Sunday, January 2, 2011

Changing Your Voice in the Editing Process

So as I mentioned yesterday, my husband suggested my first book be the one I affectionately titled, "The Waif and the Bad Boy." (Still a working title, forgive me.)

As a result, last night I started the long, long process of editing the manuscript. The good news is that it's one of my more recent pieces, and I think my writing has drastically improved since I started, so I don't think it's going to require as much editing as my older pieces. Plus, it's not The Quest of Dai series, which is so full of twists and turns that sometimes I have trouble keeping it all straight, so it should be much easier to edit.

It's a much more lighthearted, fun read than Dai... Something to curl up with for a couple of hours to entertain yourself and feel good. I think of it like a chick flick of movies--for books.

I was editing for about three hours last night, and out of 71 pages, I'm on 5. (WHOO HOO!)

One thing I hate, and writers, if you ever find this blog, feel free to weigh in... Have you ever noticed that when you write a piece, it has a certain tone and style, and then when you go through and edit it, the style and tone changes almost completely? In a way it goes from being "draft" to being "polished" and "professional", but I also feel like it loses something in the editing process, and that was why, for a long time, I never edited my writing when I wrote fanfic.

Here's what I mean... TWatBB is set from a 16 year old's perspective. It's written in a 16 year old's voice. The text is casual and the words smaller, even the descriptions, to help set the tone of the book. But in the editing process, I'll look at it and go, "No... This doesn't sound good. This sounds like a 16 year old wrote it." And then I'll change it.

Here's an example of what I mean. This was the unedited version:

                It was an unusually warm summer, and with all of the fans being used in the rest of the house to keep the other rooms cool, the only way to get any air into her stifling second-floor room was to leave her window open and the curtains drawn to let in the late-night breeze. This was, of course, a choice she was quickly regretting as she continued to hear the scuffling outside.

And this is what it turned into:

                As she waited in trepidation and fear for another sound, she silently cursed her parents for stealing all of the fans in the house to keep their own room cool in the stifling heat. It was an unusually warm summer, and the only way to get any air into the stuffy second-floor bedroom was to leave her window open and the curtains drawn to let in the late-night breeze—a decision she hadn’t considered as dangerous until she heard the scuffling outside.

The last sentence, especially, I felt like helped give Annabelle her voice for the reader--and yet it was a sentence that as an editor I didn't really feel worked.

Does anyone else ever feel like they lose some of their voice in the editing process?