Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Editing Your Vocabulary

We plot our ideas. Build our characters. Write our stories. We've spent time molding each chapter to our every specification.
Also known as the editing process.

Some find this portion an absolute disaster. No desire to flip through the notebook (or laptop) and make their manuscript shine. Not because they hate edits... but because they're scared.

I used to be one. I still have five novels untouched. Guess what... this is the first time I want to dig those broken pieces out of the invisible garbage and make them sparkle.

AJ Nuest... one of the editors at Still Moments Publishing showed me what fun editing can be. Yes, she pushed me farther than I probably wanted to be pushed. But every step of the way was worth it.

Who is my best friend while editing? AJ, definitely human wise... but I'm referring to the Thesaurus.

Words are fun! Us writers (misconstrued as geeks) have a love of words. I was forced (happily) to broaden my horizon in the writing world. I'm no longer writing simple sentences like - I ran through the forest. I allow myself to be more free and descriptive - I breathed deep, taking in the brisk air as the branches hit my ankles, my barefeet leaping across the leaves.

I stopped being afraid. I started to take chances. It's led me to three wonderful short stories being published in 2012. Sometimes believing in yourself is more powerful than others believing in us.

What's your favorite part about editing? How do you make it fun when it becomes daunting?

42 comments:

K. Turley (Clutzattack) said...

I had to edit my vocabulary... I had a few adults telling me they didn't know what certain words meant. : /

Laura Pauling said...

I think it would be doing just that - going through and making the language fun and descriptive!

Angela Brown said...

The Thesaurus is a very helpful tool. After all, there's more than one way to "Walk into a room." Once can, "cross the threshold, hesitantly, eyes cast downward as to not draw attention, or worse yet, see who noticed I made it to the party."

Miranda Hardy said...

You and I a very similar. I dreaded the editing process, putting it off as long as possible. I have a few manuscripts that I shelved, not wanting to dive into them.

I do enjoy finding that perfect action verb, though.

April Plummer said...

I LOVE editing, for exactly the reason you said - words are fun! I honestly don't know whether I prefer writing the first draft or going back and rearranging words and fragments and finding new words and learning new words...I truly love editing. Now I'm going to check out that other blog! Good luck with your 5 manuscripts!

Hannah Kincade said...

I think I'm mostly afraid that I'll edit the life out of something. I edited a small piece before and it seemed to have lost all it's magic and luster when I was done. That could just be my poor editing skills though...so that's my goal this year, make something ive written shiny.

Alice said...

Congrats on getting three stories published and here's to taking chances.

Jennifer Hoffine said...

I do love revising and editing...
I love the subtlties of language...and slicing and dicing to see how I can say more with less.

Congrats on overcoming your fears and getting your stories published!

Misha Gericke said...

I love seeing how my WiP improves with every round of edits.

When I'm daunted, I leave it alone for a few days until I can't wait to get back to it. Did I mention that I love my story too much to leave it alone for too long?

;-)

Meredith said...

Yay for taking chances and broadening our vocabulary! I love playing around with my word choice as I'm editing. Congrats!!!

Andrea Franco-Cook said...

I used to hate editing, but somewhere along the way I discovered it a lot easier than starting from scratch. At least I have something to work with.

Still don't think the process is fun, but I do enjoy the end result, a polished MS.

Christa said...

I'm so very proud of you. And yes, a good editor is worth their weight in gold:)

Nicole Zoltack said...

I prefer writing to editing which is probably why I have so many novels that now need to be edited...

Anyhow, I love when everything starts to fall into place and the story begins to shine.

When editing becomes daunting, I go back and reread a scene in the story that I love. It invigorates me to make the entire story like that scene.

SHANNON O'DONNELL said...

I've been working to craft my sentences, too. You're right--it's fun! :-)

Indigo said...

Love my Thesaurus! Thanks for the timely post - I'm determined to finally do the edits I need on my latest WIP. (Hugs)Indigo

Indigo said...

Love my Thesaurus! Thanks for the timely post - I'm determined to finally do the edits I need on my latest WIP. (Hugs)Indigo

Johanna Garth said...

I'm knee deep in editing right now. It's a book that's been on the shelf for two years and it's turning into something really good. YA Jen!! Right up your alley! :)

Jen Chandler said...

Hi Jen!

Congrats on the stories! That's wonderful news. I just started a linguistics class this term and one of our discussions have been on expanding our knowledge of grammar. It's daunting, as you said, and frightening to dig deep and move out of our comfort zone. But the rewards far out weight the sweat and tears when we take chances and win!

Happy Wednesday,
Jen C.

J. A. Bennett said...

I should do that becasue I'm seriously in a slump right now.

Lauren Alissa Hunter said...

I have a hard time imagining editing as ever being FUN! I find myself looking forward to doing it, but only because I have that writery masochism that loves the agony of polishing a story.

The Writing Hour. said...

I have one novel edited, one untouched manuscript, and my current WIP which I fully plan to edit when I'm done. I don't think I'll mind editing that one though, because I think the story is really good. I want to make it shine (cue sparkles)

And congrats on getting three things published, yay!

Joanne said...

What I like about editing is that it gives me the chance to go back into the story and really layer it. By editing time, I have a deeper understanding of that story, and enjoy bringing more detail to the page.

And I second The Writing Hour's congrats on getting three stories published this year ... What a great way to begin 2012 :)

Carolyn V said...

I eat chocolate to make it more fun. Love the chocolate. ;)

Tonya Kuper said...

Congrats on the short stories being pub'd this year!!! AWESOME!

I now understand that the novel really comes together and takes shape during revising/editing. THAT is what makes me excited & get me through it!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I like the editing phase because at that part, the story is down on paper and I can really see it. Getting to that point is the struggle.

Jessica Salyer said...

Still trying to get the first draft down, so I'll have to let you know later. Congrats on the three short stories being published!

Elana Johnson said...

Revising and editing is one of my favorite pieces of the writing puzzle. I think it's because I already know my first drafts are messy and half-baked, and it's only through the editing process that I can make them into readable stories.

Glad you found your belief in yourself!

Mindy McGinnis said...

My favorite part about editing is seeing how often I made a character raise their eyebrows, and then taking the tag out. It probably explains my own forehead wrinkles.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I like finding ways to tighten up scenes and getting rid of unneeded dialogue tags.

Jennie Bailey said...

I love fleshing the book out. I pick up all my little post-its and go back through to add. If I hit a rut, I'll open a document and just create a fun scene between my characters that doesn't ever end up in the book - it just reminds me why I loved them in the first place and gets me back on track!

Amy L. Sonnichsen said...

It is hard when you get to that point where you feel like you can't take it any further, but then you HAVE to. Last year I had a time like that where my brain HURT trying to edit because I'd been doing it so long and going over the same things again and again. But yes, the end result is golden. Congratulations again on your short stories, Jen! :)

Diana Mieczan said...

You are such an inspiration, sweetie. Have a great day, Muah

AJ Nuest said...

So, I wake up this morning to a Google alert for AJ Nuest -- and what do I find? This AWESOME POST by Jen Daiker! Whoo Hoo! You ROCK, sweetie! Thank you so much for the mention! You are just the BEST!

It's funny about words. My 9 yo daughter and I have a whole list of favorites. Topping the list are cartouche, pumpernickle, and of course, frivilous. They are just plain fun to say. Oh, and my latest favorite? Kerfuffle. Love that word.

Hugs to you Jen! Thank you!!

Li said...

My only way of making editing fun is to have a supply of tasty snacks and drinks on standby.

Liberty said...

Edits are not only fun, they are a sign that you have been recognized in an industry that is difficult to break into.

Words are a wonderful tool. If you don't use them, we will lose them. I love to read a book with words I don't know in them. If I don't know them from the context I look them up, that is how your individual vocabulary grows. Language is a growing organism.

Calisa Rhose said...

I just LOVE when words come together! Oh- and AJ is a great one to help make that happen. What a wonderful tribute, Jen!

Bish Denham said...

Such and excellent and timely post as I work on editing/revising a novel I wrote long ago that I really, really like, but needs an ocean of work. I'm liking it.

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

After going through the editing process many times, I must say editing has become something I look forward to. The hard work of pounding out the story is done. Now comes the shaping and filling in part that turns the magic on in your story. Great post!

Robert Guthrie said...

I love editing. Each edit is a step closer to getting it right.

Pk Hrezo said...

Glad you got those old stories out, Jen! The real writing really comes in revisions... i"ve learned that too. The first draft is me trying to get the story and plot out. Usually a big mess too. But I love that first round of revisions for tightening, and yes, pulling up the thesaurus. What a nifty tool it is.
Congrats on your short stories getting pubbed! So awesome!

Guinevere said...

You know, I find the editing process incredibly painful. But I love the finished product -- that's my favorite part of editing, and it's worth hanging in there when frustrated to get to that part. I re-read my edited work when I'm down and I can't believe that my original "allow yourself to write badly" dross has turned into something so... good. And that makes me excited to edit. :)

Leslie Rose said...

I love tweaking the rhythm of the words. My favorite part of editing is when surprises pop out of the draft as you revisit and show you how to take your idea further.