In Progress


By Liz Everly

Summer calls to me, but I sit in my office and plunk away at the keyboard. I have two books and one novella due over the next eight months. The first book, due in August is in second draft mode. The next book is started—but has a long way to go. My novella is currently out with beta readers. along with all this, I’m gearing up to launch CRAVINGS, book 2 in the SAFFRON NIGHTS SERIES.

So, while I wait for the beta readers to return their remarks to me, I have two books to work on. The first book is Master Beekeeper, which is a working title, but still a pretty good one.  I’ve gone over it a few times for spelling and passive words. I printed it out yesterday and am starting to use Margie Lawson EDITS system. I’d like to have more time to work at the edits before I turn the book over to my beta readers, but in this case, I probably won’t because the book is due in August and my betas have busy lives. So they will probably be reading it as I am working out these edits.

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I love trying out new editing systems. I think it hearkens back to my days when I worked as an editor. It engages the other half of my brain, after a intense use of the creative side. One of the many things that intrigues me about Margie’s editing system is the way in which you use color as you go through your printed out draft. You highlight all the dialogue in blue, the description in green, and so on.  Not only does it give you very useful visual cues as to if you have too much back story or not enough dialogue or action, it also scrambles your brains a bit. I mean this in a very good way.

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I remember taking an “Editing Your Own Writing “ class years ago at Editorial Experts in Alexandria, Va. One of the tips they gave that I use often in articles and shorter pieces is to read the manuscript backwards. It really helps to find the typos and inaccuracies. It’s the same sort of brain scrambling in the Margie Lawson system.

While I am doing what she’s suggesting—for the very reason she suggests—I am spotting other things that I’m not certain I would have otherwise.

I used Mary Burton’s editing process for one of my mystery manuscripts and I really liked it and thought I might use it for every one of mine. My manuscript came back from my editor with very little marks. And I credit Mary’s system because it really slowed me down and forced me to look at my work in a different way.

Then I heard about this intriguing system when I took a class from Margie in “Writing body Language like a Psychologist,”  I’m always looking for ways to stretch, learn, and grow and become a better writer. And believe me, so far, this fits the bill. I’ll let you know how this works out in detail in future posts..

How do you approach editing your own writing? Any tips or tricks out there?

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7 Comments

  • cmkempe
    June 18, 2013 at 8:50 am

    I mostly just wail about the need for minions and — at present — curse myself or writing such a long novel. If this were a CMK novel, I’d be done with the edits. As it is, I’m halfway through >_<

    • madelineiva
      June 18, 2013 at 5:55 pm

      I’m still mastering that thing of saying to myself: just stay in front of the computer. Keep working. A little more, just a little more. I know when that painful inner dialogue is going on that I’m working at the level I need to if I’m going to get sh** done.

      • cmkempe
        June 19, 2013 at 4:59 pm

        Dangle rewards in front of yourself. ‘Another 500 words and you can…’ Whatever it takes.

  • LizEverly
    June 18, 2013 at 9:35 am

    Ah yes. The wailing. I am very familiar with it. As well as the…”I have a new idea for a book that I’d rather be working on” and the “let me just check Twitter” and get back to work. Two hours later… LOL.

  • Elizabeth Shore
    June 18, 2013 at 11:38 am

    The distractions can be a killer! Yeah, I’ve fallen victim to the ol’ “let me just check Twitter” trap. (sigh). On the positive side, I LOVE the edit ideas, Liz. Thanks for sharing. The color coding thing is really interesting.

    • LizEverly
      June 18, 2013 at 12:32 pm

      It is. I’m almost halfway through the coloring and some interesting patterns have emerged already. If you have huge chunks of yellow or green, which is description or inner dialogue, for example, you really need to look at that because it may be too much text and may slow down the narrative. Guilty. And before I did this, I would have said my writing is dialogue-heavy. Not so.

  • LizEverly
    June 18, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    Reblogged this on Liz Everly and commented:

    Summer plans? I’m editing, you?

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