It’s December and I am unsure where the year has gone.The last couple months have seemed to drag along, but it’s time for holiday cheer, egg nog, cookies, lights and all that jazz!
As the year winds down, I got the first round of Developmental Edits from my agent (Developmental edits are 30,000 foot big picture edits of the manuscript, plot, pacing, character arcs, etc.). I know a lot of folks don’t like the editing process, but I actually enjoy it. What do you like more, editing or writing? I’m curious, email me and let me know!
When people ask why do you need to work with critique partners, writing groups or developmental editors, I always say, “they are the eyes in the author’s blind spots.”
That’s right. No matter how much love I’ve put into crafting a twisty plot that will keep you turning the page, the tone, pacing, emotional growth of my characters always improve going through these important developmental edits.
Always remember not to take the comments personally. I know it is hard to send your baby out into the world and someone tells you your favorite scene drags on, before you go into crazy mode, remember these are just suggestions, one person’s thoughts, but this is someone whose judgment you respected enough to send you baby to in the first place.
So, when I get back comments, I read them, I mumble and curse to myself under my breath about how idiotic the negative comments are (the positive comments are always spot on) then I put the comments away (I may read the positive comments again, but then put it away) for a couple days or so, and busy myself with something else. After the excitement of finally moving forward with the manuscript fades a bit, I approach each comment in a serious and thoughtful way.
Even if you disagree with a comment or potential change, you should revisit that scene or the character’s emotional arc, tone, sensitivity, colorism, physical abuse, sex, abrasive language, etc.
If you are still hesitant to go in and take the scalpel or sledgehammer to your baby, copy the section(s) or chapter(s) in question into a new document (save it as MS_awesome_as_is), turn on track changes (they should already be on) and then experiment with changing the scene or section within your manuscript, and see what you think (ask yourself honestly, do things read better? The same? Or the original was the bee’s knees!)
I’ll be the first to admit that cutting and rewriting big chunks of your perfect baby is hard. My WYS_awesome_as_is file for Will You Still Love Me… was about 20,000 words over a couple rounds of Developmental edits (I cut an entire chapter), but in the end the pacing of several chapters improved, characters and plot lines I introduced but never fully fleshed out were removed and all this created space to more fully explore the world and growth of the main characters of the novel, Alex, Marci and Leslie.
And, bonus that chapter and other stuff you cut may be useful as a scene in the sequel (Did I mention I finished the first draft of Will You Still Love Me If I Become Someone Else part 2!)
Okay, I’m going to get off my, “editing is great,” soapbox, but I’ll share more of my process as I go along, like how I edit scenes in my stories using Comic book Panel formatting. But, more on that later.
Speaking of Comics, I just found out earlier this week that Rabbit Hole of Research (atomicnumber14 (Georgia) and I) will have a table at the NWI-Comic Con in February 12th 2022!!!
Mark your calendar: more details coming soon!
If you missed it:
My paranormal romance werewolf shifter novella, ‘Eve’was released October 31st in the Moonlight Anthology! You can Order it Now: Kindle Unlimited, ebook and paperback!
Jotham Austin, II lives in Chicagoland with his wife and two sons. He has his PhD in Botany, and can be found taking electron micrographs of cells at The University of Chicago. His Rom-Com novella, “Tomorrow May Be Too Late” will be published as part of the romance anthology, “Askew Ever After,” January 2021. His debut novel, a sci-fi psychological thriller, ‘Will You Still Love Me, If I Become Someone Else?” will be released February 2021. Jotham recently started a newsletter that explores the science in science fiction (signup at jothamaustin.com). Preorder books and Follow Jotham on social media at https://linktr.ee/Jothamaustin
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