Thursday, September 18, 2008

My Novel's Journey: the Bleeding Manuscript

Finishing the draft is only the first part of writing a novel.

I write pretty clean copy, meaning that I don't generally have to rip the entire thing apart bit by bit and rearrange the whole thing, but I always have a lot of work to do when the last word gets set on the paper. Live and Let Fly, being a thriller/mystery, has some interesting challenges, too, since I need to make sure clues are set and loose ends tied up--at least the ones I want tied up. (Which reminds me, I need to make a note. Excuse me!)


My method of editing is to read it three times: Once for content, once for readability, once backward for detail in grammar and wording of individual sentences. This week, I did the content proof.

First, I print it up, because I catch more errors when I see it on paper. (Incidentally, this is after the minimal spell and grammar check on Word. Never trust Word alone!)

Then, I read it through once. I'm looking for flow, characterization, obvious mistakes and holes in the content. For DragonEye, I also highlight or circle any important items I need to include in my glossary and DragonEye Canon. That way, I can keep my facts straight from story to story. Also, I read it just to enjoy the finished work. Usually, 70 percent of the pages look something like this:

I put in those changes, then print it up again. If I have time, I do the next two edits, then send it to my critiquer friends. This time, however, I'm on a tighter deadline, so I sent it after the first run.

Next week, I'll tell you about the second and third edits.


Anonymous said...

What's with all the eyeball-melting dayglo paper?

And have you ever heard Stephen King's story about his journey with "my own personal Vietnam", The Stand?

How he was carrying the manuscript, a six-inch-thick plastic-wrapped brick, down a New York street to the publisher? How he KNEW he was going to have a heart attack from the strain of carrying The Brick, and they would find him "face-down in the gutter, hands outstretched towards My Nemesis"?

Karina Fabian said...

I try to re-use paper, and the kids' school likes colors.

Hadn't heard that story about King. Question is: did he then put that vision into one of his books? (Incidentally, I can't read Stephen King. I tried one short story collection in college and was so freaked out I swore off him.)