ROW80 and What I've Learned From Editing

Now, in terms of checking in on the Round of Words in 80 Days, I'm doing great! I do some work each day, chopping old words, adding new ones, moving scenes around for maximum effect, and so on. And I've gotten some great feedback on my pitch from Kate!




However, I've begun to learn a few things (there's always something to learn. I probably lived through all this editing the last novel, but ain't it the truth that pain lessens over time?):

1. I never write with a sense of the outside. A lot of my editing involves figuring out what's going on beyond the world of my characters' conversations and adding those details in.

2. Characters should never wonder about things. Never. Not once. If you write "She wondered..." once, you'll turn around and find you've written it ten times. Per page.

3. The attractiveness of collecting eggs from your Farmville hens is inversely proportional to the excitement level in the scene you're editing.

4. A boring scene can always be livened by romantic tension. Just don't ask me to do chase scenes or sword fights.

5. Square brackets will never disappear until the very end. Even now, I've still got research to do on art history, Renaissance clothing, the layout of Barcelona, and French curse words. And that's only in the first 20 pages.

6. Forget worrying about "as you know Bob", focus on the fact that your readers don't know anything about your characters - and your characters may not know about each other. They have to talk! Otherwise you might realise you're 30 pages in and they're having conversations about matters they haven't even learned about yet. Oops.

7. It's okay to shout. Sometimes you can't help it. Please stop nodding! Smiling! Shrugging! Please, I beg you...

In other news, the visitor to Poe's grave did not come this year either. Say, who used to drink the cognac?
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