NaNoEdMo: Editing Is a Sobering Process

Editing is not very much fun. It's like waking up after a fantastically amazing bout of drinking and having to do ridiculous things to put your life back in order like combing your rats nest of a hair do and rescuing your waterlogged shoes, the very ones you took off OUTSIDE, six feet from the door. At the time, the method was in the madness, but in the sober light of day, none of it is presentable to the outside world. Necessary, but mostly just ugh.

Here are a few more shocking things I've learned about the editing process:

I Am Not God: I pretty much assumed my novel would logically flow from my fingertips. I've read billions (disclaimer: OK scores, not billions) of novels, so it seemed the rhythm of how a novel should unfurl would be engrained in my consciousness. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I guess sometimes when you write one novel, you get excited and try to write three different novels at the same time. It happens, right? *cries*

The Reader Is Not Inside Your Head: This is a sad state of affairs because I dislike explaining details. Like why two characters already know each other, or the name of the ocean I keep referring to, or anyone's name (God, I hate naming all these stupid people that keep popping up in my book!). Though apparently I thought, at 20 years old, that meticulously detailing everyone's outfit was paramount.

Apparently Novels Should Have Structure: Ugh chapters. Ugh parts. Part the first: this novel has no narrative drive. Part the second: I think all the characters are in love with one another. Part the third: no one likes anyone else anymore. Can I use these as part titles? Are they even called "part titles"? I give up.

Emotional Depths, You Should Mine Them: I think I should be doing this, but my characters keep cracking obscene jokes and flirting with each other. This is not serious in the least and MUST be stopped. They need to start contemplating their mortality or in the least plotting to kill each other. For God's sake, they live in rural Nova Scotia. What is there to do but contemplate that good night?

Symbolism Would Be a Great Idea: What is this? Do I need to mirror inner turmoil with disorder in the natural world? Can I just have everything in a giant windstorm like in As For Me And My House? Can I have a code word, like purple elephant, that signals hidden emotion? Could this not become an awesome drinking game?

Actual book reviews are coming later this week. I promise.


Lisa said...

Apparently Novels Should Have Structure - I agree with your many Ugh's. I hate writing in structure. I prefer a lovely unpredictable chaos that normally ends up with the middle part first, beginning second and the last gets tossed out at some point and everyone becomes someone else. Magically.
However I think this leaves me with a wandering, disgruntled and lost reader. Not cool, but still slightly satisfying.
Upset Apple Cart: Results from my Pie-Hole

Kate said...

Actual book reviews would be nice, but I think that your NaNoEdMo updates are much more amusing!

B.Kienapple said...

Ha. Thank you Kate. Lately my blog seems to read I AM SO UPSET ABOUT EVERYTHING! *stomp stomp* Anyway, I live to entertain. And I hope you find that copy of The Sentimentalists you've been looking for!

Lisa, structure is tedious but I've developed a thirst for blood. I'm determined to break the thing, and make it presentable enough to read. Are you doing #NaNoWriMo? And congrats on starting your blog!

Lisa-Marie said...

Sadly... no. I've only just acquainted myself last week with NaNoWriMo so if I DID start now I'd probably have to become a recluse and I don't think my boss would like that so much.

But next year!

For me it's just regular writing that breeds a disdain for structure. Good luck though on your novel! I feel your pain and determination to break it, and I’ll probably keep in the loop to prepare myself for when I might tackle it myself.

And thanks for checking out the blog! Nothing like a little venting to keep the soul whole.

Kate said...

Well, if you can entertain us with this blog, you should be able to entertain us with your book!
I just got an e-mail from Amazon saying that they were canceling my order of The Sentimentalists due to "lack of availability". I may just wait 6 months and pick up a copy at the local bookstore!

Cozy in Texas said...

I stopped by your blog today. I write mysteries and apparently there's a formula for story progression - who knew? I do find it easier to outline though. By the way, I watched a Jeffrey Deaver interview and he said make sure you aren't in a humid area if you use sticky notes. He got up one morning to find an outline of his novel on the floor in a mountain of yellow.


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