Fairy Tale Remix Editing: Week 1

948280_69806863Pages edited: 180/448
Number of words cut: 3,841 words
Favorite mistake: Actually, there wasn’t anything that really got me giggling over these last 180 pages. I think the closest I got to an amusing mistake was when I stated that a hotel room had a wonderful view from its windows. No kidding, right? I also got off on the chapter numbering, which I’m correcting as I go. I thought I checked that. 🙂

I keep telling myself that just because this story is long doesn’t meant that it’s bad. Maybe the length will deter an agent taking on a first-time author. But although I’m not even halfway through, I don’t feel like I’ve piled on huge info dumps. The story seems a perfectly reasonable length for what it is, especially since the fact it’s a series indicates broader arcs, and I’ve read lengthier debut novels. The fairy tale remix doesn’t even have to be the debut, although the nightmare novel is kind of long for that as well. Not sure what I’m going to do about either of them in that case.

I just have to keep reminding myself that the story comes first, always, not my insecurities. And as far as the story goes, I have good news followed by more good news, which just tickles me.

I’m enjoying the editing process so much. It’s been over six months since I finished this novel, which is a good amount of time to create some distance. A lot of the things that I sometimes found annoying about my protagonist become much milder with some perspective. I think some of the annoyance stemmed from the awful voices in my head telling me how she was supposed to be and her replying that they could do you know what in a you knew where. Conflicting voices in one’s head would annoy anyone.

I also think she improves second time around because I’m reading it in realtime rather than lingering on emotional states longer than they actually last. When you think about a scene over and over and try to figure out how best to write it, a story’s moment  stretches out. It generally takes a lot longer to write 2000 words than to read 2000 words.

So now I like my protagonist even better than I did in the first draft. I’m also not just enjoying the editing, but I’m enjoying the reading. It’s always a good sign when you don’t want to stop working just so that you can read what happens next. Sure, you already know, since you, you know, wrote it, but that’s what the six-month distance does to you. It makes the book almost new, like it was written by someone else.

And you have the good fortune of knowing what to look forward to. On the way, I address scenes that I remember felt clunky during the writing and clean them up. Only two of them were as clunky as I remember. In addition, I’m having to edit through all the redundancies as well as the sees, saws, looks, thinks, and felts that are unnecessary. And my characters like to reach. There’s a lot of reaching. 🙂 These are all common mistakes. The important thing is that there weren’t a ton to begin with, and I’m fixing it.

Some of the best parts are not only when I experience real joy when a scene or a line reads just the way I wanted it to (at which point my feet do a happy dance and it’s everything I can do not to squeal or tear up), but when I read a joke or a sarcastic comment that I don’t remember, and it makes me actually laugh out loud.

I’m afraid to say it lest I jinx myself. I’m afraid to say that I think this story is actually good, that it has a chance, that I hope a query letter shows how much I love this story and how much I think other people might enjoy it as well.

It should take me a little less than two weeks to finish this bad boy, if I push myself like I did this week. Fortunately, editing the FTR novel might as well be entertainment for me. On Friday evening, our Internets broke and we had to wait until Saturday afternoon before we got the wireless back up and running. I got a ton of editing done without access to the Web, and I didn’t complain about a single moment of it.

I’m tired, but it’s mostly a good kind of tired (the rest of it is allergies, since our weather can’t decide between winter and spring right now). I’m 30 pages ahead of my weekly goal of 150 edited pages. Let’s see if I can keep up that head start.

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