Lately, my head has been spinning with all things concerning "the writing life". Ever since the beginning of January I've been trying to buckle down on editing the first draft of my retelling of The Princess and the Pea. And...
Ohhh, the accuracy!
Today I'm here to share ten
warnings tips on editing your first draft.
1) Your writing is horrible.
Remember those beautiful words you put down to paper about 2 years ago when you first started writing this novel? Remember how right it felt? How inspired, how talented you thought yourself?
Well, forget that feeling. That feeling does not belong in the editing process.
Instead, be prepared for feelings of shock and disgust and utter hopelessness as you groan,"I wrote that? What is wrong with me?" Then bang your head on the keyboard* and hopefully you'll accidentally delete your entire novel by accident.**
*I'm kidding, banging your head is NOT recommended. I don't want your family to sue me for the concussion you may get from such an act. :P (And I imagine it would hurt.)
**And I'm totally kidding about deleting your novel. Do NOT delete your entire novel. Do you know that writing an entire novel is a huge accomplishment? Never throw away something you worked so hard on.
2) Plot holes haunt your mind.
Be prepared that when you discover a problem within your plot and try to think of a fix, this problem will haunt your thoughts till you resolve it. You won't be able to properly focus on anything else, and you may or may not talk to yourself in the shower about the problem.
It's a very frustrating process.
3) You'll forget what trees look like.
During the editing process, especially in the wintertime, it inevitably feels easier to stay inside in your room all day, and never step a foot out of doors.
Don't do this. Get outside, get some fresh air, and take a walk. It doesn't have to be long, just circle your house and then come back inside. But do it. It's a Necessity.
4) Dynamite doesn't work here.
As your plot holes continue to taunt you with their complexity and seemingly unfixable-ness (what?), you will find yourself feeling as if you are chipping away at a concrete wall with a spoon.
Carry on. This is a normal and completely expected feeling.
5) Characters sometimes fall in love when you're not looking.
If you're not extremely careful, you may wake up one day and open the word document containing your novel to find that one character has feelings for another character that THEY ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO HAVE. But then, the agony begins. You sit there, looking at these two characters, previously supposed to have been "just friends" and then you begin to think,
"Well, they would be pretty cute together."
"Look how protective he is of her! It's adorable."
"I thought she saw him only as an older brother, but now..."
This rare phenomenon may or may not put your writing on hold for about a week. Thinking you resolved the problem, you will sit back down and find it still there. You forge ahead, give up, and then pick it up again a week later.
Repeat this process until you figure out who belongs with whom. I really have no advice for this.
(Hint: But if you want your heroine to fall in love again with the hero she was originally supposed to have feelings for, just go write out some really cute scenes with them together. It should fix the problem.)
6) Villains are bad, end of story.
When writing a backstory for your villain, be aware that you'll probably start pitying him Very Much because of his tragic past, and then start to wish he could repent and become a Hero.
Don't do it. Don't give in to such sentimentality, because it will then ruin the story that you're writing this backstory for. VILLAINS ARE BAD. LEAVE THEM THAT WAY. (Even if it breaks your heart, because he was such a wonderful child. *sob*
|If you need to feel brutal when crafting your villains, just go rip some wood apart. That may help. I don't speak from experience, though.|
7) Editing a book is not safe.
You've probably felt like a pretty careful person person your entire life, right? You aren't a troublemaker, and you certainly don't want to be one.
Well. Guess what. If you're a writer, you're a troublemaker. Sorry.
|apparently I do because I'm writing a book|
8) 40's dialogue is easier than medieval conversations.
When you take a break editing your current novel and turn your attentions to your still-unfinished NaNoWriMo novel set in the 1940's...
It's a fun way to relax. 1940's characters talk very differently from their medieval counterparts, did you know that? Sir Arthur can say, "Verily, m'lady." But if you have Isaac speak like that, your story is doomed. Better make him say something like "Yeah, that'd be swell."
(I really love my 1940's story. :) Maybe I should share some more snippets or do a character interview sometime...?)
9) Not everyone needs a backstory
While ruminating on the plot of your villain's backstory, you'll suddenly begin wondering what made HIS father such an awful character. Why was he so cruel to his son? What made him how he was? For one split second you'll consider writing him a backstory.
Don't do it. Just don't.
10) There is good in this world, Mr. Frodo.
Lest you think all writing and editing is a kind of living death, I will leave you with some positivity. Writing a story IS fun. It's a wonderful, crazy, amazing adventure and if you have the courage to undertake such a journey, I promise you will be well rewarded.
And whenever you're feeling uninspired for a plot, just remember this piece of advice:
I'll also leave you with some encouraging words from Flynn Rider, because I know he can bring a smile to any girl's face. :) (Assuming this is a girl reading this. To any of my guy followers, I apologize. You are in the minority, sir, but I greatly appreciate your being here.)
Writers, comment below!
What are your writing and editing woes?