I've reached this point in the editing process where I was starting to get daunted by what I had in my book. Some great feedback from some beta-readers (and by great, I mean honest opinions about things I need to work on), had me wondering if I was ever going to "finish" my book.
I know there are some things about the book that need to get hammered out. That's why I gave it to beta-readers in the first place. That being said, nothing they have told me has really surprised me. Deep down, I know that there are some holes that need fixing.
Which leads me to my most recent read.
Story Fix by Larry Brooks.
Larry Brooks is a published author who also happens to coach and has a sensational career going around to conferences and teaching people how to fix the problems with their story. I read his book Story Fix per a suggestion of a friend.
Some books on writing are so dry or filled with concepts or ideas that I think are common knowledge. For example. I once read a book that said over and over to just sit down and write. Basically, convincing me that all things like plot, arc, characterization, etc were irrelevant if you weren't writing. That's true, but there was little more to offer than that mantra over and over. I can find that for free within just about any internet meme out there about writing.
Story Fix was transformative. Brooks doesn't offer to make the job of editing easier, but more clear. That's the best way to describe what happened here.
First, I started reading and became daunted with negative thoughts. "What if I read this book and it tells me that I don't know what I'm doing?" "I don't know what half of these twelve elements even mean, how am I going to write a book?" "I'm never going to get published!!!!"
After my "pre-test" if you will, he goes on to explain these twelve basic components in more detail.
Again, nothing surprised me, but it does help you step by step into checking off each individual component and helping you fix it. What I'm left with, after reading Story Fix in full, is a renewed sense of purpose with my novel, a fresh outlook, and an eagerness to edit.
I'd recommend this for anyone who has completed their first or second draft and doesn't know where to start editing/how to decide what needs editing.
Onwards and upwards-
So I wanted to go ahead and clarify a few things after my post yesterday, and talk a bit about my process thus far.
1) I did not WRITE 54,000 words in three days.
My goal this year for Camp NaNo was to finished editing my novel. I got started early, completing half of it before April even started. I was at about 42,000 disjointed words before I started this edit and I've ended with 54,117 words.
My first draft was in third person, had some major plot holes, and some extra characters/scenes that just flat out didn't need to be there. I liked the idea of them more than they were necessary.
So this spring, I've gone through the book point by point, writing several lists that had to do with plot and what needed to happen in what order in the book. I found this incredibly helpful. I started my novel using an outline, but as anyone who has written an outline knows- things change.
My revised outline (which I had been avoiding doing for some unknown reason- maybe I felt tied to the original?) was incredibly helpful. I went through Scrivener, getting rid of what I didn't need, and reorganizing my entire novel chapter by chapter. What I was left with was a clean and concise picture to go forward.
And go forward I did!
It was like a lightbulb had gone off for me. There was no stopping the inspiration that flowed.
So when I began Camp Nano, I was already halfway through my novel. I began with 42,000 but my goal was 60,000 (my best guess at what it would be when it was all said and done). The next three days (and I swear, I don't know how I did this because I had a multitude of other things going on and three kids)- went by q u i c k!
Before I knew it, I had my novel all set and pretty and ready to go.
So what now?
I have three steps.
So here's to me finishing up a good draft and hopefully finding my agent !