Editing Adventures in Vonnie-Land

Here’s the thing, I have the attention span of a gnat on crack.

I’m an author who has ADD and my creative process isn’t easy to follow. In fact, I don’t recommend it to anyone (who doesn’t have ADD) and who wants to keep any semblance of sanity after their editor sends their manuscript back.

shark

Not only do I have an odd (and sometimes, completely inappropriate) sense of humor. I LOVE ellipses and dashes. I write dialog exactly as I speak it – kinda like talking in shorthand with a potty mouth 🙂 (With many interruptions) 

And did I mention I have ADD?

Seriously.

While all that is part of my charm and keeps ME highly entertained, it can sometimes pose a challenge for my editor. Let’s have a moment of silence while I bow down before her.

Read a few of my blogs and you’ll know hard she works 🙂

I have scores of scenes that never make it into my books. I have hundreds of little scraps of paper littering my desk, car, side table, etc. Not to mention – the six or so yellow tablets lying in strategic places in my house. You know, just in case I have an idea and I’m not at my desk.

Multitasking stickman

Ooooh, yes! I should write that down – somewhere – I might need it.

These are not limited to any manuscript that I am currently working on. I have titles for books, but no stories yet. I have scenes and conversations for my NEXT book. I have character names for the book after THAT. Song lyrics and poetry are jotted down alongside grocery & to-do lists.

You get the picture.

So, while I went through edits on my first two books – I tried to edit the same way I wrote. This is what I looked like after a day on the computer…

tearing hair out cat

For some reason, I thought I was all alone on this author-ship. I sat in silence, cried, and tore my hair out. I was under the impression if I asked questions or stated my concerns ya’ll would know I was an intruder in your very talented midst. I was terrified for someone to ask me anything about how I wrote a book.

I certainly didn’t feel qualified to answer you.

Funny story about that – I was at a dinner with BSB folks during the GCLS Conference and the lovely woman next to me said she was having a difficult time writing from A-Z.  I did something I had never done before! I shared my writing process.

“If you get stuck – open a new page and write another scene. You may end up with extras when you’re finished – but at least you’re spending time and having fun with your characters.”

I have a blast with mine.

You should see some of the stuff that DOESN’T make into the published versions.

Now on my third book’s edits, I’ve gotten over my shyness and I reach out. I ask questions. I’ve had wonderful input from other published authors and editors. In other words, I don’t spend time crying alone in the office with a manuscript while I bang my head on the keyboard. That’s huge growth for me.

*Cue Angels singing music*

This is what I’ve learned.

I’ve let my creative junkie get high (figuratively, folks) and run with her ideas. Now I have to come back and do something very important.

EDIT IN ORDER.

Once that manuscript comes back to me – I’m not going to skip around and edit what I want to first, then make myself suffer – because I no longer have to write/revise a scene ten times to fit the changes I made later in the story – or earlier – whichever the case may be.

No-one is more surprised that I am that it’s working. It’s really, really working.

Here is my advice and two cents for the week: 

If you’re an author with ADD. By all means – run with your style and creativity. 

BUT – Edit in order.   

You will sleep better.

red cat

Thoughts?

How do YOU write?

*Disclaimer – No editors, sharks, or kitties were injured during the writing of this blog!

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11 comments

  1. Thanks for sharing this, Yvonne. I recognize some of my writerly behaviors in what you’ve written here. I’m not sure if I should feel relieved or afraid. All of my life I’ve been most comfortable doing things sequentially. The word “random” was only a concept, not a way to accomplish anything. Now however, I jot notes on shopping lists, bury my laptop under scads of little paper squares, and interrupt conversations with my partner so that I can run to my desk and write a piece of dialogue. I’ve taken emotional refuge in the realization of my age…older. And I’ve begun to claim ownership of a condition the medical community hasn’t yet named…SAOADD, Senior Adult Onset Attention Deficit Disorder. For some reason, giving a name to my newly acquired writing habits gives me comfort. Reading your humorous blog and knowing I’m not alone helps also.

    Yours in the wonderful struggle,
    Renée Bess

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    • I am so glad you stopped by! Now, imagine if you will – SAOADD – on TOP of the ADD I’ve had all my life…. Scary! But I think if we just find what works for us as individuals, our creativity gets to run – and that can only be fun and entertaining!

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  2. You rock, Yvonne. 🙂

    I’m a sequentialist, but I’m also the type who is able to stop and go back and re-work something so that it flows better with something later on in the book. So though I’m writing from A-Z, I might stop at R and go back to D and change a few things/add stuff so that it makes better sense with M-L and R. It sort of evolves organically, but I’m keeping tabs on its process.

    Regarding editing? OH, yeah. A-Z.

    And whatever works for you, Yvonne, is what works. WOOO!

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  3. I just love how you can describe yourself. I always knew I loved all of your “charms” some may call them defects but that would be saying there is something wrong and there is nothing wrong with you. You are perfect Thank You

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