Writing/Editing Process

Hello there everyone! Doing yesterday’s Beautiful People meme really got me motivated to work on my novel Break Up Buddy again. FINALLY (after what? 9 months?) I finished reading my own story and as suspected it was terrible. The first half is pretty decent but the other one needs to go and be almost completely re-written. So far only one person has read the first draft and I don’t intend to show it to any more people until I’ve finished the second one.

The editing process is a pretty slow one, like you can’t just rush through it to be done with it. I’m glad I have my first draft, something of a structure to hold on to, but there’s still a lot to be done and I don’t have any idea how to go about it. Right now I am working through it chapter by chapter, being careful not to just copy and paste and make the same mistakes again. What about you? Do you have a system or any recommendations on how to go about the editing?

In return, and also to tell you a bit more about Break Up Buddy, I’d like to share with you some of my preparation techniques before I started writing!Β We’ve already established that Break Up Buddy is a ConRomCom and after figuring out the main plot (which I summarized here for you) I followed three simple steps:

Get to Know Your Character(s)

This step includes figuring out your character’s name, age, ethnicity, believes, values, occupation, appearance and so on.

My main character’s name is Raeleen Miller. She is about 23 years old, recently graduated from university majoring in English Lit and now works in a bookstore. She doesn’t have specific opinions concerning political parties, but she does have a strong moral compass of her own. I could go into depth here, but if I did that with all my characters this would take forever. My point is that I had to figure out a backstory for her before I started writing. I may not even need any of that information in the actual story, but it could prove helpful at some point when it comes to decision-making.

Also, I am a very visual person, so I need to actually “cast” all my characters. Here are some examples:

From top to bottom, left to right, you can now see my choices for the roles of:

  • Raeleen Miller, the main protagonist
  • Jemma Williams, her best friend who moves to the UK for a job
  • Nick Mooney, an aspiring director who becomes her new roommate
  • Hunter Lawrence, Rae’s ex-boyfriend and unfortunately co-worker
  • Caroline Nicholls, a friend and co-worker of Nick
  • Prosper Reed, a renowned author and one of Rae’s idols
  • Lacey Turner, Rae’s work-bestie
  • Sam Mooney, Nick’s younger brother

I know some of the names aren’t the most creative but yeah … I can live with that. By casting them, it was a lot easier to describe the appearance of everyone. I like to do that, but what about you? Do you ever cast your book characters?

Get to Know Your Setting/Surroundings

My story takes place in Portland. I’ve written stories with fictional places before and this is actually the first time that that’s not the case. So, before I started writing I pulled up a map and thought about some fun places I could include in the story. I figured if I decide to make some of them fictional in the end, I can still change the names afterwards, but have great examples to draw inspiration from and make them feel real.

But I did not only get to know Portland itself a little better, I even made a blueprint of the apartment a lot of the action takes place in! I decided how the rooms should look like and what kind of place they would live in. It was like virtual apartment hunting – very fun! Here you have my choices for Raeleen’s room, Nick’s room and the living area (minus the red couches, I don’t like them).

Figure Out Your Plot Points

I know I said I had my main plot in mind already, but you need to have at least some idea of what you want to happen or you’ll run out of things to say and wing it from there on. Don’t get me wrong, that can lead to a really great story as well, but especially if you are doing NaNoWriMo, you want the writing process to be as smooth as possible. You don’t have to have it all figured out, just think about some major plot points and maybe some fun stories for your side characters.

So, I guess that is all for today, but you can expect some more posts on my writing/editing progress soon. I hope you enjoyed this! Let me know what you think in the comments and I always love to get tips if you have some!

35 thoughts on “Writing/Editing Process

  1. Glad to see you’re getting right into it. Here are some tips from me:
    1. Be prepared for multiple drafts. You’ll probably rewrite and rewrite some more in-between, lose a thousand words and gain a thousand more back. Just go with it, keep looking for weak points and trying to improve.
    2. Don’t try to force the plot to go in a certain direction, especially if you need gimmicks or weak twists in order to make it happen. Sometimes the story will go in ways you never expect, and that’s okay. Stories can be like dance partners. You can’t force them, you can just work with them. So go for collaboration rather than dominance.
    3. Have a beta reader or two look over your work. When selecting one, make sure they like the sort of story you’ve written. Also make sure to specify whether or not they’re going to be working on just the story, looking for errors, or anything else. Those are biggies.
    4. Don’t get discouraged. Usually editing is a slow process at first, just like writing. But as you go along, it starts to get easier, until you’re flying through to the end. Of course, that usually means the end may need more work because you flew through it, but that’s what the beta readers are there for.

    Hope this helps. And good luck with the editing process. I hope all goes well for you.

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  2. wow, I can’t even fathom the process behind creative writing, I don’t think it’s something I would be able to do. i do love your preparations – i also love your cast, I would watch the hell out of that movie – and I want to live on that apartment!

    just out of curiosity, where does Nick come from?

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    • I bet you could do it! I started out with short stories and some attempts for novels that I never finished. I even published them on an online platform. Looking at them now they are pretty hilarious because I was something between 13-15 when I posted them. My point being, that with time and practice I bet you could do it. But you don’t have to. Reading and watching is really cool too πŸ™‚
      Nick’s from England, and just to be boring he’s from London to be exact.

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      • does he have a sexy accent?! πŸ˜€ (I love accents)

        So, does his brother play a big part in the story? he’s he on London or in Portland?

        (no interest so far in writing, it pains me already to have to write scientific papers, or dissertations… well, I have to write my thesis this year, that will be writing enough for a lifetime)

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      • He does have a British accent, which mostly cracks Raeleen up in the beginning. I’m not sure she ever calls it sexy.
        Sam lives in London and doesn’t play a huge part, but sort of hangs out with Jemma while she’s in Nick’s apartment.
        That’s okay. Not everyone needs to write, but I hated writing my thesis too! It’s very different from creative writing though. I get it nonetheless. πŸ™‚

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      • does jemma and nick’s brother?!?!?!?! πŸ˜€ I am wanting to know too much!

        The master’s dissertation was a pain, but it’s importance was somewhat mild. For the PhD I need to publish papers before submitting my thesis, but each paper is a bigger pain than my whole masters was…

        I was just never creative. I am visually creative, I guess, in the sense that I can conjure up images from words and random stuff, but I’m not creative in writing. I have a very scientific mind, which leads me to say the most direct thing ever to point a fact

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      • I can’t tell you everything πŸ˜› there won’t be any surprises left if I tell you now!!! My evasive answer should tell you everything though.
        I totally get that! I’ve always had the impulse to tell stories. I am not good when people put me on the spot and demand something right away, like improv is my nightmare, but creative writing is fun for me. As I said, it doesn’t have to be everyone’s thing though.

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      • I accept to wait to read to get more information πŸ˜‰ but I’m getting quite curious. πŸ˜›

        it’s a good thing we’re not all cut out for the same thing. right? diversity and all that stuff?! πŸ™‚
        i would die before doing improv or something like that… heck, I’m avoiding oral presentations like they’re the plague…

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      • I’m really working on it and I think some storylines might change, so I also don’t want to tell you anything that might not even be there in the second draft hahaha
        Absolutely! It would be one hell of a boring world if we were all good in the same areas and interested in the exact same things. Where’s the fun in that?
        I took an acting class once and I just couldn’t do it. My poor partner had no idea what to do with me.

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      • The casting director of Shadowhunters and Jane the Virgin liked one of my tweets. That’s the closest I have been in contact with the subject lately.
        Turns out getting a work permit for Canada is just as difficult as for the US. This is sooo annoying.

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      • seriously? I don’t get it 😦
        I also don’t get it because both countries have so much portuguese people there, and they can’t all be illegal…

        (the casting director for shadowhunters and jane the virgin is HOT)

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  3. This gave a lot of thought to me.. and not just the story visualization part, which I guess I need to start doing myself, but the fact that I never edit. I sit down, write and that’s that, and I hate it, because of course the unedited draft sounds ridiculous and awful. And yet, the thought of me not putting down my ideas is killing me every day.. and the fact that I can’t seem to make up my mind in regards to what language I feel more comfortable in. English is my second language and yet, I read and write mostly in English, yet my skills aren’t as profound as it would be on a literary level. Then again, Fifty Shades sounds god awful and women ate it up left and right.. Man, I wish I was writing and I wish I knew how to edit.

    PS: Your visualization looks great and I myself also tend to give my characters “real” faces.

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    • English is my second language too, but I just can’t write in my mother tongue. It sound way more clumsy than my English attempts, so I am willing to make a few errors during the writing process and correct them later on in the process.
      First drafts can sometimes be really good, especially to get a main structure for your story, but I found that editing is really important. I still don’t know if there is a certain technique or something like that that should be used, but I am just working through my story chapter for chapter to see where I went wrong. I want to change a lot of it about 6 chapters in, but it doesn’t mean that I can’t use any of the stuff I’ve already written.
      You should give editing a try πŸ™‚ when you are finished with your second draft it is mostly good to show it to other people to get an outside opinion. Make sure to tell them exactly what they are supposed to look out for. Do you want them to look for spelling and grammatical errors? Do you want them to judge the flow of the story and look for plot holes? Just clarify it up front. Then you can edit it again and maybe someday show it to publishers or so.

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      • I seem to get stuck in chapter 2 or 3.. or always around the 10-15 pages.. which is frustrating because after I stop, the idea also dies and I never pick it up again. That’s the price I pay for working full time and running a blog.. 😦

        And having somebody in the same position, not being as comfortable in your own language, makes me feel a little better about writing in English. Not the only one – yea!

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      • Oh you’re definitely not the only one πŸ˜‰ there are tons of people like us on the internet.
        I get that! The motivation to work on my book and to fine-tune the story definitely faded over the months that I didn’t even look at it. It took me 9 months to pick it up again, but now I kind of want to tell the story right. I feel like I owe it to my characters, because I really like them and I don’t want them to go to waste. I don’t know if you saw that, but I did the Beautiful People meme where you had to answer questions about your characters and that got me back to wanting to work on the story. It’s a bit difficult sometimes though because I already have so many ideas for other stories. I just quickly write them down in an empty template when that happens, so that I don’t forget about them. But now I am kind of committed to working on Break Up Buddy πŸ™‚

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