Today I’m hosting a guest post by K.L. Kranes, author of YA fantasy “The Travelers”. Enjoy!
My Machiavellian Approach to Editing
Machiavelli was an Italian Renaissance historian, politician, philosopher, and writer of The Prince, not the first person you think of when talking about the process of editing. His name and the term “Machiavellianism” often evoke negative sentiments, such as emotional detachment and duplicitous personalities. Yes, it’s a bit unconventional to describe my editing style in this way. However, for me, editing needs this high degree of almost callous detachment in order to be effective. It’s the yin to the yang of my writing process. When I write, I pour my emotions out on paper. Sometimes it streams out of me. Other times I yank it out of me. But it always comes straight from my heart. When editing, though, I must turn off those emotions. To put it in more literary terms, if I my writing process represent Dr Jekyll, my editing process is Mr. Hyde. It must be cold, unfeeling, maybe even a little brutal. I love the quote “write drunk; edit sober” from Ernest Hemingway, not that I encourage writing drunk. But the concept of writing without abandon and then returning to edit later with clear, focused detachment has merit.
It took me 10 years to write my first novel, The Travelers. Although, to be accurate, I should say it took me 10 years to edit The Travelers. I completed the first draft in just a few months. Over the next decade, it feels so strange to say that, I took a sometimes painful journey in figuring out my editing process. Slowly over the years, I learned to identify when I spin or obsess too long over a sentence or paragraph. Now, I know when to stop, move on and come back to it later or cut out the material altogether. Most importantly, I’ve learned to let go, separate from the story and characters and look at it objectively. When I first started editing The Travelers, I would get so attached to ideas, characters or even just the way I described something that I’d twist and manipulate the story just to keep in some small part I liked. But 10 years of fighting through that process taught me that it’s better to take a calculated, as I said Machiavellian, approach to editing where I sever all emotional ties to the story, writing or ideas. It becomes a surgical, unfeeling process, where I remove or alter a piece so the rest of the work can survive. It’s not glamorous or exciting to talk of editing in this way. It’s a practical process. Once I figured this out, though, I became much more efficient. It certainly won’t take me 10 years to edit my next book.
About the Book
Title: The Travelers
Author: K.L. Kranes
Genre: YA Fantasy
Dagny lives a dangerous life. Pursued by an unknown enemy, Dagny and her family are always on the run and must use magic to stay hidden and safe. When Dagny meets Marc, everything changes. For the first time, she can imagine a future that doesn’t involve constantly changing her life. Despite the risk, Dagny vows to stop running. But as their enemies start closing in, Dagny wonders if she can ever really live a normal life and if she can actually trust Marc.
K.L. Kranes, author of The Travelers, lives in the Washington, DC metro area with her husband and daughter. She graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in Communications. K.L. moved to New York City after college and worked in public relations before returning to her true passions of writing and editing. When not working on her next YA novel or blogging, she works as a freelance writer and editor. In her spare time, she enjoys hanging out with her family and trying out new potential hobbies. Her latest endeavors include driving her dog crazy as she learns the guitar and making a fool of herself as a novice swing dancer. For more information on K. L. check out her website www.klkranes.com or www.thetravelersbook.com.