Beauty or Pizza?


I love the colours and the layering of this picture, which hangs in the entrance hall of my home. I see delicate tiers of coloured glass flowers and find it soothing to look at. My husband calls it my ‘Pizza’ picture and sees layers of scrumptious toppings. Hmmm.

However, in order to capture such an exquisite image there must have been a lot of work in its creation. A lot like the layers and hard work that goes into the process of editing. Since December, I’ve been editing my novel and to be honest, it has been a lot more difficult than I imagined and extremely time consuming.

I actually thought I’d finished this novel in November 2014 but when I had it critiqued in April last year, there were certain areas of the story that needed addressing – one of which was the word count. At 65,000 words it didn’t fit into the traditional publishing requirements and therefore no agent would even consider it. In response to this, my dear writing friend told me to go ‘deep’ with my characters, rather than create a sub-plot, which may ruin the overall flow of the story. 

During the editing process, I actually became irritated at myself for making such whopping beginner mistakes: 
  • Repetition of words and phrases - this annoys me when I read other people’s work, so why am I doing it?
  • Giving irrelevant characters a place in my story and even on occasion giving them their own POV – got rid of them, how dare they interrupt my story.
  • Far too many similes and metaphors that served no purpose – deleted! I must be more confident.
It has been an eye-opening experience and I still have some work to do but I’m on target and am pleased with the results so far. I will be forever grateful for all the advice from my former tutor and writing friend, Lynne, whose critiques I look at regularly and to Anne Rainbow who shared her 10 point editing cycle process.

What editing process do you use? Do you make cringeworthy mistakes? Do you edit your own work or pay someone else to do it for you? Do you look at my picture and think of PIZZA ???

Comments

  1. Chihuly makes some amazing glass artwork. It does look like pizza though.
    Going back through your manuscript was good though. You found a lot of things that needed changing.
    I tend to overuse words. And exclamation points.

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    1. Thanks for commenting Alex. I will have to look into Chihuly (never heard of him/her). I do feel proud with what I've achieved so far. But it is time to move onto the next step and get the novel published - sometime this year!

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  2. I congratulate you on sticking with your novel. Rather than never look at it, you took things as a positive and you are working on your book and finding out you are pleased with the results so far. Good for you. I have made some whoppers of mistakes but I have not written anything. Does asking someone what her name is only to find out she is a he count? What about sneezing just when you have glitter out ready to place on your card only to have it go all over you, the desk, floor and up your nose? This is a very cool picture and I see...the sea! I see jellyfish

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    1. I've made the name mistake too :) The sneezing one not but I avoid glitter. I dislike it! That comes from my stint as a primary school teacher and during the Christmas season the kids loved glitter. It was everywhere for a very long time. Thank you for the words of encouragement Birgit.

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  3. How can I choose? Pizza IS beauty. :)

    I use way too many em dashes.

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    1. Noooooo!! :):) If you like pizza, next time I go to our local pizzeria I'll take a picture. I've never seen suge huge pizzas in my life.
      Thank you for stopping by David and I wish you much success with THE UNDEAD ROAD!!! It's going to be great!!!

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  4. I see butterflies. Is that odd? It just looks like butterflies to me. I just saw a writer get called out on Facebook for using the term "breech of contract," only to see people tell the person correcting her to lighten up! I have many cringeworthy moments on my blog. I can't tell you how many times I've reread and reread and reread something and when it posts and you guys have already read it, there's a mistake I missed!

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    1. I've done that too, Stephanie but we are all writers and expect mistakes :):) It is annoying though. I love butterflies - they are very therapeutic so if that's what you see then that is perfectly ok with me. It's much better than pizza :):) Have a great week Stephanie and thanks for popping by.

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  5. I too see butterflies amongst the petals, Nicola, and definitely not pizza! That's good you're finding your way with the novel - we all make plenty of mistakes along the way and repetition is something I've been pulled up on occasionally.

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    1. It's funny how we tend to like a word and use it too often. I had so many 'flinched's going on - unbelievable :) Thank you for your comment, Rosemary. Hope you are enjoying your week.

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  6. ahhhh...editing...my favorite pastime. :)

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    1. it's only 'aaahhhh' when one's finished :):)

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  7. Nice that your critiquer really like the flow of the story and wanted you to preserve that. All those things you've gone through to correct this will be forefront in your mind as you work on other projects. I'm happy for you.

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    1. Thank you, Donna. I appreciate your words of encouragement.

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  8. I love the bright colors, it suits my personality, although there's too much blue and green for me to consider it pizza that's not too dangerous to eat. :)

    I'm still in the crit group stage of my first story so I don't know what editing process I'm going to use yet. I do know that I'm determined to make it the best it can be, no matter how many eyes have to see it.

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    1. It'll be great, Ken, I'm sure. Keep up the good work!

      Thanks for popping over to comment. Lovely to see you. Have a great rest of the week.

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  9. The Wild Rose Press (a small press/publisher that has published my books) publishes paperback novels at 65,000 words....

    I used to have the problem of head hopping and letting other characters share their POV. Not any more.

    Good luck with your edits!

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    1. Thanks for the heads-up on The Wild Rose Press, Chrys :) And thanks for the words of encouragement! Gratefully received :):)

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  10. Thanks for the mention. You were a lovely student and now a beautiful friend. As for the 'pizza' tell your husband there is no known blue food (not naturally anyway). I see butterflies, glass flowers and boiled sweets. I'd give your picture house room any day.

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    1. I knew you'd see butterflies, Lynne :) Thanks for being so lovely! Have a lovely and relaxing weekend. Hope to see you soon.

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  11. I always pick a movement and use it to death- a head pat, or a nod...something. Thankfully, betas usually catch it. I suppose it goes to show that newbie mistakes just happen, but no longer newbies know to weed them out.

    I see jelly fish.

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    1. I've been doing repetative word checks today and found a load of 'heart beats' going on. Ridiculous :) Hopefully I will think more wisely with my next novel :) Thanks for popping by, Elizabeth.

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  12. To me the picture looks like delicate and beautiful sea creatures.

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    1. It does look a bit like a tropical reef :)

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  13. I think we grow as writers every time we read our own work and recognize the kinds things you describe in your post. I know each time I edited my novel, I learned something more.

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    1. The process is definitely trying my patience, Karen :) Thanks so much for popping by to comment. Lovely to 'see' you.

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  14. Well , Nicola, you said you're in awe of my ability to write/creative/give birth to words in poetic form ( not sure if I actually manage that), but I am in awe totally of your novel writing. I mean how do you ( or anyone else ) get to 65000 words in the first place. No, my dear, it's definitely hats off to you...
    But as for editing, it's always a difficult process with your own work. I have been helped in the past with my short stories when somebody else reads them. There is always something you've missed . And often that bit that you thought is the "best piece of writing " has to be discarded. Wen are always learning-and that's how it should be.. Keep writing Nicola....
    gramswisewords.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you for your kind words Marian. Have a lovely weekend.

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  15. What a beautiful picture, Nicola, as well as a lovely post. I see butterflies too, a gorgeous explosion of wings. I especially like the deep blue.
    You have been so positive and wise about your editing. It's a process I enjoy, but I find it painful - even excruciating - at first. However, after a while, I get used to finding awful sentences and terrible repetitions and jarring inconsistencies. By then, I can convince myself someone else has written it and I've been brought it to sort it out!
    I really will treasure the advice to 'go deep' rather than create more sub-plots, as it it a tendency of mine to dash down other avenues rather than linger, and although I was beginning to reach that realisation, I haven't addressed it until now. You have encapsulated exactly what I needed to hear while I'm editing my novel. Thank you so much!
    Wishing you every success with the rest of the process - I really enjoyed this very helpful and insightful post. xxx

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    1. Thank you, Joanna. I do try to remain positive about every part of writing but as you say, it is hard work and can prove to be extremely frustrating at times :) I'm glad that the advice of my wise and wonderful writing friend has also helped you. No doubt her advice will pop up every now in my posts because I value and trust everything she has taught me and continues to teach me about writing and life in general.
      I appreciate your kind words and encouragement, Joanna. Thanks so much for taking the time to share :) Have a lovely weekend.

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  16. What a beautiful picture - I love all the vibrant colours. When I look at it I see colourful jellyfish swimming under the sea amongst sea anemones. Good luck with your novel, it sounds as if you are making excellent progress with your editing :-) xx

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    1. Thank you, Teresa. I hope Dusty feels better soon. Have a lovely weekend.

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  17. I didn't think of pizza at all! It's a lovely picture. I don't do my own editing and for good reason. I honestly think many people don't know how many layers of hard work go into crafting a story. It's tough, and I'm guilty of repeating words.

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    1. Thanks for sharing, Christine. So many layers to get through. But it's all part of the journey and worth it in the end. Have a lovely weekend.

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  18. That's a stunning picture. It's one you can look at for a long time and get lost in all the gorgeous colors and shapes. I definitely don't see pizza, though I could see my teenage son calling it that.
    Yes, editing can take forever. I've gotten a lot better at self-editing, but I still catch word repetition and conflicting details that I've forgotten about. When I've gotten my manuscript to the point where I can't do any more with it, I hire a professional editor to go over it. A fresh set of eyes and perspective is worth every penny.

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    1. Thanks for visiting Lori. Even though it's gruelling, I am enjoying the process because I am learning so much. I am saving those pennies :) Have a lovely weekend.

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  19. I also see flowers in that picture.

    As for edits, I like to go from big to small. First revision, then edits to successively finer details with every round until I proofread.

    Sometimes I go over my book over thirty times, depending on what it needs. Thanks for visiting my blog!

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    1. Thanks for popping by, Misha! Lovely to 'see' you. I've lost count as to how many times I've gone through my manuscript. And I've learned (the hard way :)) to break things down into small chunks.

      Wish you a great weekend.

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  20. I see shells and jellyfish in that picture.

    I reread my manuscripts numerous times to catch mistakes and any areas that need fixing. I also hand them to the beta readers. They look for big picture things, but they'll also add comments for editing.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your experience Medeia. Have a lovely week.

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  21. I love the vibrant colours in the picture, Nicola, and I see flowers, too. Looking at this each morning must be a real tonic on these grey rainy days. I was particularly interested in your comments about editing your novel; as you know, that's what I'm trying to do at the moment. A great post. :-)

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    1. Thanks for popping by, Jan. I'm keeping a log of the editing techniques I'm learning and using. I am hoping the process gets easier with practice :)

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  22. What a perfect metaphor! As to cringe worthy mistakes, I have a collection of those in my "Do not resuscitate" file.

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    1. :) Thanks for making me smile first thing in the morning Lee. I must get me a file just like that. Have a lovely week.

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  23. It's nice that you're able to recognize when you need to make edits. A lot of my problems stem from not being able to tell when I'm missing something, like emotion, in my story.

    Have fun with your edits! (And pretty picture too.)

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    1. It helps to have others read the story. My mother read my novel early last year and told me the ending was rather a let down (she said it in a lovely way :)) SO I rewrote it. It only took a couple of hours because I knew what she meant and knew what it was meant to be. I then sent it back to her and she was shocked at the overall impact (it was a brutal fight scene :)). Have a lovely week Loni. Thanks for popping by.

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  24. Beautiful art:) And as far as word count goes, I had a similar issue with an MS years back. Sometimes those requirements seem arbitrary, don't they?

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    1. Thanks for popping by, Mark. The problem with the word count on my first novel is that I wrote it without any planning. I just sat and wrote the story and gave no thought to 'fitting' into the traditional norms. Many lessons have been learned :)

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