Young Adult Dark Urban Fantasy Author ~

Editing To Deadlines

The ARCS Are Out.

So … I’m official, I guess.

Anyone who’s been reading my blog with any regularity over the last three years knows I’ve been working on my novel, TIED for quite a while. They know I went on submission about a year ago with a mixture of fear and anxiety. Somehow I made it through with a publishing contract.

Fast forward another year later, and I’m holding the print copy of TIED in my hands.

The official ARCS went out to bloggers and reviewers on Monday. The email from my publisher came over that morning, and I kind of ignored it. *continues writing TORN ignoring that TIED just released to over 200 people who are going to pick it a part.*

Wednesday night, UPS delivered the print copy (the ARC), and I just kind of stared at it while everyone else jumped around, giving me high fives, and ooh’s and aah’s.

When an author receives an ARC (ebook or print or both) the last and final round of edits are made. Small stuff really. Punctuation errors, acknowledgement page, etc … nothing too big or time consuming‚ÄĒor so they tell me. ūüėČ

I haven’t started the edits yet. I’m still staring at the book.

IMG_3332

I guess I’m really doing this. Where’d the last three years go?


What’s In Being A Contracted Author?

Our computers

Our computers (Photo credit: aranarth)

Fear.

Yep, I said that.

Getting a publishing contract is everything you’ve wanted, everything you’ve worked your ass off for, and when you sign on the dotted line, everything you’re afraid of.

It’s a truth I think a lot of authors keep under wraps because some days when you sit staring at your story, the one that has a deadline attached to it now, the one that needs to be as close to perfect as you can make it—some days, it can feel like you’ve signed yourself up to fail. The days when nothing makes sense and you wonder who in their right mind, including yourself, ever thought your story could actually sell. The days when fear seeps in and hangs on.

From the legalese of contracts, to the swell of accomplishment in your chest that is almost immediately replaced by the tightening of panic, to the real edits and real deadlines, being a contracted, and soon to be published, author is both thrilling and terrifying.

But, in those split seconds when rays of light shine through the blinds in your mind, it is incredibly gratifying. The times when, for once, there are no blue, red, or green edits marking up your pages and your comments come back with “Great!” instead of “Huh?” or “Powerful.” instead of “Make it clearer.” Those are the days when every drop of doubt and ounce of fear is worth it. The days when you’re proud as hell. Maybe they’re far and few between, but those rays of light keep the writing fire burning bright and remind you that you should feel proud, maybe even excited–even if only for a second. ūüėČ


What’s In An Editor? (Why Do I Sound Like An Adult?)

I tend to scribble a lot

I tend to scribble a lot (Photo credit: Unhindered by Talent)

Young Adult fantasy novels are my first go-to on reading shelves. My first love of books in general. I write them too. Pretty well, I think. At least in content, anyway. ūüôā Sometimes, however, “Laney, YA writer” gets crossed with “Laney … well, Laney.”

Why do I sound like an adult sometimes when I write? Besides the fact that I¬†am¬†one, I get caught up in the flurry of the story–action scenes, love scenes– and¬†I occasionally forget contractions and ‘teen speak’, as my editor calls it. When I’m on a writing roll, I write what I see in my head.¬†The words kind of disappear. Strange? Maybe so.

Stories read like moving pictures for me. Like a blur of color. My editor slows the view down so I can see what’s staring back at me from the screen. It’s an invaluable tool.

Writers need editor’s eyes. They are programmed to see what we miss. Although, sometimes it may feel nit picky or overwhelming–we need to¬†use it, learn from it.

My story reads tighter, cleaner … better. As far as I’m concerned, the frustration that can come from full-blown edits¬†are worth every ounce of hair pulling and head banging. The goal is to produce the best story I can. Even if that means cringing every time I open a document to find blue ink covering my pages. ūüėČ


What’s In An Editor? Part 2. (How Do You Feel?)

Pre-Final edits are in full swing, so forgive my sporadic blog posts of late. The writing pendulum is searching for the mid-point.

Turns out¬†real editing¬†with¬†changes¬†and revisions takes a while. Add in a deadline and … yeah, it’s a time stretch. With that in mind, I’m continuing my What’s In An¬†Editor¬†post series (a spin-off of What’s In A¬†Beta Reader). And since I’m new to the editing game, it will be a work in progress. Here we go:

I keep asking myself, “How would you feel?” Or, “What does that¬†look¬†like?”

Feelings are hard to write. For me. Well, I should reword. Feelings are hard to¬†show¬†in my writing. It’s a point of head banging lately. Rewriting sections to show instead of tell. Showing say …¬†scrutiny, for example, causes my head to ache. How would I¬†show¬†scrutiny? It’s a good question. One that I’m working on.

The Emotion Thesaurus¬†by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi is an invaluable tool. One that I use from time to time (more often lately). It doesn’t, however, give a writer all the answers. It simply leads them a bit farther down the ‘expressive’ path. After that, showing is still in the mind of the writer. Showing without repetition … harder still.

I’ll move back to my example. The sentence I needed to alter per my editor was this one:¬†I scrutinized both of them.¬†

So, how do I show scrutiny?

Here’s the definition: A critical observation or examination.

I could have my character shake his/her head, but I do a lot of head shaking (it’s an easy and probably overdone fix). ¬†I could have a disbelieving eye roll (also a bit overdone even though I like eye rolling). How about narrowing eyes? That works. When we are skeptical of someone’s behavior we narrow our eyes in disbelief.

Still, it’s a crap shoot. Seeing eye to eye on every little detail is unlikely when it comes to editing, but your words should feel¬†right. Put yourself in your characters shoes and ask yourself, “How do I feel?”

Nobody said editing would be easy.

WRITE ON, WRITERS!