December 15, 2002
The Month After

Well, so here it is. December. The novel's done. Yes, I did, indeed, make it past 50,000 words. And now its December. And I'm editing.

Gods, I forgot how intensive editing can be. I'm on all of about chapter 3. Of almost 30 chapters! This is going to take a VERY long time. On the other hand, its productive, and will probably pad the whole thing by another 5-10k or so.

I'm finding a lot of places where I need to do research in order to find out better details for better description. Yes, I know I lack description. I tend to write talking heads in white rooms. I'm great at dialog. My characters spring off the page like there's a teenager talking at you in your living room.

Problem is, that teenager could be in a car, standing in the backyard, in the middle of a raging snowstorm or earthquake or volcano... you get the picture. Or rather, you get that there *is* no picture.

Its my downfall. I lack in details. Always have. So its the point that I have to go work the hardest on during the editing phase. And its hard, real hard, to put in description after the fact and not interrupt the flow of the dialog.

In fact, I often find that description heavy works tend to lack the same sort of flow of the dialog that I enjoy. So how do I balance it? How do I make it so that the two balance out and you still get good, realistic dialog but also know just enough about where they are to make it all make sense?

Its a constant battle. Dunno if I'll win, but I'm having fun trying.

But the real problem with editing is this. Even at my most tired, in the middle of NaNo I could still sit down and just start typing. Knock out another coupla hundred words. Editing requires dragging my manuscript around the house with a colored pen and scribbling all over it. Not quite so easy. And at the same time, I'm finally writing down a timeline and trying to add in some consistency where I know its lacking, even in the little things, like descriptions. I've even drawn a map of the house part of the action takes place in. I needed it. I'd contradicted myself on the layout of the downstairs five or six times by the time I was done.

Editing is cumbersome. But its necessary. After all, if I don't edit, I don't get to mail it out. And then I'll never achieve my goal of being able to go Christmas shopping in Lee one year and walk over to the YA section and say "hey! there's my book!"


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