Weekly Writing Check-In: Dissected and Disolved

Dead @ “militarily”

Quiet week from me, thanks to yet another six-day day-job work week aaaaand lots and lots of gaming! Teehee~. Oh well, girl’s gotta do what she’s gotta do to stay out of a nervous breakdown, right?

Of course, there was editing. A lot of editing. Every night editing! But nothing exciting, just the usual editing monotony madness that comes with buckling down and getting stuff done. That said, here are this week’s progress reports!


So I had a real “OH NO I DIDN’T~” moment this week when I was looking over my notes for this first draft on Thursday. There’s a really, really important plot/character development point that needs to happen in this novel, and I TOTALLY forgot the set-up in the draft that I have so far and I’m kicking myself over it. See, there’s no place to go back and put it without forcing it in/changing everything. I was not happy. Well, I managed to fix it. The original scene was going to take place in Japan (where my characters are en route now) but I figure it could just as easily take place State-side. The scene takes place in a psychiatric hospital, and part of the original drama was going to be in language issues (the character involved doesn’t speak Japanese very well) buuuuuut I’m pretty sure America’s ~amazing health care system~ can bring just as much drama. Especially back in 2007 in which the story takes place. Of course this means I have to do all new research now. I know a lot of about hospitals in Japan but now it’s time to depress myself with stories about American hospitals. Yay! (Either way, I’m problem solving! Go me!)


 Editing sucks. Actually, no, I take that back.  I like editing. I just don’t like it when it laughs in my face.

Since this is no longer MASSIVE READ THROUGH TIMEZ for clarity, flow, and checking for major holes, I have to get into the real nitty gritty of every chapter, and I didn’t skimp on the first one. For now it’s “finished” (until later of course, because editing is never really finished, sigh) but it gave me a headache. You see, I have a very specific way I do these detailed edits. Here’s the breakdown:

Step 1: Do a careful read through of the whole chapter, changing anything I feel like/needs changing along the way. I get rid of lingering adverbs and passive sentences that stick out to me. The real focus of this, however, is analyzing characterization, especially in these first few chapters. I ended up changing one scene entirely because I did not like how FMC2 came across at all.

Step 2: Run a search and destroy of adverbs, aka ADVERB SLAYER mode. This starts with the obvious “ly” search, and then searching for non-ly adverbs that I know I’m notorious for over-using. A lot of adverbs that survived the first main edit were culled this time. My goal is to not have more than 1-2 “ly” adverbs in prose per chapter. (My chapters are usually 15-30 pages in length, single spaced, so I think this is acceptable. Also, this all only refers to non-dialogue adverbs.)

Step 3: Passive sentences, ugh. This is trickier to search for because not every sentence that holds the key words are passive, and damn you “to be”. Word threw a fit at a couple passive sentences that I decided to leave in because they’re in dialogue, and sorry Word, that’s how they talk. Get over it. This is my least favorite step at all because I just hate searching for passive sentences. Anyone know of a good  program that can do it for me? Heh.

Step 4: Said. Now, this isn’t necessarily OMG EVIL KILL THEM ALL search and destroy. This is because I tend to use said as a crutch as I write, when words don’t need to be there at all! So I search for “said” and see if it’s actually functioning or if a tag is totally unnecessary to begin with. It’s usually about half and half.

There’s other little sub-steps in there, but those are the four main ones. With the goal of doing one chapter a week (remember how I said some chapters are 30 pages long, single spaced? Yup. A week is good stuff for me!) I usually do Step 1 for three days (it’s very careful, close reading) and each other step is one day. That gives me about one break a week if  I decide to take it.

Overall, I deleted about 1000 words this week. Not bad!

Sometimes you reach a point in editing where, you know there are still some passive sentences/adverbs left over that don’t need to be there, but you just don’t care anymore man. You just can be assed to look for them because yuo’re sick of it. Suddenly it’s the beta readers’/editor’s problem. Yeah. That’s the spirit!

It’s not my problem at all~