Strengthening A Three Pronged Approach

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

So I’m halfway through the three part editing project I discussed last time. I’ve done two characters and I’m on to the third, and I like how the book is shaping up. 

One advantage to editing chapters according to characters is that I’m working through continuity issues, as well as repetition that I missed during my first edit.  I’m making notes as I go, but to make things easier, I should have been using those colorful little stickies that hang out of the edges of the pages. Next time, I’ll remember.

I’ve also been better able to insert my characters’ likes and dislikes and fill in personality quirks, so that they’re not one-off mannerisms, but are consistent throughout the story.  I don’t think I’ve done too bad a job in this direction. One reader commented that she knew which character she was with at the start of each chapter without looking at the name. Good stuff!

When I finish with my third character, I’ll unbind the chapters and put them together sequentially. After that, I’ll be cross-referencing material and ensuring that the timeline is correct.  I have noticed some time shifts that are not quite accurate.  Also, when I have the book all together again, I need to decide which month the story started.  Okay, so this is something I should have established before I started writing, and maybe I noted it in some far corner of my mind, but I’m now drawing a blank.

I do have ideas though.  It can’t be summer, because then the three ladies would have had to be making arrangements to avoid being driven mad by stir-crazy kids. So, since the book covers a short period, I think I’ll pick up sometime after the summer. In writing this, I recall I have a prize-giving ceremony for one of the kids, so that will have to change to a performance or something.

Hmmm…every time I get stuck like this I remind myself to do every future project with an outline. Would you believe this project was one of those where I did a detailed character charts and a decent outline?

Still, it’s impossible to cover all my bases while outlining, and things like the prize giving pops up and throws a spanner in the works. Is it any wonder that editing is slow, deliberate and time consuming?  I keep having panicky moments when I think I’ve written events in the wrong order or I’ve left out vital information. To ensure I miss nothing, I’ll be making notes in one place, separate from the manuscript.  That way, as additional ideas come to mind, I’ll be able to add them eventually, but I figure by the time I’m sick of reading this novel, every tiny detail will be in place.   

On another note, some of my writing pals are getting excited about NaNo. For me, October means finishing up the previous year’s project. 

I better get on that soon.


  1. Do it in August. Kids are back in school but its still warm.

  2. Thanks - but in Jamaica we go back to school in September. :)

  3. Hi Joy -- I need to work out the timeline on my new novel, too. Funny how that's always an afterthought for me, but it's kind of important, isn't it? I'm probably going to shy away from NaNo again this year. Will you be doing it? Thanks for another interesting post.

  4. Rita,

    Yup, it's important all right and readers do notice when the timing is off, and it's a lot more work to juggle it after the book is done.

    Everything in me tells me it would be crazy to do NaNo, yet the urge is there. I'm hoping I can resist joining in the madness.

  5. When you go by character, do you only do the main characters or do you do the minor characters as well? I think it's a fabulous idea.


  6. I do the main characters, however, I also have to get their spouses and relatives in there too, along with incidents/interactions that help demonstrate who these women are as individuals.

  7. Hey Joy -- I found your blog through a comment you made on mine, and I absolutely love it! I was wondering if you would be interested in joining my writing blog directory, which you can see at we'd love to have you! You can email me at sskid2000 AT hotmail DOT com or on my personal blog.

  8. Alanna,

    Thanks for stopping in. Glad you like it. No problem with adding me to the directory. Will come by and confirm that.

  9. Hi Joy, thanks again for stopping by my blog. I'm so glad you did because I'm enjoying yours quite a bit. :)

  10. Thanks, Alanna! Glad to know this is working for you.


Don't be shy, I'd love to hear what you think.