Well folks, who among you is up for a challenge? I mentioned this writing challenge thing I’d be writing for Open Book in my last post, well here it is. I dare you to give it a shot.

I’m very honored that the Open Book folks are allowing me to contribute to their very fine publication. And I’m being totally serious here. I hope I can make each month’s challenge fun and interesting enough to hold readers’ attention. Goodness, if I don’t, well that’s…that’s unthinkable.

Now for some bragging:

My 6 year old won a Terrific Kid award today. We’ve been suffering a bit of a drought in terms of this award. Both of my girls desperately wanted to receive one. Court is 12 now though, and has given up on that. She says she still would like one, but when she wins the Nobel Prize, Terrific Kid will be peanuts. I say, awesome outlook. Aim high.

Now, Kennedy, who did win, has cried since JK (almost 3 yrs) every time she didn’t get one.(they’re given out monthly) “I try to be nice to people and it isn’t easy.” (see, I have taught her something. She actually tries to be nice.) This award was for integrity: having a sense of self worth and self awareness and recognizing that there are choices out there to be made and making the right ones for her and others around her. It was awarded to her in particular because she tries to be kind and makes decisions based on what’s best for her classmates putting their needs ahead of her own.

Now, I say if ever there was an award or recognition of a quality I’d like to see for my kids, integrity is top of the list. I’m very proud. Can you tell? I didn’t tell them how she kicks random strangers in the shins. Sometimes, I secretly cheer her on, depending on the stranger.

Okay, enough bragging about my darling daughters, this is a blog about writing and publishing. So, let’s chat about writing and publishing.

I thought I’d share my editing process with you all. Not in terms of what I do, but how I think while editing. Another blogger did this in a different and hilarious way so I thought it might be an interesting experiment. Probably not hilarious, but hey, I made the effort. I made notes of my thoughts as I went through an edit on a WIP that is giving me trouble.

– Okay, I’m totally going to edit a full chapter today. No matter how long it takes, I’m doing this. I will NOT get distracted. So, let’s see what we have. Chapter 5. (scrolls down to see how long the chapter is. Bad idea, btw) Shit, this is a long chapter.

– What the hell is this? How can he be staring out the damn window when he’s already out of the car? You’re so dumb, Renee.

– Ugh, I hate this. How long has it been? (looks at the clock) Darn. Ten minutes. I want cookies. (Leaves to get cookies, stops to check the cat’s food, picks up some socks, stares at the dishes in the sink…goes back to garage)

– Okay, fix the car thing. Good stuff. Ooh, that’s good. Renee you are a genius. Must remember that line for later. When I’m dumb again.

– Hmm. This is really wordy. But I like wordy. What the hell is wrong with wordy? (deletes offendng paragraph) Fuckers and their damn ‘sparse’ narratives. Who made them King of right and wrong? (thinks for a minute. Answers an email…okay, three emails.) Let’s see, If I include the street description, shorten his internal dialogue. I mean who cares that his balls itch? I don’t. That’s for sure. If I move this…oh this is much better. Sparse is definitely the way to go.

– (reads, fixes typos, growls) So-and-so said this part read wonky. They don’t feel Ryan’s personality. What makes them an expert on Ryan is beyond me. Maybe they don’t understand personality. Why should I listen to them? Where’s the dartboard? (throws darts at so-and-so’s picture but misses because hand-eye coordination is worse than an infant’s) Sigh. I shouldn’t be throwing darts at so-and-so, no matter how thick they might be.

– Well, Ryan is kind of blah, here. I mean, he’s a writer, wouldn’t he have more interesting thoughts than this? Maybe not, I mean we see how interesting my thoughts are and –oh shit, there’s a mole. Look at him, staring right at me. Fuck, he’s coming over.

– Should go get the cat (Stands on chair, balances on tiny table Logan built with the crooked leg, hops on one foot to the step, checks the mole location, too close, opened door fast, goes inside, down to the basement, and into the laundry room.) Cat is shitting. Ew. Have to clean the litter box. Stinking animals. (Goes upstairs to get a bag to clean the litter box.) Why do I have to change the damn litter? All the frigging time it’s me or the stuff just festers, marinating in its own stench. Why can’t he pick up the damn scoop once in a while? Well I suppose if he hadn’t taken a shovel to the nose, he might actually smell it and do something about it.

– Oh, I was editing. (turns from the kitchen and goes back into the garage) Let’s see, Ryan should be thinking about maniacal, devious plots, letting his imagination run away from him. maybe he could be sarcastic, a dry wit. That’s better. So-and-so was right. I like so-and-so. He/she is an awesome beta reader. (changes photo on dart board back to Kurt)

– (gets to the bottom of page two and looks at the clock) Look at that. I’ve been editing for more than an hour. I need a break. Should make some coffee–oh, Twitter follower. A virtual sex toy store? How does one use a virtual sex toy? (checks website) Ah, that’s how. Maybe I should tweet something. But I have nothing to say…fuck it, I’ll just make something up.

– (Phone rings) I should check that. I hate when people call because then I’m reminded that I’m a hermit starved for meaningful conversation and I’m always disappointed because the conversation that ensues is anything but meaningful. But what if it’s important? (goes inside to check the phone. Telemarketer. Growls. Goes to kitchen to make coffee)

– Well that was a long day. I should get ready to pick up the kids. Maybe I’ll edit later…or have  bubble bath. Ooh, I love bubble baths. I’ll have to lock the door though. Never have any privacy around here. Boy, I’m glad I have all day to get things done without the kids here. I’m so distracted when they’re around.

That is my editing process. This is a typical day. Once every couple of weeks I do manage to get a huge chunk of editing done. Serious editing. But most days, two pages. Two. No more. No less. And I also eat very large quantities of cookies and Doritos and drink gallons of coffee. No the litter box did not get cleaned.

13 thoughts on “Awesomeness

  1. Renee, you are awesome. That is exactly how my writing day goes… well sort of. I'd grab a shovel and wack the mole or drag the dog/cat over to take care of it. Seems like the days we have no plans other than writing are the days that are the hardest to actually write sometimes.

  2. When I edit, there's much hand-wringing and cussing at Mike Keyton. Bone-deep description is the bane of my existence and Mike does this extremely well. I hate him much. Kinda. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. Mike, frigging bastard and his mad description skills. I hate him much for you kinda too. Description isn't hard for me, but I tend to use far too many words to do so, and I repeat myself. I don't know why I do this, because I know it's wrong the moment I read it, but my brain refuses to cooperate. It insists that the first draft must have at least 5K words too many.

  4. I'm one of those spare writers you maligned earlier. I always have to go back and layer my atmosphere. Much like making baklava with its paper thin layers of phyllo. Mmm…baklava.Ref: MikeI'm sure Mike's parents were married. But yes, I have on occasion cursed his ancestry.

  5. I always curse ancestory. Actually, my first drafts have no setting and still way too many words. Figure that one out. I have to go through on the second draft and add setting and atmosphere, what I manage to get into the first draft is usually crap and has to be deleted. Mike knows we don't believe he's a bastard. Actually, since he hasn't been the subject of one of my dart games, I quite like him.

  6. Ref: …he hasn't been the subject of one of my dart games…He's probably overdue then.Ref: Actually, my first drafts have no setting and still way too many words.What part are you over-writing then?

  7. Narrative. I tend to use way too many words to show things when I'm writing. It's like I figure if I say the same thing at least twice, but in different ways, it should be clearer. Sometimes I overwrite dialogue. I love dialogue. I'm learning though. This last manuscript had some really good setting that somehow snuck into it and I only cut about 2K words the first round from the narrative. Now I have to go in and add setting, tweak a plot hole I noticed, but it's not as bad as others have been.I Do had zero setting beyond physical description of characters. Zilch. I don't even know how I managed to do that. I mean, it was so obvious later.

  8. My head was unaccountably warm, and then I saw the sparks shooting out in all directions. My ears were on fire, little balls of wax combusting in small explosions. There could only be one explanation. Someone was talking about me. Who were the two most outspoken women I know? (I don't like the idea of men talking about me) It had to be Renee or Maria…but the two of you talking about me? Time to put my head in a bucket of very cold water and stay there for some time

  9. Renee: I'm surprised narrative gives you problems. I'm sure you write on the lean side when you write nonfic. The nice thing about saying the same thing two different ways is that you can usually pick and choose the best parts to make one sentence.Ref: special bastardWell…looks like Mikey has a new nickname. LOL.

  10. Maybe the articles are why I'm finding it easier. The mind-numbing, soul-shattering nonfiction is actually doing some good. And yes, I do mix and match when I say things twice. It's handy. Re: Special BastardI love nicknames. We can call him SB in 'polite' company. I don't know any polite company, but should I ever come across it…

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