Guest Post: My Editing Process
From almost every author offering instruction, you hear guidance along the lines of Just write. Forget about the quality until the rewrite or the edit. Your aim is to get words on paper. It is good advice for a beginner, who looks at the blank page and wonders how she is ever going to fill it. It is also advice I follow when I have writer’s block. From what I understand, the value in it is to engage the right and the left side of the brain in the different stages of the writing process, to allow the creative side to dominate in the creation of the work, and the logical side to come to the forefront when you want to refine it. I cannot deny there is sense in this.
For me, however, editing is implicit in the writing process. I agonise over each sentence or paragraph when I first pen it, rewriting and editing it until I am happy at that moment. Only then do I move on to the next. I might pen two or three hundred words at a stretch if I’m in the flow, but my day’s writing time will include going back and editing every sentence. Does it make for slow writing? Unquestionably. Does it make for good writing? I believe so, especially since I have heard other authors whose work I respect state this is their process.
The benefit for me of slow writing, of editing as I go, is the ability to craft a work with a distinct voice. I have found that if I lose the voice in a scene, it takes a disproportionate amount of time to rewrite it well. Voice is tantamount to expression, which is a function of editing, and voice these days seems to be the holy grail of writing. In establishing a voice early on, I can keep referring to early chapters to ensure consistency in later chapters. Added to this is the need for character mood to flow. If character drives plot, then a lack of refinement in this area skews the plot onto a tangent. It may be a deviation of the smallest degree, but getting it all back on track is, for me, hard, time-consuming work. Since I much prefer writing to rewriting, I will spend the time getting it almost right on the first draft.
Almost right means to say that of course I edit further. And again. And once, twice, maybe even three times again. After my second (or third) draft, I will take exquisite notice of every word. I consider myself finished when on reading the manuscript I make a miniscule number of cosmetic changes; when it takes me a whole minute or more to decide if the change does it fact improve the manuscript. There are times when I am tempted to leave a sentence because it reads okay. I must remind myself every time that in today’s market okay is not good enough, and if I wish to be honest, neither is good. The manuscript must be the absolute best I can make it at that time.
About the Book
Title: Dark Djinn
Author: Tia Reed
Duplicity and deception: aid from a djinn is a curse under any guise.
Betrothed to a cruel lord, Princess Kordahla dreams of fleeing to her decadent neighbour, a journey fraught with danger, and no promise of sanctuary at its end. Her one hope is to offer the southern shah a prize so valuable he cannot refuse to harbour her: the secret of the mahktashaan, the soldier-magicians sworn to protect her father’s court.
But the mahktashaan guard their magic with blooded sword, and in stealing one of their powerful crystals she will risk her life. Unless she accepts the help of a treacherous djinn intent on tricking her into a deal.
It is a compact which threatens to shatter the fragile peace in the Three Realms.
A gripping tale of realms besieged and honour lost, of blood-ties severed and romance dreamed, Dark Djinn begins an epic quest to save mortals from the schemes of djinn.
Tia Reed loves nothing better than burying her nose in a story of her own imagining, cuddling her bossy cat and rescuing chewed pillows from her hyperactive dog. She takes every opportunity to do all three when she is not teaching English as a second language. Her other hobbies usually take a back seat but include trying to tame her beast of a garden, hiking and travelling. The latter has thrown her many interesting, sometimes hair-raising experiences, which she loves twisting into stories. She was born in Malta, but lives in Adelaide, Australia.