors who pushed and prodded me to go in a direction.  Today, I am standing on my own two feet and seeking to do what they did to me for myself.  It doesn’t hurt as much as it did.  I know I’m a good writer or else my time with them would have been MUCH shorter. 🙂

But now what?  Now, I shift through my 77,585 words and pull out structure, enhance characterization and embed sub-plots.  Don’t know if I can get through four read-throughs Leti but I will try!

If I do something I truly love and add in the not so pleasant (editing), I will get it done.  I have to remember why I’m doing this and then maybe I can get through the task at hand.  I love writing and I’ve very rarely shared my work with people and I’m slowly beginning to unravel why.  You’ll all be part of this wonderful journey if you so choose and understand it all, if you care to.

In the meantime, I’m going to get to doing the paper edits on the actual story.  On page 9 and have over 200 pages to go.  (I will not sigh!)

Editing Down to the Bone…

[A first draft is] just for size. That draft isn’t any good; it isn’t supposed to be; the whole purpose is to sketch out proportions. . . . I rarely have a very clear idea of where I’m going when I start. Just people and a situation. Then I fool around–writing and re-writing until the stuff gels.  — (James Thurber – Interview with Robert Van Gelder. The New York Times Magazine, May 12, 1940)

I love this quote by humorist and author James Thurber.  I wish that one day I will be as prolific as he was.  He drew cartoons and wrote essays for The New Yorker.  (He wrote over 40 books!)  However, at the moment I am feeling very much like Thurber did regarding the first draft.  I have completed my first draft and I am working on editing it.

I had no idea it was so challenging! 

Isn’t there a magic wand somewhere that I can wave and make it all turn into perfectly flawless prose that engages readers?  No, huh?

So, I couldn’t figure out how to start so I figured I’d just read what I wrote — all 230 something pages — and then make the changes that seem ‘logical’ to me.  (Hopefully it will be logical to others as well!)

Then, I send it off to the editor for another round of edits.  Then?  Who knows.  Maybe more editing will be needed.

For all of you who have gone through this already please share your thoughts, insights and experience with me!  I’d love to know more about how other writers waddle through this marshy stage of the writing process!