Writing Recap – How To Edit

Why pay an editor when you can get a Luna to do it for you? This is my little Lunabelle helping me with some writing. “Helping” meaning clambering all over the keyboard chasing my hands because it’s much more important for me to be fussing her than writing. And with such big green eyes who can resist? But this is the whole point – editing, I find, requires a solid strength of will to resist distractions and procrastination. So sorry Luna, but you have to wait!Update! I have been quite quiet of late – that’s for various things: new job, work on the other house, trying to finish my Goodreads Challenge for May (see blog post here) and a little bit of writing! I am now very pleased to say that as of  6th June 2017 I have finished my third draft of MFB. This means I’m now about to start editing.

How well is it going, you might ask? Well… I’ve done countless loads of washing, shredded a load of unwanted paper, tidied up my front room a bit, organised the back bedroom, cleaned my sink, disinfected everything in the house, scrubbed my wellies and my Dubarrys, washed the dog and cat bowls, and drunk umpteen cups of tea…

So this is my guide on How To Edit!

  • Get comfortable in your writing nook, with a cup of tea and the most motivating, content-appropriate playlist you can find on Spotify
  • Drink that first cup of tea and enjoy it so much you go make another
  • Struggle to find a suitable playlist and waste time scrolling through Spotify
  • Find that your writing nook attracts an unpleasant draft or has dodgy lighting, and search for another place
  • End up cross-legged on the sofa
  • Forget cup of tea, get up for it
  • Open first chapter of novel on computer
  • Create a document for editing purposes
  • Fancy a snack, end up making dinner
  • Leave pots strewn all over, but decide to start reading chapter one
  • Make a couple of notes on editing diary
  • Wash up, dry pots and put away, repeat for next lot
  • Realise that TV programme is on you wanted to watch – time for a break, no?
  • Try and fail to read and watch at the same time
  • Make another cup of tea
  • Find a pot left on the side that wasn’t washed up and lose mind
  • Finally get comfy on sofa with computer and cup of tea
  • Start to read, make a few valid notes
  • Get distracted on planning a detailed map of the town/world in your book
  • Lose temper at changing minor character’s surname
  • Yawn once, decide it’s bedtime
  • Turn computer off and go to bed
  • Have best idea ever in bed – decide to get up at 5am to start anew with refreshed vigour
  • Wake up at 8 and realise it’s a work day

Procrastination is a vixen I remember well from, I guess, every aspect of my little life. With essay deadlines looming, I could always find something to keep myself entertained. But when it’s something I love and very much want to dedicate my time to, like my writing, I still find I can skive off. Sometimes it is legitimate – still need to eat, right? I’ve been writing this post for about a week now, too.

In all seriousness, I’m trying to follow this process for editing:

  • Split my screen into 2 documents, with the draft on the left and a document for notes on the right;
  • Read through the draft and any edit, thought or issue that comes to mind can be noted down;
  • Finish the read through, and start making the changes to a new version of the document.
  • I will also keep a running log of over-arcing problems or changes that will have effects throughout the narrative.

At the moment I’m here, there and everywhere, often without my laptop (hence why this post has taken so long to write), so I can’t start in earnest until things are back to normal. Then I think I will try to dedicate a chunk of time each day to editing. It’s time to get serious again!

How do you edit? Do you get distracted too – if so, how do you keep on track? Let me know in the comments!

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A new year dawns

It’s that time of year – behold, the New Year, New Me promises! I’ve never been one for New Year’s Resolutions. If I decide I need to sort something out mid-year, I’ll do it then, rather than wait until the next January to do it. But that doesn’t mean to say I never have goals in mind for each year – sometimes they’re so subconscious even I don’t know about them…

In 2015 my goals were to get my own place and change my job for something closer to home. I was commuting to Hull every day and the company I was working for were relocating into the city centre. It was already taking me at least an hour and a half to get to work, and easily more on an evening. And so in August 2015 I started looking for a house, and I got my keys for Casa Katy in December and was halfway through my notice period.

So in 2016 I had the house and the job. What was missing? Oh yeah, the boyfriend! Considering I had just bought my house and didn’t ever want to leave it because it was Mine, I managed to get a boyfriend just by sitting around doing nothing, as mutual friends were playing Cupid, and so in August I met Scott.

So, it’s 2017. I am sans job, but still running Casa Katy like a sinking ship – just the way I like it. Well, it is a little crowded now, with two people, two cats and a Border Collie. But the big goal for 2017 – beyond helping Scott get the farm built up, and sorting my grandad’s house out so we can move in there, and *cries* renting Casa Katy out – is the writing thing.

From about August to November very little writing was done last year. I submitted barely ghost-edited chapters to my writing group and that was about it. I didn’t do a blog post either. Then over the festive period, I started to look at #MFB. As so much time had elapsed I found I couldn’t get back into it, but then I realised the reason I couldn’t get back into it was that I had lost myself in it. So I sat and redrafted it, giving it a much-needed haircut. The end result was more like lopping a few limbs off than just a trim, but I figured I should be cutting down that approximate 350,000 word count. So now I have begun Draft Three, having aborted Draft Two midway through. Abandon ship, and all that. I’m very lucky because Scott understands how important it is to me, and he is encouraging me (i.e. telling me off when he finds me on Facebook!), even though he isn’t a reader at all (though he got two books for Christmas so that could change – hey, if I got my father reading after not picking up a book (that wasn’t a car manual) since school, anything’s possible!).

I found by chance on Twitter a writing campaign #my500words, started by a chap called Jeff Goins, whose blog is full of lots of useful motivating things for aspiring writers like myself, so please have a look here. So this is something I’m going to follow: 500 words a day for 31 days. This is pure writing, no editing, and while I am redrafting from existing copy, I am still writing fresh, especially in the cases where I’m adapting chapters and making new content based on concepts already clumsily made. So far so good – I’m already halfway through chapter two, having exceeded my 500 words most days.

After the 31 days are up, I might adapt the limit again, depending on how far I am through the story. Another thing to bear in mind is that lambing time is approaching, which might sit as a fat spanner in the works, as I have been led to believe that my life will be split between the sheds and home for a kip. Snatching time to write is so far serving me well: getting up a little earlier to sit in the quiet downstairs, or if on odd days I’m not needed, then I can really hammer it home.

I will keep you updated. Meanwhile, any words of encouragement won’t go amiss!

Katy

A cup of coffee and a laptop

Hello my lovely fellow bloggers!

A cup of coffee and a laptop
My life at the moment! What more does a girl need? Laptop, an espresso, Filofax and – some whiteboard markers?!

 

It is Saturday over here in Yorkshire – at long last! It feels like it’s been a long week. I was out all last weekend so never got chance to blog anything (I went to Liverpool with some friends from work, in case you’re wondering – I ate lots and drank lots, according to my Instagram!) I didn’t go home till Monday evening so I have been away from my computer quite a considerable time: it’s taken about twenty-five minutes to turn on and go through updates and decide if it wants to recognise my iPhone so I can upload the snap of the dining room table, as above!

This week I’ve been doing a little Pinterest research on blogging etc. I’ve also made a (very late) resolution! In my defence, it was based on something I hadn’t known existed up until yesterday, when I popped onto campus to pick up my dissertation (clever clogs).

As you can probably tell, I like writing. I like writing and I like talking: the two seem to be mutual. I’ve always been a big writer: I used to write stories and classify that as GCSE revision. It must have worked – I got a nice A* in English Language. (This was back when it was hard to get A*s, you understand; cynical ex-trainee-teacher coming through a bit there.) Ever since I was little – and I mean little, a few years ago I found lots of handwritten stories, apparently based around Gobbolino the Witch’s Cat, that I had made when I was a wee bairn, judging by the handwriting – I’ve always written stories. I suppose it comes from being an only child, and maybe living out in the countryside, and maybe a loose connection in my brain, I don’t know.

Now when I say writing, I mean it in the most sincere way. ‘Stories’ as a word just doesn’t quite convey the magnitude of what I feel when I’m writing. It is so personal and so involving; it’s not just a story, it’s an alternative life. Over the years I’ve had a stab – and with varying sizes of stabs – at numerous genres, types, formats, themes; you name it, I’ve probably given it a go. I think when I was in my late teens, I had ideas for about thirty or so books: that’s including titles, characters, summaries, structure, chapter lists, and in the case of about ten or so of those, genuine, earnest pieces of, in some cases, quite lengthy writing. A lot of it is juvenilia of course, but if it has a nugget of hope or potential in it, then, over the course of education and life experience, I’ve kept it in the back of my mind, allowing it to be gently honed and nurtured – seemingly without my real attention!

Now that I am no longer studying for my PGCE – no more late nights researching and planning lessons, marking books, creating assessment instruments, marking assessments, completing uni lesson plans, filling in tutorial records – I have time (when I’m not falling asleep on the settee in front of the TV, that is) to actually work on my first love, and hobby, and one-day maybe dream career: writing.

Yet I’ve come across a bit of a writer’s block. Figures, eh? So I’m setting myself a challenge – one I hope you’ll all keep me on the right side of! I’m going to enter a writing competition. This isn’t big news for me; I’ve done it before. But this time I’m going to enter it seriously, and probably enter every category, and work as hard as I can. I have a couple of stories in mind.

So my idea is to update this part of my blog – ‘Little Storyteller’ – every week, with news of what progress I’ve made, any problems I’ve come across, any motivational ideas I’ve had, or any theories on writing, structure, procrastination avoidance, or anything else.

I have until May – so, wish me luck! And keep me in check!

Are any of you out there budding fiction writers? Has anybody had anything published? Let me know! I’d love to find out if you have.

Love Katy

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