Monday, November 25, 2013

More on tenses and editing

SO sorry for my long absence guys!! I was completely planning on answering the question our lovely Cjoy left for me (which Betsy fabulously answered! Thanks so much friend!!) and I split my knuckle open that night instead which put me in a splint for a week and left me totally incapable of writing more than a few picked out words.

Because I'm all about what would add the most fun and extra stress to getting ready for an early Christmas with the in-laws. ;)


Thank you to Betsy for doing a great post about tenses!! She said this as well, but I think the biggest thing to remember when writing is consistency. I've heard the thought about the first sentence of a paragraph as well and I think that has to do more with the word "had". Example:

I had never seen something so disgusting since the time both me and my brother had the stomach flu at the same time. And that was something. My poor mother cleaned for weeks afterward. It had lived in family lore since then.

There were just no other examples in my mind for what was sitting in front of me.

Okay, so in this example, I'm in first person, past tense. So during her remembrance of a further in the past event (oh my), we use the word "had". BUT, we only have to use it once in the first sentence for the reader to understand this paragraph is her memory from awhile ago and to close out the memory, we use it again in the last sentence instead of putting "had" before each verb.

Does that even make sense? ;) Ha! English is failing me right now.

Alicia also asked what editing software we used. Alicia, my editing software is named Mom. ;) Honestly!

So, my basic "program" for editing goes kind of like this. I aim to write about 2000 words a day (sometimes this is totally doable and I fly right past my word goal. Sometimes, I remember that I have a 3-year-old or that my morning sickness is awful or I have a zillion things to do that day or my house hasn't been cleaned in months or I have 8 blogs to write and I end up getting 200 words in my WIP or nothing at all). The next day when I sit down to write, I read back through what I wrote the day before, just to get in the character's head and get the "voice" back. I also use that time to correct the mistakes I see in the previous day's work. Then I write another 2000 words. When I get to the end of the novel or novella, I email it straight to my mom. I don't reread it, I don't try to edit it first, I send it straight to her totally raw and while she's reading it, I do everything except look at that book.

Mom finds a bunch of mistakes, I correct all of them, then it's MY turn to read through the book and since I've let it sit for a few days to a few weeks, the book is so much more "fresh" to my brain and it's way, way easier to find the storyline issues and grammar mistakes. I read through it once, correct it again and then send it off to the publisher.

So, I'm not really a "rough draft" kind of a girl, I guess. I like things to be written once, corrected once or twice and then out of my hands. I HATE revision and so if I can write it correctly to begin with, I'll always choose that route!! ;) I really, really, REALLY recommend finding someone who will be totally honest with your work and do the same for you! It so helps to have extra eyes on it.

Does that answer the question, Alicia? :) And question for all of you: What is your editing style??

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!


  1. Heehee! That cracked me up! Well, my Mom proofreads the very final galley. But she is the mother of 8 children, spanning 2-22. So... Not a whole lot of time for complete editing there. :) But I'm also like you - I try to write it correctly the first time around. I guess my editing style would mainly be fixing typos and slightly revising sentences; nothing drastic.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Your sounds like mine, Erynn! Except mine goes straight to my hubby for him to help with.

  3. Ack! I cannot believe I missed this post. My feedly is too full of blogs I skim while THIS is the blog I actually watch for. Shame on me filling it with trifles.

    So, Erynn. What a great example--my middle school son was impressed! ;-) I struggled with the "had" in the last line until about the 4th time. My mind thought it should be "has" simply because I would assume it STILL lives in family lore, present day. But as thought I see it working, versus telling someone aloud. So it makes sense. I think.

    As for my editing process...that's something I'm still figuring out. And since I've been learning so much this year, I don't know how it will really go. I stopped doing NaNo because I was unable to just plop it on paper and resolve it later. Not sure if that's a good or bad sign. LOL. I have some great crit partners now that I send my work to--I trust them with it and I love their feedback. I don't think I'm good enough yet to not need more than one round of revisions, but I can really see my progress and that feels great!!