The week between Christmas and New Year’s is a time when I try to wrap up projects in progress (if possible) and plan for the next project.
A few minutes ago I sent off an editing project I’ve been working on. I wanted to get it to the author by yesterday, but it took a bit longer than I expected. It does not pay to rush an editing job. Nor am I any good at editing when I’m in the throes of a migraine. I learned these lessons the hard way.
Here’s how I work now: If I’m doing a copy-edit job, I begin at the beginning of the book, looking for spelling and grammar error. I look at sentences which are confusing in any way. I try to eliminate as many uses of the words like “that” “very” “then” and so on. I go through the entire book once and send that pass to the author. After she or he makes the changes (or doesn’t make the changes if s/he doesn’t agree), I make another pass. Often I find words used twice (a a, eg) or words left out (in, on, the). I fix those. I do everything to keep the author’s original voice, because if we all sounded alike, reading would be boring.
Before I send the manuscript back to the author, I read the book aloud, one page at a time from back to front. It’s surprising how many more little changes I find on that final pass.
Our eyes will fill in missing words, correct spelling errors, overlook duplicated words. Our ears may catch them (usually they do) if we read the words aloud, without a chance to get caught up in the story. This is why I read one page at a time, last page to the first.
In a day or so, I will return to the long awaited revision/editing job on my own novel Till Darkness Comes. This is the one I wrote three years ago for NaNoWriMo. I couldn’t face the revisions until a few weeks ago. The book is 223 pages, and I’m ready for page 96.
In January, I will revisit all the poems I wrote in response/reaction to poems by Emily Dickinson in 2015, and begin to put together a collection for publication.
Sometime in 2016 I will return to writing The Valley of Fear, the third Shirley Combs/Dr. Mary Watson series. I’m on Chapter Three of the book.
Yes, I can work on three books at a time.
In 2015 I published a poetry chapbook called All This Remains to be Discovered. I also wrote a play about Ella Baker, civil rights activist, and submitted it to the 365 Women a Year Playwriting Project, where it will be listed on the website. I hope it will also find a production in 2016. My short play Something’s Got to Give was also written for the 365 Women a Year Playwriting Project (2014) and was produced in Eugene, Oregon in March, 2015 for SWAN Day.
And oh yeah, I pulled up stakes after 35 years in Oregon and moved to San Diego the end of September.
How was your writing year? I’m eager to hear what publications/productions you have coming up, what writer’s block or other obstacle you overcame this year, and what your writing plans are for 2016. Do tell!