One of the things I looked forward to in having one of my manuscripts accepted for publication, was the opportunity to work with an editor. I thirsted to go to the next level in my writing. I wanted to learn more and grow as a writer. When Enslavement was accepted for publication, I was thrilled at the prospect of one of my manuscripts getting published, but also really looking forward to the editing process.My first round of edits came back with seven pages of notes and oodles of comments on the manuscript. Some of it seemed overwhelming, but I took them one at a time. The second round was even more daunting. There were hundreds of comments on the document. Again, I took a deep breath and fixed what needed fixing.
By the time the process was complete, I’d learned a few things about myself, my process, and my writing.
- Just write it. If I feel like I should write a scene, I should write it and keep it. I’d always heard of writers having to cut scene after superfluous scene, so I assumed I would need to do the same. So, I did. I cut. And I second guessed myself about the validity of writing certain scenes–were they really that important? Apparently they were. Almost all the issues I had plot wise were a result of me cutting some scenes or never writing others. I cut too much. I was too minimalist in my approach.
- Balance. Always balance. Every writing rule you will learn requires balance. I went too deeply into my characters emotional state, which distracted from the story as a whole. We need to know the characters emotional state, but that has to be balanced with all the other elements of the story. I ended up cutting a lot of heart pounding and teary eyes.
- Sequencing. I had my chain of events out of order. It was subtle. For example, mentioning someone stopped cold before mentioning that a dead body lay on the floor. The character would see the body, then stop cold. Sometimes I felt like an idiot for not seeing some of these things during the 20 some edits I put the manuscript through, but it’s difficult to see your own writing clearly.
So as I go into the editing process on Enslavement‘s sequel, I hope I’ve already corrected many of these issues. But, I’m sure there will be other problems this time. Learning to write is a lifelong process. There will always be more to learn. And that’s one of the things I love about being a writer.
Melinda Friesen writes short stories and novels for teens. Her first book, Enslavement, the first book in the One Bright Future series, was recently released from Rebelight Publishing Inc. Find it on Amazon.com. Learn more at www.melindafriesen.com.