More editing

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Yesterday I finished the final draft of my next manuskript. I have already been sending it out to some publishers, not wanting to end up with neverending edits. But I have had this nagging feeling that it needed some more work. And it did. Now, however, I am pleased with it.

I am always wondering how good the manuscript needs to be to not put the publishers off, to make sure the content is read. It is a fine balance, optimizing the current project, but not overedit it and letting it get in the way of the next project. Now I’ll just wait and see.

I have mainly been writing in a local coffee shop the last month, and I like it so much, that even though I am going to take a day off before starting on the next manuscript, I am back here today, with the cappuccino, the raggea and a little rain outside. 

Different kinds of critique

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In the beginning, when I started showing my writing to others, I was just grateful that anyone would take the time to read and comment it. A part of me still is. Reading to give feedback takes a lot of time, though I suspect that several of us actually like the opportunity to tell others how to do things better. A lot of us, probably.

After three and a half year of working on my writing I have noticed a huge difference in how I respond to different kind of feedback. Specifically negative feedback.

I would expect to hate negative feedback, but a lot of it makes me happy, honestly. One criteria is that is has to be constructive. If you make it sound purely like personal preference, I will most likely disagree with you out of self-defence.

I love critique that makes me see a pattern in my own writing that can be improved, something that does not only make the text better, but me as a writer, better. That got to be my favourite kind of critique.

I also like feedback on stupid mistakes. I am so relieved for the opportunity to remove them. If you take the chance to point out that I am stupid at the same time though, it makes it difficult to not throw the whole comment away. And this is where the difference lies.

Good feedback for me is objective. Personally loaded comments, on the other hand, makes me unapologetically defensive.

I also find that I get in a critical mood myself, when receiving feedback, so if you write with a lot of spelling errors, or make sentences that are hard to decipher, I get frustrated and irritated.

That being said, I love my most critical readers. Some weeks ago, my sister called me out of the blue, to give me some feedback on my latest short story, just because she knows that I like it. I were impressed with how many things she pointed at, things that I myself only had a vague unsatisfied feeling about.

I wouldn’t have had half as much progress without my readers taking time to give me feedback. Thank you!

 

 

Cover and rewrites

Tuva Tovslid (18)

Rewrites 

Ninth version done! Today I am finally done with rewriting based on my editors feedback. It’s been a challenge to constantly considering whether each sentence is good enough, or if I am just not experienced enough to know it isn’t. Not good for my self-esteem. The manuscript is better for it though, I am certain. And having to look at my weak points for two months have to have taught me something. Let’s hope so.

In addition to editing, I have gotten the first drafts for the cover. I guess there is a reason there is a profession called designer. There is so many possibilities and so much potential, both for genius and for fuck ups.

One have to considered pictures and contrast, colours and fonts, details and target group. Preferably without giving to much weight to personal preferences. Luckily I have a friend to discuss this with, she had some great feedback on font, font families, colours and motive.

I think we landed on something both the publisher and I like, and I look forward to seeing the final version closer to the publishing date.

For now I’ll just enjoy not having any obligatory writing to do, maybe write a short story again, and await the editors verdict.

 

 

Manuscript progress

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Revisions

It has been about a month since I got the first round of feedback from my editor. I have been revising as much as I can since then. It is good to finally start working on it again.

The feedback mostly focused on sentence level descriptions. I expected us to start with an overall view on characters and plot, but that seems to be saved for our next full revision. I am anxious to hear her thoughts on the dramaturgy and how much work it needs. Large changes are hard work.

I haven’t looked at this manuscript for a year, and I find a lot of stuff to improve. That has to mean that I have developed some, doesn’t it? Don’t answer that, I’ll just go for yes. I need to feel that I am getting better, for it is hard on my confidence to scrutinise my work, searching for mistakes and tings to improve.

I have 1/5 of my manuscript left to correct by hand, and then I need to type all the changes into my computer. Hopefully I’ll send it back to my editor before May… Goals makes me feel like I try my best. I mean, I can blog as long as I have set a goal, right?

Fifth revisions done

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Revising by hand

Sitting in front of the computer gets old after a while. So when I was going to start revising my forth edition, I printed the manuscript. I did this for two reasons. It gives me an opportunity to work away form the computer, for one. And it helps me to stay critical. The story feels more committing somehow when the words are printed.

After two weeks writing the changes back into my computer I am finally ready for my husband to read the fifth edition. It’s just that he is a slow reader. And it’s not just my writing either. He spent months, months(!), getting into The name of the wind by Patrick Rothfuss. And he still hasn’t gotten through The lies of Lock Lamora by Scott Lynch. So yeah, I’m trying not to take it personally.

I guess I’ll just have to wait impatiently.  It is worth it though, because his feedback is surprisingly insightful.

Less time

Tuva Tovslid Moving

Sorting books before moving

The last year, I have been lucky enough to have time to write almost every day. The last few weeks though, have not been like that. We are moving to another city in four days, and even when I have time, it is difficult to focus on writing for several hours each day the way I am used to.

I have a strategy though. I spend more time planning what to write, and I try to focus on only a few things each session. It makes the barrier to sit down very low, and this way I’m not so easily overwhelmed.

Having known about the moving for half a year, I have tried to time the writing process with accordingly. Working on the 4th revision as I am now, means that a lot of the big stuff is figured out. I can easier get into the story and it is also easier to put it down without loosing a lot of unwritten thoughts.

This summer I will keep to this slow motion editing. Hopefully this will keep my motivation up and lead to steady progress.

Feedback

Tuva Tovslid edit

Planning

Yesterday I got my manuscript back from my sister, with notes. So many good pointers on character development and believable plot turns, and (rather rare when asking for critique) some compliments.

I find it hard to start edit a draft having already done my best to make it as good as possible. Knowing that I have to make a mess of it to improve it, makes it challenging to pick it up. It’s been close to seven weeks since I gave it to her, after all.

Some things makes it easier though. Spot-on critique is a great source of motivation. When I know how to make it better, it is difficult not to.

A soft start is another trick. I find it easy to get too technical in my planning, so I make time and space just to sit with the story and think freely, not pushing it in a given direction. It might actually be procrastination, but at least I enjoy myself while doing it.

So today I have only listened to music, made better and better lists of what I need to focus on for the next draft, drawn some horses and drunk som coffee. No actually writing, but easing into the story again and getting excited for the potential.

Short stories are hard

Tuva Tovslid short story

Editing a short story

Coming up with a story suitable for a short story is hard. I have written some now, and I’m always left with the feeling that they just aren’t that engaging. Short means less character development, less time to introduce the conflict and less time to solve it. It’s difficult not to be too on-the-nose.

I don’t think I have read more than ten short stories that I really liked, so maybe it’s my own preferences for a good story that makes it hard.

I am waiting for feedback from my faithful writing friend this week, hopefully I can get a little bit better at it with some help.

 

Traveling

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All set for editing

I’m going away for a night, and I decided not to bring my computer. Instead I am going to correct my short story during the flight.

I edited the draft once already, taking it from a rough sketch to a slightly cleaner one. Hopefully it is good enough now to actually see what works and what will have to go. Guess I’ll find out soon enough.

Last read-through of last part

Tuva Tovslid Editing

Editing in the spring sun

I am so close to finishing of my seventh draft. After writing the last scene of the last third of the manuscript this morning I printed it, and now I am reading through it. I divided the manuscript in three parts this time to keep myself motivated and to ensure that each part was building on something solid. Didn’t want to come to the end  and discover that I was going in the wrong direction (again).

This part is approximately 84 pages, A4, so I’ll spend a  couple of days on it, though I’ll try to slow down a bit, I am a quick reader. Sometimes to quick.

Reading through like this helps me see each sentence in relation to the surrounding text, something that I find difficult to do when I am working on content and formulation. I fix a lot of smaller things at this stage.

The next, and last, step will be implementing my comments. And then… the seventh (and maybe last) draft version is done.