Editing

Whenever I read articles about self-publishing your books, whether it be in paperback or e-book, everyone is always pointing out how important it is with editing. I agree, editing is very important, and I can get quite frustrated when reading books if I find an inordinate amount of mistakes (especially if it’s in the first few pages!).

However, they often tell you to use a freelance editor to do your editing. I don’t expect to make a lot of money on my books. An e-book, on average, sells a total of 250 copies in its lifetime. That’s on average, which means that you could very well be below that number.

If you then spend around £1000 on a professional editor for your novel, you’re most likely going to make a loss on your book. While I would like to think that I write mainly for myself (and this is true), I can’t really afford to lose money on my writing. So, I’m sorry my friends – but I have to do my own editing, revising and proofreading.

If I somehow get lucky and sell a lot more than expected – then I’ll spend that money. When I might stand a chance to earn it back. Until then, I’m on my own.

Do you do your own editing, or do you pay someone else to do it?

Keep or Discard?

As I’m editing my novel I’m finding myself questioning how many changes I want to make. There are things that I think maybe I should change, while at the same time I’m not sure if it would make the story better or worse.

It’s my first novel that I’m going to publish, and the people that have read it so far are basically a couple of friends and a sister. They’re not the most likely to give me negative feedback, and they also are not massive romance readers, so it’s difficult to ask them if they think this or that thing should or should not be included.

This means I’m left on my own, and as a writer I find that it can be difficult to be objective about your own story. You wrote it, and cutting parts out or changing them massively can be difficult, even if it’s for the better. That said, if I knew that it was for the better, I imagine that it would be easier.

Needless to say, I can see where editors come into the picture in the publishing world. A freelance editor is not something I can afford though, so I’m going to just have to make the decisions myself and hope for the best.

A few examples where I’m wavering (it’s a Regency romance):

  • The hero gets angry and leaves, going back to London. I enjoy the scene because it’s a funny exchange between him and his best mate, but it might be a bit over the top. Or does it show how impulsive he can be with his hot temper? I don’t know!
  • The male villain tries to sexually assault the heroine, in an attempt to ruin her. This might be too much, maybe it would be enough to just have her alone in a room with the intent of getting caught? Back in Regency times that might have had the same effect?
  • The female villain is very secure in herself, which I want to keep – but I feel like it sometimes veers towards slut-shaming from the other characters. Definitely do want to change this since I don’t like slut-shaming. When I wrote it ten years ago I was younger and didn’t really think about it, but seems very obvious now that I’m reading it again.

These are all decisions I’m just going to have to make on my own, and I am definitely struggling. Maybe I’ll end up doing a coin toss…

How do you deal with editing?

Synopsis? WHY??

Ok, so I managed to read through the entire thing again (my manuscript if anyone is wondering) and although I still fear that it’s all lard I think it’s time that it went out the door to actually glimpse the light of day. (Ie. someone else is going to have to read it and comment.)

A few people have read it of course, but since they’re either related to me or want to stay on my good side since they’re my friends (and supposedly want to remain that) I don’t necessarily trust their objectiveness. Hence my need for someone to read it and let me know what they really think.

Actually, I just got my very first critique partner and I just sent her the first chapter (and will be getting one from her soon). I’m quite excited about it, albeit nervous. I’ve never had a critique partner before.

Now… I have a few problems… Hence the antagonistic title of today’s blog entry.

1. No matter how I format my manuscript it WILL NOT fit into 400 pages! If I keep it at Times New Roman font is 385, which is fair. But when I make it any kind of Courier font (which is what you’re supposed to submit it with) all of a sudden my page count is up at 490!!! HELP!

2. How strict is the 100,000 word rule? I currently have 102,000 words. Time to start cutting? How can I cut my baby? *starts fretting*

3. I happened to see a contest for completed manuscripts and thought I’d enter. They need a synopsis. Que? I don’t have a clue how to write a synopsis, and the deadline is quite soon so I don’t have a whole lot of time to do it either. Why do we have to use synopsises? *cries* Can’t I just send the first chapter? *sniffles* It’s not fair… Is there a Synopsis Crash Course out there somewhere?

Ok, so I’m panicking slightly here. Here I thought I was almost done, and then these things happen… *grumbles*

Will crawl back into my hole now and try to figure out how to write a synopsis…

Guilt

Yes, I’m feeling rather guilt ridden right now. No, I haven’t murdered someone… It’s just that I’ve done absolutely nothing for my book for over a week and it makes me feel really guilty. I think I’m getting nervous since it’s getting close to finished, and it feels like it’s not good enough and I have no idea what to do about it.

A critique partner would probably be a very good idea, but I’m not entirely sure how to go about finding one. It’s got to be someone who knows what they’re talking about of course, and someone you trust.

I have a friend who reads it and comments, but she comments more on if I make a typo or grammar mistake than anything else. She’s going to read it again now though that it’s almost finished to see how it flows. I’m reading it myself as well but I keep feeling that it’s lacking and it terrifies me. I’ll ask her to be really cruel and brutal after she reads it this gime… since I really want this book to be good.

Then I also want to just get it done and over with as well… It’s a bit of a split feeling. Because I really want to start writing the next manuscript… I’ve got two characters in my head and their story is just nagging to be written. When I will find the time though I don’t know. With a new job and everything I find myself rather short of time. I admire all these authors who manage a family, job and writing all at once. I can barely manage a job and a life.

I guess I should get back to proofreading… But I keep procrastinating since when I’m reading it I keep thinking ‘It’s crap. It’s crap. It’s crap.’ And I don’t know how to stop…

Begone evil fiend!

Hah! Defeat over the blank page at last!
Victory is mine!

The chapter was finally written and I’m so very glad to have it over and done with. Wrote chapter 21 as well (which did have some difficult parts… ie. my first love scene… I was blushing half of the chapter…!)

Been back in Sweden for the weekend and between visiting relatives and purchasing all the Swedish goodies I’ve not had for a while there’s simply been no time for writing. I will get right back to it this coming week though, and I’m still on my deadline since I have a personal goal of one chapter per week, and chapter 21 was written for this week.

Actually, I’m ahead of schedule since my final deadline is August, and I only have about 100 pages left to write *cheers* Difficult 100 pages… but only 100 pages nonetheless. After that starts the “real” work though of editing the manuscript, but I have to admit that I quite look forward to it.

Tomorrow it’s off back to Netherlands again. Have to admit I don’t look forward to it, except for knowing I can get back to my manuscript… I really want to finish it now and start the editing process. *fingers crossed*

A Blank Page

Do you have any idea how horrible it feels when you’re sitting there behind your desk staring at a blank page, and you have absolutely no idea what to write? Well, trust me, it’s not a pleasant feeling. Especially not after you just wrote five chapters without hesitating for more than a few moments at a couple of points.

Then all of a sudden it’s there. The blank page. It’s staring at you from the screen, all white and without a single letter written on it. (Except Chapter Twenty at the top, but that hardly counts.) It’s mocking you, telling you that your inspiration is gone and you’ll never get any further.

Ok, it’s actually not that bad… Interestingly enough I know what to write after this piece, I just don’t know what to write right now. I’ve come to the point where my two characters are getting married (they’re getting married already? you ask… Well… Yes! If I can figure out how to write it…)

Maybe I should skip this and get back to it later, but I have a feeling that if I do that I won’t be able to write it at all. So I’m sitting here, staring at that blank, white page mocking me with its lack of words.

Even with my panic during Chapter Six I didn’t have the page mocking me. Something’s gone awfully wrong here. What am I to do? It’s like a chicken race really… I stare at the page… The page stares at me… The first one to break down and start crying lose. I’ve not been beaten yet, but I’ve also not started writing anything yet.

How difficult can a wedding be to write? you ask. Well, you know what. A couple of days ago I would have asked the same thing. Now I know… It’s pure agony. I can’t even get the first word down.

I’m sure it’s different for everyone though. Maybe every writer has their own little terror that they don’t know how to write. Up until now I never would have thought that mine would be a simple little wedding. I was wrong… Very, very wrong.

Well… Back to staring at my blank, white page…

Chapter 6 Panic

I’m now two weeks behind on my own deadline, I really need to get a grip. I wanted to finish one chapter per week, but after the first week (during which I finished chapter 5) I’ve not since managed to finish a single chapter.

The week it was meant to be written I was sick and so I never found the energy (or inspiration) to write it. The week after (last week) I should have managed, but I ended up being quite busy at work and felt too tired when I get home.

And unfortunately it doesn’t end there. I’m having some kind of Chapter 6 breakdown or something. It took me all of last week to figure out how to start it. I tried four different ways to start the chapter, and neither worked out. Now I think I’ve finally got it, but having written a couple of pages I seem to have lost my touch and I don’t know how to continue.

It’s very frustrating and I guess I’ll just have to force myself to write something. If it’s total crap, then so be it. It’s easier to edit a page full with text than a blank page, as some wise writer once said…

So I better get to it.. Wish me luck!