I was walking down the road (as I do quite frequently these days), mulling over what I should post about today, and I thought of two things. Editing and marketing. It only occurred to me as I was typing the title, a few seconds ago, that these words are indeed both in the present continuous tense. Something you are doing on an ongoing basis while other events come and go.
(In case this foray into grammar scares you, relax. I studied modern languages at university and some things just never leave your brain. I’m normal. Promise.)
I started stressing again yesterday over the editing process. To tell the truth it terrified me. I couldn’t seem to get my first chapters to work and I knew (because I tried last week) that I wouldn’t be able to move on and edit the rest of my novel unless I got the beginning sorted first. (Cue rending of clothes and tearing of hair).
A particular issue of mine (and this is not to imply that this is the ONLY issue – it’s not) is dialogue. I have written a few short stories now, all of which, bar one, are up on this blog (the other one can be found here). I have had to write dialogue in all of them, albeit sometimes only two words. So far as I can tell, it works. In all of them. So why can’t I translate this over to short stories?
(Cue more rending, tearing, etc.)
I finally worked out, around 7am today, that there is no difference between writing dialogue for shorts and dialogue for novels. It serves the same purpose regardless of the length of the story you’re using it in. It’s just that I (and I hope I’m not the only one) tend to forget that and get lazy with it in longer works. Hopefully that’s going to change.
Another issue I was having was the opening. That all-important first line and first paragraph that has to convince every reader to keep reading. Having gone upside down and roundabout with it, I’ve now written a different beginning, having come to realise that the one I had already written belonged in the next book of the series, not this one. *sigh* But at least I realised that.
I think part of editing is keeping an open mind about ways to say what you want to say. The words already down on paper or the screen are only one of an infinite number of paths that you can take to your final destination. It’s so easy to get too close to your work to see anything else – of course we all know this – but how often do we apply this to the text in general? Not just typos and words which shouldn’t be there (or aren’t there but should be), but entire passages that could be rewritten or even cut out altogether. This comes under the heading of ‘little darlings’ and I should point out that the passage I just cut as belonging to another book was my favourite of the entire manuscript.
The marketing bit of this post is more like a very short postscript – I have been having a lot of trouble deciding on a title for my work in progress. I’ve been calling it Corynia because that’s the main character’s name, but since I intend to write at least two more books with this character things could get very confusing, very quickly. So I’ve (tentatively) decided to call it For The Love Of Gods and we’ll see where that gets us. I’m talking about this under marketing because, let’s face it, it’s hard to market something which doesn’t have a name.
What does For The Love Of Gods suggest to you? Let me know what you think my book is about based on this title, bearing in mind that it’s YA fantasy. I look forward to hearing from you!