Doing What’s Right: My Way to Edit by Carmen Falcone


Do what feels right for you. It doesn’t feel right? Do it anyway, and you’ll find your own process.

That is my first editing tip. Write it down, folks. There will be a quiz later. Edits can be very controversial, and I often enjoy listening to different types of writers discuss their techniques and approaches. Some prefer to write the first draft as cleanly and neatly as possible to save them the trouble of going back to make huge changes. They’ll still go back and revise, but they’ll have less work.

Some like to get through the first draft first and then go back and look for specific things, sometimes more than once. I know someone who goes back a whole manuscript and looks for dialogue, reading the words aloud. Then she’ll edit the whole thing again and look for emotion.  Then, she’ll go through again and read it one last time for clarity.

I believe there are thousands of ways out there to do edits. Some are more effective or less time-consuming than others. Are any of them plain wrong? Doubtful. It also takes time to learn your craft and learn how to get it right. I’d love to try and be one of those authors who check for a bunch of things while they write, and get a better first draft than others due to their military precision. But I’m not.

I start to get into the story and find myself so anxious to see what happens next, to get to know my characters, that I just free write and forget about the rest. Yes, my first draft is not dirty, it’s filthy; it has tons of dialogue with no tags, blocking – you name it.

I tried really hard to change my process once and spend more time polishing as I went. It  was painful! It wasn’t me, and in fact it took me longer to do it because I was doing something so out of my element, I felt no urge to keep doing it. I missed the rush to get to the point, the essence of the natural-born pantser in me, and deal with the rest later.

I have an excerpt from my recent release below. We have our PR heroine Penny having dinner with Luc Leoni, the hotel magnate and her newest client.

QUOTE:

"Luc, I have our contract with me, and if you're ready we can start discussing your needs," Penny spoke after they placed their orders. She knew she had her work cut out for her, with the date of the re-opening party fast approaching.

"When did you end your engagement?" His syrupy accent didn’t conceal the touch of impatience in his voice.

She raised her eyes to his only to find the blue one darkening to the color of a gray overcast sky, and the hazel deepening into a dark brown shade. A thrill of excitement and fear zinged down her body and shook all her nerve endings.

She blinked. "I don't see how this is relevant." Penny managed to sound casual.

"Eight months ago?" He tilted his head and edged closer to her.

She folded her arms together, desperate to create an invisible layer of protection against that question. Against him.

"Six," she said at last. "How do you know that I ended it? It could have been him."

Luc chuckled a hearty sound, which annoyed her. "That's obvious. How long before the  wedding did you do it?"

Penny hesitated. She stared at the short flame swaying on the wick of the white candle in the middle of the table. She touched the brown metal candle holder, her fingers caressing thpattern along the round object.

The worst isn't over. It's just beginning. 

"The day before." She avoided meeting his gaze.

"The day before." He repeated with a nod. "A runaway bride." He squared his shoulders, and slid away from her, back to his original place. "I'm not surprised. Running always was your forte.

And using women to your advantage was always yours.

UNQUOTE

That dialogue popped into my head before anything else, and I just went with it. Of course, if you read it out loud, there are many emotions we can evoke – self-defensiveness, anger, bitterness. It is the subtext, the little details of the characters’ body language, that gives  them away – maybe not to each other, but to the reader. When I edited, I added my heroine touching the candleholder. The light can mean different things – a lot of time, fire means sensuality – but this time it’s almost like a symbol of her getting burnt. Not just personally but also professionally. Of course, this was just a breadcrumb and the scene is longer.

Anyway. How about you? What is your editing style?


A Brazilian by birth, now based in Texas USA with her family and her dogs, Carmen Falcone is an author of sexy, contemporary romance.  Her current release is HEATING UP HAWAII, published by Breathless Press.  You can find her via her website, her blog,  Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and Pinterest


HEATING UP HAWAII



There is just one person standing between Penny Ashbrook's dream of opening her own PR business or being stuck at her job: the formidable Luc Leoni - her first lover, and the man who lets nothing and no-one get in his way. Seeing him after so long brings all the hidden emotions after a life altering break-up to surface. Pain, denial...and lust. 

Luc has made many sacrifices for his career, including Penny Ashbrook, the woman who set his aspirations back a year. But now she has returned and is more alluring than ever. After all these years, he thought a self-made billionaire like himself could master everything, but to resist the strong pull toward the one woman he can't have is an impossible task. 

When this unlikely pair is reunited they will have to face the many challenges set in their way, especially an attraction that has only heightened with time and a deadline quickly approaching. Can their new bond surpass old—and new—fears?


Get this book here:  Amazon  Amazon UK

26 comments:

  1. Welcome to R&E, Carmen! I loved your editing tips. Thanks for sharing with us.

    Congratulations on the release of Heating Up Hawaii!

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    1. Thanks so much for having me, Nas! :)

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    2. It' our pleasure to have you here, Carmen.

      Maria

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  2. Great post Carmen! I tend to write those first drafts freely too - although lately I've been writing the first 5-10k, then starting over again as I know my characters better! Strange but it's working :)

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    1. Jemi, I know what you mean! Sometimes I get to chapter eight and I'm like, "wait a minute" lol and I go back and do some edits :D

      It's nice to see how the characters grow as we write and to be able to make those changes.

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    2. Yes, I've been there too!

      Maria

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  3. I'm one of *those* that edits as I go. I've tried not to - I even tied my inner editor up and gagged her and everything - but it turns out she's best friend's with my muse. Shut one up, shut both up. I have finally accepted that the edit-as-a-I method is *my* thing and we're all talking again ;-)

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    1. Aurelia,

      You edit as you go and that totally works for you! I remember you sent me something once you wrote on your smartphone while in vacation. I was like, "Is she for realz?" Lol. It was so clean and neat! :D

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  4. You have to do what works best for you.
    I spend months on my outlines. I usually write during NaNo or BuNo (I'm a lazy writer and need the prompt of a daily word count) but I'm still careful to write a clean first draft. That's probably why I enjoy editing so much - it's not very painful for me.

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    1. Alex, valid point! It's probably easier to write a clean first draft when you know where the story is going. :)

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    2. Advance plotting probably does help to write cleaner drafts.

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    1. Hi Nancy,

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

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    2. Nancy, I'm so glad to hear! :)

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  6. My editing style changes with each book. The only style of editing I haven't adopted is editing my first draft as I go. I prefer to just get it out on the page and then edit once the draft is finished.

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    1. There are different ways. But they probably all work if you try them out.

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    2. Stina, let's high-five! :)
      I totally get you. It's important to try new things, even if only to discover you're better off doing the same thing (my case, not yours). That said, every book is different.
      Thanks for commenting!

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  7. My first draft is very rough. Then I go over it again and again and again until I'm nauseous!

    Heating up Hawaii sounds a good read :)

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    1. Hi Wendy. Thanks for stopping by.

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    2. LOL, Wendy!
      That's my case. Mine is very rough but I like to know it's finished. Well "finished" is relative, but you know what I mean... ;)

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  8. I think I've just fallen in love with Luc and his gorgeous eyes! Yowza!!! Take care
    x

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    1. Kitty, you have NO idea! He's totally swoon worthy ;)
      Thanks for your comment!:) xoxo

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  10. Great post Carmen! I tend to write in 'chunks', when I hit a key turning point in the story then I go back and edit what I've done to make sure it all hangs together. But the real layering, word over-use etc. waits until the end :-)

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    1. Susie,
      Thanks! :)

      See, you have to do what's right for you... I tried to write in chunks in the past, but in my case I had to constantly go back so now I make myself finish the rought draft first. But it's hard! LOl :D

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