Selkies' Skins

Selkies' Skins
Current book in series Temple and Skinquest. Enjoy Castle and Well from Amazon, B&N and Smashwords while waiting for that and the prequel's audiobook "Pearls of Sea and Stone: Book of Seals".

Monday, August 6, 2012

Editing and Housecleaning

Something that I personally have noticed a connection between is the editing process and house cleaning.  I don't know how many people have noticed this, so maybe, if you're one of those lucky people that don't have trouble with keeping things clear and spiffy, this won't apply to you.

A big thing is clutter.  Excess toys and knicknacks.  Some people like this and won't feel comfortable if the room they are in isn't filled with these things.  Other people detest them and get nervous if there are more than a few.  So it is a matter of personal taste, unless it's at a level where one can't even move.  Now, these can equate to points, plots, and subpoints in your story  For example, I get bored if a story is too simple.  Children's books usually need to be, unless you're writing for older children... advanced kids will be picking up advanced books early.  So when I'm reading for personal pleasure, I want something intricate, full of plot turns, and if there are plot holes, I like to see those apparent holes get filled in later on in ways that make me go "Holey Moley, that is AWESOME, well played."  You want enough to keep things interesting, but if you're going to have tons, then it is a good idea to pare down or make separate books.  You want a good flow and a good challenge.  Also, how well these are handled is important as well.

Then you've got your typos and the little grammar problems, such as there, their, and they're.  These are important, and nothing looks worse (at least to me) than misusing a word.  There are lots of people with spelling problems.  That is what the proofing process is for.  If you are a terrible speller or know you confuse those (and even if not) then once you finish and have proofread and edited your own work, have someone else look at it that you know IS good with these, several when possible.

This is why every title submitted to me is required to go through editing with either myself or Faith (often, both, though the time-fee stays the same unless it's an intensive revision/proof).  Those things are like the dust that slip through the cracks and the dustbunnies under the couch.  They are everywhere, but need to be looked for.  Our brains have auto correct, and an author isn't going to catch them all.

So what makes for an easier to follow book?

  • Reduce the unnecessary
  • Dust out your typos
  • Make sure things flow properly
If something has to be moved from kitchen to living room, do so.  If you've got this great subplot, use it by all means, but if it would work better in another spot, try rewriting that section.  This applies for not just your stories, but if you are a college or university student writing papers every two weeks (or spaced out more if you're lucky), do not be afraid to revise.  If I were to put all the essays that I have written for university to date into one project folder, I'd have enough to write a textbook of my own in Asian Studies.  Granted, even with most of them receiving A grades, they are not perfect and could still stand some revision.

Finally, one more similarity between housecleaning and editing.  Most people don't like to do it.  But it is necessary to make things look their best.

Thank you for listening to today's post.  I encourage conversation, so if there is anything you would like to add, or something you'd like to debate a bit, feel free to comment.

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