The Wonders of Editing (and rambling)

January 19, 2012

Warning: Contains excessive rambling.

I'm struck by how different an experience I'm having with editing Streets as opposed to Darkness Surrounding. With Darkness Surrounding, everything was crafted over five years. My use of "crafted," of course, is used jokingly -- in reality, I dribbled (pun wasn't intended, but it totally works!) out my first draft as a high school student, at which point I had no voice and many a bad writing habit. (Still do.) A lot of re-writing and hair-pulling resulted. Regardless, I had a clear, solid idea of what I wanted to happen and where it would go as I did my final re-writes and editing for its 2011 release.

I can't say the same for Streets.

Shit's going down. Characters are having issues. More about the Immortals is being revealed, and there are even some scenes from their perspective. And here I am, working with a 50,000 word draft I stamped out in two weeks during NaNoWriMo 2010. Two weeks. I bet you can fathom how shitty that draft is!

Don't get me wrong. There are days where after a good editing (read: re-writing) session, I'm overwhelmed with a sense of HECK YEAH, LIFE IS AWESHUM. Then there are the days -- such as today -- where I'm totally bogged down by my lack of direction. Without giving too much away, I have to really subject myself to the psychological pain of my characters to get the scene just right, and that takes a toll. I don't like going there, but I have to. Kinda part of the job.

So I load up the Rainy Mood website, pump something with M. Shadows through my speakers, and slowly turn into an angry/sad/blubbering writer until my next class is about to start.

Lovely, I know. Such charming mental imagery of me with a hankie and snot. But I digress.

What I liked about Darkness Surrounding is that it was backstory. A reviewer called it a "prequel," and I absolutely have to agree. For that reason, it was easier to write. The action wasn't happening. The psychological brain-picking hadn't begun yet. My subtle political undertones hadn't taken root yet either. However, all of the afore-mentioned aspects are supposed to come to fruition in Streets.

And MY GOODNESS, they are SO DIFFICULT TO NAIL. (I am so terrible with action. Never ask me to write an action novel.)

I also want to break the immature teen heroine mold, and I don't like bad guys that are evil just 'cause. I want some wit and depth, dang it! Of course, having a whiny, love-stuck girl and an OMG EVIL villain is a much easier formula to follow and develop. It's been done before. It's familiar. We've read it dozens upon dozens of times. However, trying to find a new voice and bring something fresh to the YA world is a huge, huge challenge, especially in keeping my philosophical crap to a down-low. No one wants to be bombarded with my political/world views (ehem, James Patterson), yet I can't dismiss them completely. I want my story to have a point, an underlying message which isn't in your face, but is there if you choose to explore it. Adding another layer to an already complicated story is, well, a barrel of monkeys.

Ok, my rambling has gone on for long enough. To make the rest of this short and concise: Streets and Warmness on the Soul won't be your typical YA reads. I have my shortcomings as an author, but I intend to use my style and what I can do well to bring a new and often neglected type of conflict to the table. Expect something a little unconventional. (And a lot of swearing, because that's how us New Mexican teens roll. Just writing truth, 'yo!)

With that, I'm off to an oboe lesson.



  1. Dude, I am sorry for your pain. :( I find the sequels easier to write than the first installment - but then I was never writing a "prequel." If it helps, have your chapter plotting out like a timeline, and just write each bit that comes in. If you wanna add something, just-
    Nope, I've never published (yet), but it sure as heck makes life easier ^^ And you probably already know this too. With my non-helpiveness, yes that's a word, I shall adjourn.

    1. I wasn't aware you wrote a novel, yet alone a sequel! :P

      It's not so much the timing of events as it is the details and justifications going into them. It's getting an actual MEANING in there under the surface, and executing my message without being too obvious or cliche.


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