This is what my entire life looks like right now:

Screen Shot 2014-01-06 at 2.37.20 PM
Red pen and post-its.

I’ve always considered myself a pretty good self-editor when it comes to scriptwriting. I’ve never been all that precious with my own work, and I’m much more interested in having a good, usable, readable product than I am in keeping a line of dialogue I thought was really funny.

But editing a novel, it turns out, is almost nothing like editing a script.

Scripts are easy on the eye. There’s tons of white space, they’re short, they have one or two storylines to keep track of (three on a C-strand kind of day), it’s all outside of the characters head and half of it is simple descriptions and directions to the cast and crew.

Novels, on the other hand, are completely nuts. There’s text everywhere. The whole page is text. Even if you double space said text, it’s still there. Staring at you. Banding together to hide all your spelling mistakes and horrible turns of phrase and that descriptive word you JUST KEEP USING.

And every word you’ve written is going to be read. Suddenly I’m not just allowed to describe things, but I have to. After years of being told by the art department to STOP SPECIFYING COLOURS, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, I’m supposed to know what shade of something everything is! After not being allowed to over-direct the actor, I HAVE TO KNOW EVERYTHING SHE’S DOING. BUT I CAN’T USE THE SAME WORDS TOO OFTEN. WHILE MAINTAINING HER PERSONALITY. AND EVERYONE ELSE AROUND HER.

Honestly, it’s liberating and fun, and it’s getting easier the more I keep at it. But it’s all been a pretty steep learning curve, and I’m pretty sure my editor (when I choose one) will find a zillion things I’ve overlooked. The first novel was always going to be tough, with my lack of experience and lack of an established system and routine.

But I’m getting there, and I’m feeling good about it.

And also I have post-its in seven colours. Which is awesome.

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