Bonjour!

The road to publication is a series where I keep a record of my writing journey. I like the idea that I can come back to these posts, read them and reflect on what I have learned.

At the start of the month, I decided to do camp NaNoWriMo and edit 25 000 words of my novel in July. I ended up editing about 10 000 words. So, there are about 20 000 words edited so far in the whole novel considering I had already done a few edits on the three first chapters.

I feel a bit disappointed with myself but I have learned something essential regarding editing in the past month: for me, editing can’t be treated like writing. What I mean is I can’t keep a word count of edited words as I would keep count of newly written words. Editing is a slow process and the impatient person in me has no choice but to accept it in order to complete the novel.

So, July has been a month of lessons.

1- Being patient with the story

Are you sensing a theme here with patience! I am definitely guilty of wanting to rush my story. Write, write, write, you must write, I say to myself. And, this is true. A writer writes. But a writer also takes the time that is needed to get the story right. I was so excited when I had the idea for my novel that I just wanted to write the whole thing. And, I did. But, I realised there is one essential step I have neglected.

2- Plotting and planning your novel

Rita! How come you are talking about plotting and planning? I thought your first draft was completed, you are going to tell me.

At the Facebook chat last week, I asked Kate Forsyth to give her best tip for someone who’s editing a first draft for the first time.  Here was her answer.

 

“Do it slowly and methodically. Look at the big picture first – where does your novel drag? Where is it too slow? Where does it become a muddle? Examine your key turning points, your crisis and resolution – are they as strong as they could be? Are they in the right place?  Then and only then, look at the book line by line.”

- Kate Forsyth

Last Saturday, I sat in a room in the beautiful Trinity College (the building on the top of this post) and listened to the wonderful Kate Forsyth talking about her process in plotting and planning her novels. It was like an epiphany. Where are the notes about my story? Where are the preparations that lead to that story? Well, it’s scattered  around the place (some on loose paper, others on different notebooks) but, mainly, it’s in my head and this is not how it should be.

The story is clear and I know what obstacles my characters have to overcome but there are some essential questions I have been disregarding. Who are these people? What happened in their past that explains their actual behaviour? What motivate their actions? What do they want?

I’m writing a fantasy and I created a whole new world but I have neglected answering some important questions. What do people eat in that world? How do they work? What is special in this world that makes it so different from what we know? How was this world created?

My brand new notebook to write all my ideas for my novel at the same place and get organised

 

3- Writing should come later rather than sooner

That’s a big statement but I realised that if the plotting and planning is done with great details, the writing of the story will be easier, the line by line editing will be easier. The whole process has to be easier if I know where the story is going and how the characters react to certain situation, how they talk, how they behave. All what I have written so far is certainly not wasted but it needs organisation and working on discovering the story behind the story.

I also came to the conclusion that I should enjoy more the fact that I’m a beginner. The high achiever in me has a lot of difficulties to accept this fact. But, I should be more grateful that this is a time when I can make mistakes and it’s ok because I am learning. I should be more kind to myself.

I really like this quote from Kate Forsyth

I really like this quote from Kate Forsyth.  She said in her workshop that it can take her up to a year of planning, plotting and day dreaming her story before she starts to write it.

Writing, like anything else, is a learning curve. Of course, I’d like to get this novel out in the world quickly but I reflected on this idea in the past few days: it took me 7 years to become a lawyer, being a published author is not something that is going to happen overnight. It’s going to take time, but, one happy day, it will happen and I have to cling to this idea. Meanwhile, I have to keep working, keep learning, keep writing and work on my patience.

 When is the last time you had an epiphany?  Tell me all about it.

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{ 1 comment }

Bonjour!

Libraries are magical places.

I am so lucky to live in a city that has an amazing library.

The State Library of Victoria is certainly my favourite place in Melbourne.

The State Library of Victoria

Facade and statue of Sir Redmond Barry

The State Library of Victoria

Statue of St George and the Dragon

The State Library of Victoria

Statue of Jeanne d’Arc

The State Library of Victoria

The great reading room

The State Library of Victoria

The State Library of Victoria

Library 4

The Dome

Does the city where you live has a fabulous library? 

Have you ever visited The State Library of Victoria?

Au revoir!

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If you enjoyed reading my post, you can subscribe by email and receive all my new posts in your inbox.  You can also like my Facebook page, follow me on Twitter, on Instagram and Bloglovin.
Please, leave me a comment.  Let me know what you think of my post or any opinion you would like to share.  Even though I don’t answer all the comments, I read them all and I love them!

{ 17 comments }

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