Beautiful Books #3: The Editing Process


It’s the last day of the month, so it’s the perfect time to post my final Beautiful Books post for the month. Nothing like leaving time sensitive tasks until the very last minute to get the heart racing. For those who don’t know, Beautiful Books is a writing link-up hosted by the amazing duo, Cait@PaperFury, and Sky@Further Up And Further In. For the past two months, I’ve been discussing my NaNoWriMo 2015 project, Blood Debt, a novel set in a dystopian future where blood is currency, people require regular blood transfusions to live past their forties, and where debts are deadly. I managed to finish Blood Debt in November, and this month, for Beautiful Books, we’re looking back at how the book turned out, and ahead to its future.

On a scale of 1 (worst) to 10 (best), how did the book turn out? Did anything defy your expectations?

Overall, I’d rate it 5/10. The beginning went fairly well, but goodness knows what happened in the middle to end. It needs more of pretty much everything, including vast amounts of logic. But that’s pretty normal for a first draft of mine, and there’s plenty there for me to work with in the future, which is all I really wanted. So overall, I’m pretty happy with how it went.

Comparative title time: what published books, movies, or TV shows are like your book? (Ex: Inkheart meets X-Men.)

Ugh, I’m so bad at comparative titles. One title is the film In Time, but what else my book is like is beyond me. I obviously haven’t read the right books or watched the right films yet.

Do you enjoy working with deadlines and pressure (aka NaNoWriMo)? Or do you prefer to write-as-you’re-inspired?

YES. I love the way events like NaNoWriMo push me to work harder, and force me to write every day to hit my goal. I feel more motivated and way more dedicated when I have a deadline to follow rather than writing when I feel inspired. (If I waited for that, I doubt anything would ever get written). If NaNoWriMo went all year, I would so be up for it!

How do you go about editing? Give us an insight into your editing process.

My editing begins with me reading my book through while taking notes on whatever issues I want to address in this round of editing, such as plot problems, or character arcs. Then I brainstorm solutions. Next I edit those issues. And then the book lies dormant for another few weeks until I’m ready to come back for another round of edits. Not the most efficient solution probably, but it works for me. You can find a much more in depth discussion of my process HERE.

What aspect of your story needs the most work?

Can I just say everything and be done with it? There is so much to fix it’s hard to know where to start. I never brainstormed half enough worldbuilding details, so it’s a weird hodge podge world of wishy washy details that remained vague in the hope I could come up with something awesome at a later date. Characters are very…fluid. One character vanished halfway through the book, and others appear to have multiple personalities they change that much during the draft. And don’t get me started on my terrible ending. My climax involved the villain getting taken out in a stroke of luck by a motorcycle. Disorganised to the extreme. I’m going to have to tear the entire book apart and put it back together in hopefully some semblance of order.

What aspect of your story did you love the most?

Probably the overall concept. The execution is pretty terrible at the moment (with the potential to get vastly much better of course), but I adore the overall concept of blood as money, degenerative diseases, and a literal blood debt. I get a little bit excited every time I remember it.

Give us a brief run down on your main characters and how you think they turned out. Do you think they’ll need changes in edits?

Kyra, my main character, turned out the best of all the characters, probably because I got to spend so much time with her. I was hoping for her to turn out with a bit more of a sense of humour throughout the book, and she was pretty good at the beginning, but then she got very brooding and overly noble, so that’s something that will need addressing in edits.

Jason, one of my two male main characters, turned out terribly. Poor boy couldn’t decide whether he was going to be grumpy or understanding, and ended up being a whiny little baby. I feel I did not do him justice in this first draft.

Adam, my other male main character, turned out much better than expected. He’s slightly older and more mature than her, and is the strong, silent, supportive type. He’s possibly a little too perfect at this point, but he has a satisfying base to work from, so I’m happy with that.

What are your plans for this novel once you finish editing? More edits? Finding beta readers? Querying? Self-publishing? Hiding it in a dark hole forever?

At the end of all the rounds of editing, I’d like to query this book and hopefully, HOPEFULLY, eventually find a publisher for it. I do rather love this book, and it would be awesome to see it find a home with a publisher at some point.

Share a favourite snippet!

Just one? Maybe I can cheat and share a couple? I’ve shared most of my favourite excerpts before, but they’re worth sharing again, just one more time.
What are your writing goals and plans for 2016?

I’m supposed to have thought about those already? Oh dear… Well, the plans I have at the moment include:

  • Getting my YA Fantasy Song Of The Crystal Tree to the beta reader stage (finally)
  • Participating in both Camp NaNoWriMos and NaNoWriMo
  • Writing the fourth book in my fairytale rewrite/superhero series
  • Editing the first book in said series so that the plot finally makes a lot more sense and the dual POV narration works.
  • Finally learning how to use all the cool stuff in Scrivener properly

These are just a few of the goals I have for my writing next year. Now to see how many of them I can actually achieve. But I’m looking forward to getting back to writing. I took the whole of December off from writing, and I’ve really missed it. It’ll be great to jump back into my fictional worlds again soon.

What are some of your writing goals for 2016? Did you participate in Beautiful Books this month? Link me to your post! And tell me, what books or films would you compare your writing project to?

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  1. I actually love NaNo also. i'm not the best at it because i can't use programs like write or die. i tried it for 2013 nano and scrapped the entire novel because it was unsalvagable. i guess it's really good for practice but i love just going at my own pace.

    developing characters is so hard for me because drafting them, i make them too complex and i'm like "HOW AM I GONNA DO THIS?"

    i'm also a person who loves concept! behind plot and characters, i usually have some kind of deeper meaning or message that carries throughout the novel. it's my favorite part of writing <3

    – Nova @ Out of Time

    1. Characters are hard aren't they? I can never get them right in the first draft (or in subsequent draft either sometimes). But I seem to have the opposite problem. My characters are always too simplistic! My editing involves me adding layer after layer to pretty much everything. I think it'd be very difficult to start out with such complex characters though. I know I find it hard enough writing about people I haven't properly met yet. It'd be a true journey of discovery!

  2. You're not the only one who loves your concept! To be honest, I'm a little jealous that I didn't think of it first. :P

    1. Aw, thanks Krissy! You made my day with this comment.

  3. Yeah, my rough drafts don't follow the rules of logic very well either. It would be awful if it weren't so amusing. I'm glad you're happy with the base you have, though--a good base in pretty much all I can hope for in a rough draft. And your premise sounds super interesting. If/when you want beta readers for Blood Debt, I happily volunteer (although I totally understand if you have other readers in mind or would rather choose people you know better).

    Happy New Year!!! And good luck on all your writing goals! :)

    1. Rough drafts are so funny to look back over. I think you either laugh or cry at the logic in the first drafts. My brain does weird things when I'm writing a book for the first time. I think the poor dear gets a little overexcited with...dubious results as a consequence. I shall definitely remember you when I'm looking for betas. I would absolutely love to have you read it!

  4. So late to this, but I'm trying to catch up on posts. XD I love the concept of your book. It sounds so cool! I thought of In Time when I first saw you were writing this story. XD I have a rough draft too this NaNo, but you can do it! I'm really excited about this story.

    Also I emailed you about that collaboration post we talked about and I haven't gotten a response. I'm wondering if those emails went through. XD The deadline is this Sunday.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. I think that a rough first draft is all anyone can reasonably expect from NaNoWriMo. But at least that gives us a base to work from, right? And getting that first draft down, for me at least, really helps me work out which direction I want to take my books.

      Thanks for letting me know you emailed. I've sent you a message about that.

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