Recap: Your Complete Editing Strategy

magnifying glass on bookWhen I first started writing, I was a slave to perfectionism. Imagine a 15 year-old Sarah, scribbling all over her ten-page manuscript and perfecting each word before moving the plot forward. I don’t advise that method, but I can say that my fascination with editing started there. In the years since, I’ve enjoyed analyzing when to start self-critique and how to progress efficiently.

With this analysis at hand, I had the privilege of discussing editing with StoryForge Productions. The articles below offer a big-picture view of editing; it’s the best place to start if you want to make it to the end sans mental breakdown. That may be overly dramatic, but editing is a very difficult experience–which is why I also discuss when you should consider hiring an editor (see last article). Take a deep breath and explore the editing process.

3 Steps to a Sustainable and Streamlined Editing Process: “Editing a book is a monstrous process. Many dreamy eyed romantics start their novel with gusto and struggle to the finis, only to realize just how much work it’ll take to make a 50,000 to 90,000-word manuscript readable and enjoyable…”

Strategic Breakdown: The Developmental Edit“Before you get into each detail, you’ve got to step back and grasp the big picture. This is the first step of the editing process: understand your manuscript’s strengths and weaknesses from start to finish. And I’m not thinking about grammar or even prose. I’m thinking big. Plot arc big…”

Strategic Breakdown: The Line Edit“Though the line edit is more detail-oriented than the developmental, it can be just as intense. The next step down from big-picture work is surprisingly steep. You’ll find yourself surrounded by individual scenes, but you can’t forget the overall flow yet. Seemingly small details are more important than you think…”

Strategic Breakdown: The Copy Edit“With developmental edits and line edits taken care of, you’re finally to the point where you don’t have to worry about big-picture plot arcs. All that’s left is detailed prose and grammar work. You’re still not to proofreading level, but considering the toil that you’ve gone through so far, the copy edit is minor. You simply need to clean up the rubble after renovation…”

When is it Time for an Editor?“Every writer comes to a point when he or she grows too close to a story to see its flaws. I remember coming to that point with a few undergrad essays—after many tired stabs at revision, I would print it off and hand it to a sympathetic housemate. And that was only for a ten-pager…”

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From the Forge: Interview with Animator Mary Jane Whiting

maryjanewhiting_PortraitThe world needs more storytellers like Mary Jane Whiting. A talented artist, she is excited to share fun stories and encourage others along the way. Instead of spilling everything about her here, I might as well let her speak for herself! Without much prompting, she jumped right into the interview:

I was born in Texas and moved to Florida to major in Computer Animation at Ringling College of Art and Design where I’m a Junior. I’m a chai tea enthusiast, certified workaholic (but it’s more like fun than work) and my passion is visual development artwork for animation. I’m currently working on pre-production for my senior film. The process includes doing all of the concept design, visual development artwork as well as storyboards. At the same time, I’m working on a lip-sync project of myself as an animated character.

Read more to learn how to bravely follow your inspirations and build an online presence!

From the Forge: The Art of Collaboration Part 1

Art can be a lonely endeavor. Your muse spills onto a canvas, a page, a screen—and that intense focus often requires solitude. Your mind delves into invisible worlds, trying to pull slivers of imagination into reality. It takes a lot of work to communicate your original vision but, no matter what, it will be a shadowy simulacra of the original thought. Though solitude can be a helpful meditation to invoke your muse, community remains an essential component both the creative process and your survival in the ever-competitive professional realm.

Symbiotic Networking

Networking is a hive of potentiality, but before I explain, let’s do away with any negative connotations that may buzz around your brain…(Read more at StoryForge and see illustrations from some fantastic artists who were kind enough to collaborate with me!)

Howl’s Moving Castle: Storytelling through Character and Concept

I’ve gotten quite tired of emotionally uninspiring plot diagrams, so here’s a  quick breakdown of high and low concept stories. Hopefully Miyazaki’s storytelling in Howl’s Moving Castle can offer you some freedom from formulae. Read the article Storytelling through Character and Concept” here!

SLY and Freelancing

As you have probably noticed, many of my posts have mentioned StoryForge recently, so maybe it’s time to update you on my career direction!

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I thought that you might want a face to go with the name 😉 My husband and I in Michigan last October. The face he is making—that’s from the cold, haha

Several weeks ago I quit my teaching job. It was a difficult but quick decision; I love the people that I worked with, but I wanted to focus more on my freelancing. I’m still writing interior decor articles (and loving it), and recently I started working with marking proposals, copyediting, and graphic design for another company. While they stretch me Continue reading

6 Ways to Limit Distractions and Finally Focus

Over the years, I have gathered a few tricks to help myself settle down and actually write. Today I am actually following my own advice! (A novel concept, right?) Using my little penguin egg timer, I’m writing in hour increments and taking healthy breaks. See the article for all 6 tips at StoryForge Productions!

Today’s goal: 3 hours, 3k, and 1 teapot of rose-jackfruit black tea. 

  • Hour One: 1,145 words and 3 hot cups of tea.
  • Hour Two: 1,103 words and 1 lukewarm cup of tea.
  • Hour Three: count pending 980 words and 1 cold cup of tea.
  • Total: 3,227.

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How do you get yourself to focus? Any quirky tips that you can share?

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I had the good fortune to interview Kelly Thompson, author of The Girl Who Would Be King and Storykiller. She gives some great advice to aspiring novelists and shares the ups and downs of her journey! 

An Interview with Novelist Kelly Thompson, Part 1

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The people I work with are seriously really cool—if you’re working on a story that involves mythology, listen and be inspired by the weird imaginations of the Norse!

More mythology is coming soon 🙂 Visit StoryForge to see articles (A new article on Book Clubs: Picking Your Own Adventure) and videos like this!