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Monday, April 29, 2013

My Editing Diary: An Author's Journey

June 16, 2011
Dear Diary,
Today I finished the first draft of my novel. I wasn't sure if I'd ever finish it, but I finally did it! I am so elated. This is a great work and I can imagine it being read in high school and college literature classes one day. What an accomplishment. I could die tomorrow knowing that I would live on somehow, through my words. I'm on top of the world and I can't wait to see it in print. This is going to be a classic. It only took me a few months to write it. At this pace I could write three or four books every year!



June 19, 2011
Dear Diary,
I know I should give it more time, but I couldn't wait to get started editing my manuscript. I started proof reading it today and it's even better than I remembered it! I'm so excited. People are going to love this book. My proof read made it through two chapters today (that's 8% of the entire book!!). If I can keep this pace up, it will be ready to go to print in two weeks. I've only found a couple of typos! God, I'm good.



June 21, 2011
Dear Diary,
Editing is going well. I have a long way to go, but I feel like I'm really going to get through this. It's not as hard as I've heard people say it is. I'm even finding some quirky uses of the English language in my style. There are a lot of linking words in my sentences like "although" and "finally" and "just then" that seem to give the overall work a warm, classic feeling. I'm discovering that I write just like I talk and I think people are really going to respond to that. The book is over 25% edited today!



June 24, 2011
Dear Diary,
Just for fun, I used my word search feature to see how many times I used the word "although" in the manuscript. It popped up 287 times. That seemed a little bit excessive, but there are a lot of words in a manuscript so it might not be so bad. Spent the day clicking down the list of them and reading the sentences they're in. I made it about 1/3 of the way through the list.



August 18, 2011
Dear Diary,
I've spent the last two months performing word searches and then editing my overused terms. Here is a list I discovered from the first draft and how many times they appeared:
Although   287 times
Because   884 times
And Then   917 times
Finally   471 times
It Seemed   558 times
Still   1,176 times
Who uses "it seemed" 558 times in their entire life, let alone within the confines of a single 75,000 word document? That's just crazy. Each time I performed a new search on a word, my heart sank and my stomach turned. It turns out my "style" isn't quirky at all. It was just bad grammar. At least now I can finally get back to editing. Shit. I just used the word "finally" again.




November 21, 2011
Dear Diary,
I made it half way through a chapter when I noticed that for some reason I had an entire paragraph with everything using apostrophes that looked like this:
     "He'd found that he couldn't live without her, but she'd never know it."
While the next paragraph wouldn't have any:
     "He had found that he could not live without her, but she would never know it."

Spent the last three months performing searches of variations of words and adding apostrophes. My list of possible searches has grown to over 100 variations. Did not, will not, would not, they are, we are, you are, we had, might have, and the list goes on and on and on. Who would've ever imagined that I'd need to add 2,857 apostrophes? I feel like such an idiot. Thought about throwing my laptop off the roof today. Good thing I don't live in the city where there are tall buildings.



December 15, 2011
Dear Diary,
I took some time off of editing to reflect upon commas today. They've ceased to make any sense to me at all. I spent a week rereading all of their rules of usage, but each new sentence I read becomes more confusing than the last. I started over on the edit and seemed to remove almost every comma in the first chapter, while adding several hundred that weren't there to begin with. Am I losing my mind?I must be the stupidest bastard alive. My ten year old kid can use a comma correctly. I am, a f@cking idiot.



June 21, 2012
Dear Diary,
It took me more proof reads than I could count and an entire year, but I finally did it. The manuscript was polished to perfection and today I received a box of my own paperback books in the mail. I'm going to take them to the local coffee shop and sell some. There are so many people who are excited to read it. I felt like a kid on Christmas morning opening the box. Perfecting the book was so much harder than I thought it would be, but it's so rewarding to know that it's finally polished and perfect. It's beautiful!



July 17, 2012
Dear Diary,
My middle school English teacher called me last night. She said she'd read the book and thought it was pretty good. She also said that she had trouble following the story at times because the perspective was confusing, and I'd used the term "donned on him" instead of the correct "dawned on him" twice. She said that I probably already knew that the girl introduced in Chapter 17 was a brunette on one page and then turned into a "black haired beauty" on the very next page. Then, she mumbled something about a lack of character development before I inexplicably dropped the phone. I spent the rest of the night curled into a fetal position on the kitchen floor. My phone was beeping. I didn't notice it for six hours.



May 22, 2042
I think I've finally completed the polishing of the 34th revised edition of my first book. It's some of the worst swill that I've ever read, but at least it's finally finished. I pray that when I'm dead and gone that nobody ever reads this crap and I wish to hell that I could get back the first two thousand copies I've sold in the last 30 years. They are crap. At least now I can finally begin work on my second novel...

Thanks for reading!

Buzz

9 comments:

  1. I laughed OUT LOUD at "worst swill" in the final paragraph of this post. I do not laugh out loud. I do not laugh in general. I'm a tough SOB when it comes to making me laugh. Now if you told me that you forgot to click SAVE for those revisions, THEN I'd laugh.
    Kinda makes ya wish you'd taken bank robber more seriously at career day, huh?

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    1. Yes, Doc, it does. I am going insane from editing these last few weeks. Nobody ever tells you that there are about 200 different things that you have check for on an edit (if they did ever tell me that in a class somewhere, I probably wasn't paying attention because what a boring subject this editing is). About the time you think you're done, you realize there is some other language quirk of yours or some other tiny piece of the English language that you've forgotten to check for. It's a painful thing and couldn't be said better than you have with the little stick figure on your website that ultimately bashes his own head into the computer.

      http://thelunaticassylum.com/2013/04/26/admitted-to-the-lunatic-assylum/

      Thanks for reading, Doc!

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  2. Just sitting at the arena as the Zamboni clears the ice waiting for the game to start and trying to stifle my snorts. How have agents passed you by? My God, the commas, THE COMMAS! Holy hell you are funny. And brilliant. Finally your perfect book is next. Should be starting on the weekend. Can't wait.

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    1. Well, usually when agents pass me by, they honk, toss beer bottles and refuse out the window at me, and then swerve to hit the puddle just right if it's been raining. All I ever hear from the roar of their engine and their laughter as they pass. Don't remind me about the commas, Megan. They haunt me in my dreams,

      Thank you for taking the time out of your hockey adventure to stop by! I know in Canada that is like a Southern Baptist taking a moment out of snake handling to read my swill, so I'm pretty appreciative of you thinking of me!

      As always, thank you again for your kind words and for reading.

      Buzz

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  3. HAHA! This is hilarious. I completely agree though. This is how I feel about editing. My advice- hire someone. I edited- then edited more- and then again- one more time- and a last time. I looked into an editor and although pricey totally worth it! Editing your own work is impossible- you'll always miss something. Good luck! Funny post.

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    1. There's no other way you can feel about editing is there, Taylor? I'm going to hire an editor too. But first I have to sell a couple more thousand copies of my typo ridden swill so I can afford one. So, until then, I'm marketing them as a choose your own adventure type book, where every copy comes with a red highlight pen and you get to place your own commas wherever you want them!

      Thanks for reading, Taylor! It's always great to hear from you, and I am always inspired by your enthusiasm.

      Buzz

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  4. I rarely find someone who makes me laugh out loud but I am loving your sense of humour, Buzz:) When will the current WIP be published?

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    1. Jane! I wasn't aware that anyone actually read back posts. This is very encouraging (and also a little disturbing...I may have to go back and edit them all now).

      To date, I've written 3 novels. They are dramatic fiction and locally based, but Silence of Centerville has picked up a following beyond my own area.

      The WIP (my first anything with a hint of comedy) should be due out this Summer or early fall. But if editing keeps up at the current pace, I'd look for it to be released sometime in 2025. Damn, I do hate editing. It's such a painful process. I'll send it to you immediately and you can take over the final edit. Thanks for reading, Jane! We've enjoyed having you cast about with us in the G+ Community Literary Agents Hate Kittens!

      Buzz

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  5. I'm afraid I'm one of those irritating people who pop up all over the place:)I often read back posts - but of course that all depends if I think I'm going to be interested or not:) Some blogs I don't get passed the first line. (Especially, if it mentions cats, dogs or Kim Kardashian.)

    Three books and this is the first humorous one? It must have flowed out of you if you've kept it in all that time! I am looking forward to it already - there is not enough humorous fiction. Are you having some problems with editing? Feel free to expound..

    ps I have years of back posts full of typos and grammatical errors. I went back with the idea of checking them not long ago - I gave up after five posts there were so many. Not a lot's changed over six years:))

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