Saturday, March 16, 2013

Food and Editing at Alma's

I have two major passions in life -- other than my children.  I love food and I love writing (editing, not so much).  While having brunch at Alma, my favorite rooftop dining spot in the Waterfront area of Brooklyn, I decided to marry my passions and eat while editing. :-)

I first fell in love with Alma Viva last summer when my guy and I went in search of something ecclectic, brunchy and special in Brooklyn.  After poring over dozens of Zagat reviews, we stumbled upon Alma and it's been our little hip spot ever since.  I even food blogged about it here.  Love the owner -- I call him Mr. Wonderful.  (He had a t-shirt on that said that too.)

But I digress, the topic here is food, writing and editing, right?  So, I finally completed my first draft of my National Novel Writing Month Novel (NaNoWriMo) a few weeks ago.  I let it rest for two weeks and then re-read it.  It didn't immediately suck to me and that's a big plus.  But, now what?

I went in search of things to help me understand how best to do this big job.  I figured I needed an editor.  Okay, found one (that's a WHOLE other blog post).  But, before I send off this little puppy, I need to make sure my editor will not crucify me and ban me to the imbecilic writer's club from the first page.

So, I blog about it (of course) and one of my blog readers, Leti Del Mar, came to the rescue and shared a recent blog post about her very intense and thorough method of editing her work.  Read her editing post here.  Then, if you are so inclined, read more of her Words with Leti Del Mar blog.

I shared Leti's blog post with my writing mentors Jacqueline Lichtenberg and Jean Lorrah and they gave it a thumbs up! 

Between these two women, I've suffered literary growing pains and I'm so happy they kept the pressure up.  I recall one day breaking down into tears because I couldn't figure out the correct plotting sequence of a book they wanted me to deconstruct.  All this happened around 2003.

After a little over two years of working with them, I think I hit burnout.  I couldn't process anything.  Couldn't write anything.  That began ending in 2008/9.  Inklings of wanting to write began to bubble.  Then, in early 2009, my very first short story was published Chambray Curtains Blowing in the Wind by Bartleby-Snopes Literary magazine.  This story was edited over I don't know how many years.  Ms. Lichtenberg and Ms. Lorrah helped me with it and coaxed out the true plot (back then I didn't know what a plot was until it bit me and I was half-dead).  Then, editor Nathaniel Tower, pushed it to where he wanted it to be.  The ending had to change.  Everyone said it.  With reluctance, I changed it and it was published.  Lesson learned.

Anyway, all of this brings us to today and editing.  Back then, I had the help of my mentors who pushed and prodded me to go in a direction.  Today, I am standing on my own two feet and seeking to do what they did to me for myself.  It doesn't hurt as much as it did.  I know I'm a good writer or else my time with them would have been MUCH shorter. :-)

But now what?  Now, I shift through my 77,585 words and pull out structure, enhance characterization and embed sub-plots.  Don't know if I can get through four read-throughs Leti but I will try!

If I do something I truly love and add in the not so pleasant (editing), I will get it done.  I have to remember why I'm doing this and then maybe I can get through the task at hand.  I love writing and I've very rarely shared my work with people and I'm slowly beginning to unravel why.  You'll all be part of this wonderful journey if you so choose and understand it all, if you care to.

In the meantime, I'm going to get to doing the paper edits on the actual story.  On page 9 and have over 200 pages to go.  (I will not sigh!)

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