Selective Editing

I thought I would give everyone an update on my novel-writing progress.

Just a recap, here is my (work-in-progress) synopses for Not By Blood:

Brian Colt is seventeen years old and alone. After losing his family in an automobile accident he is forced to leave Alaska and is sent to live with his uncle in Washington State. What’s super awkward is that Brian has never met this side of his family because there was a major fallout that no one ever talks about it. What’s even more awkward is when Brian meets his cousin Rebecca Colt (step-cousin, thank God) he is reluctantly attracted to her. Brian plans to go back to Alaska and take over his family’s logging operation as soon as he turns eighteen, but first he must survive senior year and live with an unforeseen, violent opponent.

Rebecca Colt dreams of becoming a marine biologist. She knows that the odds are stacked against her and nobody believes she will amount to anything. Her nickname at school is “Hot Garbage” because her family is trash. The trailer she lives in is less sanitary than some of the dumpsters in town. Her step-father tells her exactly what he thinks of her with his fists, and her mother is lost in her pill addiction. Rebecca’s one-saving-grace is her best friend.. That is until her cousin… (eh hem) …step cousin comes to town…

I’ve almost completed my first edit, and to tell you the truth, it was overwhelming. There are so many things that I want to change. I realized that I needed to break the editing down into toddler-sized chunks. This first edit I simply looked at the story aspect of my manuscript. I asked myself: Do you like the story? Does the timeline work? Is it believable? Do you want to keep reading?

I’m happy to report that I do indeed still love the story. I’m going to go in and cut some scenes and add a few more for clarity, but overall I’m happy with it.

This is the plan-of-focus for future edits:

Second Edit-Character development.

Third Edit-Scene building.

Fourth Edit-Add more poetic language/descriptive detail.

Fifth Edit-Remove clichés.

Sixth Edit-Grammar.

Seventh Edit-Formatting.

I’d love to hear other writer’s editing process. If you would like to share, please comment below.

-Rachel McKee

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Author: Rachel McKee

Currently writing a YA novel. I love reading about everything, truly I'm not a book snob. Lately I have been "reading" a lot of picture books to my baby boy. In my past life before motherhood, I was a professional technical editor and writer.

20 thoughts on “Selective Editing”

  1. I love your story. It is interesting and relatable especially because of the characters’ dreams and aspirations in the background of severe circumstances. Plenty of teenage angst and thus scope for immense development of character. You have your work cut out for you! Don’t lose patience, for you have a good thing on your hands. Looking forward to more updates…❤❤❤❤❤

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow – sounds like extreme discipline! Glad to hear you have kept your focus over the past few months in churning out your story. Is there a reason you chose young adult fiction as the preferred genre to write your first book?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi! That just happens to be the age of the protagonists. When I’m finished, if the content is too mature for teens, I wouldn’t mind pitching it as adult fiction. I’m pretty open to how any of it turns out. I feel like as the writer I’m just along for the ride as the story unfolds.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Generally I now limit myself to 3 edits total – mostly because I don’t want to start swimming in the sea of self-doubt (where I practically lived for far too long).

    But breaking your goals down in to what feels like more reasonable chunks makes a lot of sense.

    And I wouldn’t worry too much about poetic language or very descriptive stuff – a lot of readers are now saying that takes away somewhat from a story and makes the pacing start to drag. (Personally I agree – and all tastes are different.) But I’d say make sure that how you’re describing fits with the whole flow of the story.

    Good luck with all of it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That looks like a lot of editing! But I think I’ll follow your example, maybe just combine the fourth and fifth edit and add “forming chapters” (I currently have none) to the third edit. I first started editing thinking I’d tackle plot, character development and scene building in one go, but I’m starting to realise that this approach is a bit overwhelming and I should stick to baby steps.

    Thank you for that post. ^_^

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh yikes, indeed! Good luck with that!

        For my part, I’ve decided toward the very end of the first draft to add the occasional perspective of the guy (it’s a romance). That means rewriting a lot of scenes, too. But it’s okay. I’m confident it will improve the story. Besides, writing from his point of view has already helped me discover even more about both characters.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s great that you have a good direction. My novel is split almost 50/50 with the guy and the girl. (Also a romane.) I feel like if I wrote it from first person, I may eliminate some barriers in my manuscript. I’m going to give it a try with my first chapters.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. When I read your intro for both characters, I felt drawn in right away; there is an energy there in your writing that makes the reader want to continue…good luck with your editing, this story definitely wants to be written!

    Liked by 1 person

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