Tuesday, March 20, 2007

On editing

At the moment, my brain is a bit fried. I am in the final stages of editing VC. I do love editing as you can suddenly without warning see a way to make the book better and stronger. I am currently doing my Donald Maass tension exercise. This involves going through the manuscript at random and tightening one sentence. In theory at fer you have done this for each page, you will have a far tighter more pacy novel. I suspect I am now very superstitous about this approach as I do it every time snd have done since I first sold.

It can be a pain to do as you really do have to justify sentences. Sometimes whole paragraphs. It is a mirco rather than macro way of looking at a novel.

I have gone about Donald Maass before, but I do find his workbook --Writing the Break Out Novel to be very useful. However, there are other writer friends who have made bonfires with his and other writing books and scattered them to the four winds. It alll depends on your comfort level.

I suspect one of the reasons I want this particular book to be excellent is that it will be my seventh for HM&B. I am mindful of the maxim Maass said -- it takes seven books to become an overnight success, but you have to push the snowball from the first book. Janet Evanovich is on record as saying that it took at least six books to gain a following. I have no idea about the truth of that or not. I simply know that I want my books to get better.

Sometimes, I feel that I should know what I am doing, but each book throws up new challenges. Perhaps it is one of the reasons why I love writing so much. You can never fully master it.

One of my c.p.s says that I am too close and that VC is really strong. Personally I shall feel much happier when my editor has seen it and given her thoughts.


Donna Alward said...

*snickers* thanks for demonstrating my point. :-)

It is the same reason why you say my writing is growing and I just can't see it. LOL.

Your seventh! You're cookin'! Stop worrying. It's a great story.

Anne McAllister said...

hang in there, Michelle! I'm sure your book will be great. And thank you for my lovely copy of Sold and Seduced. I'm keeping it for when I need an inspiring James-moment! Hope it won't be long.

helenf said...

Most writing books I read once and then pass to someone else. I hang on the Maass ones :)