Monday, December 16, 2013

Working on the Legend of the Moon

I'm taking a little time off on editing Legend of the Moon to make an entry in my blog. 'Don't want to neglect this blog like I did with the last one.

I have a lot of respect for editors, mostly because I do my own editing and I find that it's hard work. That's probably because I'm not a professional editor. My grammar is quite good but not exactly up to par with real editors. I also have problems with punctuation and that's probably because I didn't pay too much attention to my English teachers. Most of what I learned, I learned from reading.

How does one edit a book?

I usually start with a quick pass through the book, looking for misspellings, repeated words, and awkward sentences. Then I do another quick pass...and another...and another. When does it end? Until I find none or when I get tired of doing it. After you've gone through the story five or ten times, fatigue sets in and you need to rest. When you go back to it, you will usually find more errors and you'll have to go back several more times.

Are there words that appear too often or appear too close to each other? This is where vocabulary is important. If the word "enemy" appears in two sentences one after the other, you'll need to think of another term for the second word (opponent/antagonist/adversary). A thesaurus is a big help. Otherwise, a rewrite is in order.

Next is content. Is the paragraph understandable? Is it logical (i.e. makes sense)? Does this paragraph belong in the next chapter or in this chapter? Should I cut up this chapter into two or more, or join two or more chapters into one?

In the case of Legend of the Moon, I decided to rearrange parts of the story. In the blog version, I had the protagonist reminisce about the past before going back to the present. That's not really a bad technique but, taking the cue from some readers who had gotten confused, I decided to rearrange it so the events happened in sequence.

Finally, there's the ending. I'm a little ashamed to say that I gave in to the pressure of finishing the story a little too quickly. So, I've been working on it for several days. I've erased and restarted the ending a number of times already. I decided to stop for a while to restore the creative juices and maybe give me a good idea for the conclusion.

Of course, I could always hire a professional editor. Unfortunately, it's a little difficult to find one who will accept a large pizza as payment. (",)

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