Today I’d like to welcome Lacey Dearie to my blog. She’s the author of chicklit / fairytale romance “Cherry Lips” and will be talking about her editing process today. Welcome!
GUEST POST – MY EDITING PROCESS
I don’t believe I have ever been asked to analyse part of my writing in detail before so this is something new for me. I have a strange, backwards approach to my work that would many authors cringe and I’m sure my editing technique is basic, at best.
When I begin a book, I begin with the title, which is something I know most writers leave until the very end. I’ve known friends of mine to write entire novels without knowing the title beforehand. With me, I have a list of titles from which to work. I then put together a cover based on what that title might conjure up and then write the book from there. When I edit, I never really have a clear idea of what I want to do beforehand and it’s different for each book. The first step though is putting it aside for at least a fortnight to put some distance between myself and the work, forget it and look at it later with fresh and objective eyes.
It’s rare that I’ll have to do a complete re-write of one of my short stories and most get one basic edit but with novels, I always do at least one re-write. Cherry Lips was a completely different story when I first wrote it. It was a Nanowrimo project and written in thirty days so I just battered through the first draft without giving it too much thought.
My first task was to read through what I had done and decide if it was good enough. The plot wasn’t satisfactory and some of the characters were weak, particularly my protagonist. So, what I did was construct a character bible, with handwritten profiles of each character. I renamed some so that their names suited them, wrote down the details of who they already were and who I actually wanted them to be and I referred back to it each time I re-wrote a chapter. It stopped me from having a character who had blue eyes in one scene and green the next. It sounds like such a simple thing to remember but when you’re an author you have literally dozens of people walking around in this imaginary world, so you sometimes need that memory jogger.
Once I had done that, taking one chapter at a time, and the re-write was complete, I went through each chapter, editing three times. The first edit looked at detail. I fleshed it out, which is something you’re apparently not supposed to do, but I do it anyway. I added in weather, temperature, smells, sounds, hairs tingling and palms sweating. All those things that give texture to a scene were put in and I took nothing out.
On my second edit, I deleted unnecessary words and cut out paragraphs that didn’t add anything to the story or had no descriptive quality. If it didn’t progress the story at all, it was cut, and I deleted a lot of dialogue this way. I probably trimmed about ten percent of the book. I also took out a lot of adverbs and asked myself if I could use one word where there had previously been two. The other job at that stage was to look at sentence construction. I don’t always write with perfect grammar, despite being told that I should. Sometimes, perfect grammar looks, sounds and feels clumsy. I write in a style that feels right and where possible grammatically correct but if that looks too formal, I change it. The best thing about writing chick-lit is that it’s informal. I like that.
On my third edit, I simply proof-read. Any spelling errors are corrected and there’s always the occasional cut/paste mistake where something doesn’t make sense any more.
I always love hearing about everyone else’s editing methods and perhaps one day I’d like to use a professional editor to see what recommendations would be made to my techniques.
About the Book
Author: Lacey Dearie
Cerise is not a witch. She’s an apprentice herbalist whose father is a wannabe warlock and fairy godmother is a madame. But Cerise has a closely guarded secret – the cherry lip-stain she manufactures and sells to the richest and most powerful women in the land is a potent aphrodisiac that makes the wearer irresistible. Of course, with such power comes responsibility, something Cerise did not consider while she was testing each batch of the product on the men of her home town.
Soon, word of the magical make-up reaches the childless Queen Merewald, and she becomes determined to uncover the secrets of the lip-stain herself and use them to seduce her ageing, impotent husband, King Palen. Her best chance is to send her feline brother-in-law, Blaxton, to befriend Cerise and spy on her. What the Queen didn’t count on was her nephew falling for Cerise without the use of magic or her niece using their jester as bait to uncover the secrets before she did.
Cherry Lips is a chick-lit fairytale about a medieval amateur cosmetologist, a nymphomaniac witch, a kinky jester, an unconventionally handsome prince, a wizard with magical healing powers, a castle made of sand and crystals, magical lip-stain that makes the wearer irresistible and cats. Lots and lots of cats.
Lacey Dearie is the creator of the best-selling Leger – Cat Sleuth Mysteries Series about a talking Glaswegian cat detective. She loves observing cats and their idiosyncrasies and has a particular fondness for black cats with amber eyes or pretty calicos. She would own a house full of pets if her allergies allowed it.
She is also the author of chick-lit novel and Amazon UK Top 100 best-seller, The Tangled Web (currently available only on Createspace), chick-lit fairytale Cherry Lips, two nonsensical short stories about amorous foods and the soon to be released Candlelight Lane Mysteries which blend culinary cozies and magical realism.
In her spare time she loves to travel and is a regular visitor to Cyprus – a place that has influenced almost every story she writes as much as her home country, Scotland. She has a personal blog dedicated to lingerie and fragrances, studies perfumery and is a tiny bit obsessed with cute stationery and ska.
Lacey loves to hear from her readers and can be contacted on Twitter as @laceydearie (please be aware of adult content) or on her Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/laceydearie (family friendly).
Amazon US: Amazon US
Amazon UK: Amazon UK
Amazon CA: Amazon CA
Amazon AU: AMAZON AU
E-Store where you can purchase a signed copy with author swag included in the price: laceydearie.storenvy.com
Author Facebook page: www.facebook.com/laceydearie
Sign up form for the author’s mailing list