Writing, Writing and More Writing

Let’s talk about my book. My manuscript, if you’re feeling fancy (but fancy like the Reba version, not fancy like the Iggy Azalea version – trust me, it’s way better). I’m hovering around a 35k word count on my VERY rough draft, I’ve mapped out the events through the story’s end and I’m so excited I can feel it down to the tips of my toes. This weekend I am barricading myself into a quiet room at my house and not emerging until my I’ve typed so much my fingers bleed. I may not even stop for a shower break. So glamorous. If you’re new here or need a refresher as to why I am so disgusting and borderline mental, I’m writing a young adult action/thriller/mystery/Lord knows what it’ll end up really being and you can read about it in this post.




Now I’m allowing myself to begin thinking about editing. How does one edit a book? I’m sorry, a manuscript. Real talk: I have no idea where or how to even begin that process. Well, actually, I assume the “where” part is rather simple: at the beginning. But the how? Woof. I need a Sonic Route 44-sized glass of pinot grigio like five minutes ago. If anyone out there who happens to be reading this has written, edited, queried and published a book, please please PLEASE hit me up with some editing advice.

I’ve got this great running list on my phone of ideas to work in during the editing stage. I’ll get a random idea and jot it down, wherever I am. Sometimes I think about it when I’m in that weird in-between-sleep-and-consciousness stage at night and then I wake up with notes to myself that say things like, “What if they drive a Ferrari through the forest?” and “Put snakes in everyone’s backpacks.”

I know, you can’t wait to read it.

While I won’t reveal exactly what I really am going to work into the story, there are a few things I definitely won’t be adding. And now, for your Friday enjoyment, is an only occasionally sarcastic collection of ideas and things that will positively, absolutely, 100% NOT be written into my manuscript during editing.

  • A mysterious butterfly who delivers crucial knowledge and backstory, but speaks only through riddles and appears only when characters pull the magical sword from the stone.
  • Come to think of it, a magical sword of any kind. No swords in this story.
  • Tacos. Unfortunately.
  • Burdensome exposition. I’m a big believer in dramatic action fueling a reader’s interest; start mid-adventure and readers will figure the rest out, like James Dashner’s The Maze Runner.
  • A heavy Scottish brogue.
  • Time travel and a mysterious island with smoke monsters, polar bears and shady former felons (I miss you, Lost).
  • A title. Okay, so I really will need to add one of those at some point, but I just can’t yet. In my head I’m referring to the manuscript as one particular title but I’m not sure it’s kick-ass-y enough. More on this later.
  • One single protagonist and point of view. Ooooooer.
  • Child pornography.


Oh and this is in no way relevant to my manuscript but can we just do a quick show of hands for everyone whose obsession with Viola Davis was dramatically reawakened while watching How to Get Away With Murder last night?!

—The Wife in Training


  • Reply September 26, 2014


    FIRST I am so glad you like the REBA version best because duh. SECOND I love books (like really, really love) with multiple points of view. I just feel like it enhances everything so much and I know it can make the story really deep but its just SO GOOD. Like when Meyer wrote the first Twilight (don’t laugh) from Edward’s point of view (but never finished it) I was so thrilled! I would probably die from happiness if any of the HP books were re-written that way but I’m sure it’s a lost cause. Okay. I’m done rambling now. Put me on the pre-order list for your book. Er, manuscript.

  • Reply September 26, 2014

    Natalie @ Never Serious Blog

    Well I love Viola, but I have no idea what that show is, so I’m gonna have to get on that.

    And please, dear Jesus, don’t put snakes in everyone’s backpacks.

  • Reply September 26, 2014


    I feel like this mystical butterfly could really add a lot to your book. If you DO decide to add it in during the editing process you have my permission to name it Juliette. Even if it’s a male butterfly.

  • Reply September 26, 2014


    It totally gets me fired up when you talk about your book….send me a copy and I can “edit” it for you, as in read it and rave over how awesome you are! And Viola Davis….obsessed. LOVE her. The Help was filmed in my hometown and I actually met her while they were filming and I’ve loved her ever since. She’s a badass, like Olivia Pope. Thursdays are officially my favorite TV night.

    • Reply September 26, 2014


      I actually used to work with a crazy successful woman who, in addition to her incredibly demanding day job, wrote NINE New York Times bestsellers under a pen name (so she couldn’t even brag about it to random strangers!). Anyway, one of our other coworkers edited her first 4 or so books for her. Essentially, she just had a friend edit them. We work in a field that requires good communication skills and extreme attention to detail but still, just a random friend. It was a series so it actually helped to have her friend do the editing because she would catch inconsistencies in the plot or character histories. That said, I also offer to edit your book in the event you decide you want a random stranger’s help ;) Seriously, though (not that my offer wasn’t serious….), I would at least get someone else’s perspective. It helps to have an objective view to tell you that something needs to go (even if you are really attached to it) or if something sounds weird, etc.

  • Reply September 26, 2014


    Thanks for specifying that you’re not including child pornography in your manuscript. I have been meaning to ask.

  • Reply September 26, 2014


    Lindsay! I’m rooting for you and your mani!
    There’s a good chance you’ve read it, but Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott is probs one of my favorite books and she gives some great advice on writing/editing. I think there is a whole chapter or something devoted to the Shitty First Draft. And she’s hilarious and loves Jesus so extra pluses there. http://www.amazon.com/Bird-Some-Instructions-Writing-Life/dp/0385480016

    Hope you are well—I’m mentally cheersing you with my Sonic Route 66 imaginary Chardonnay!

  • Reply September 26, 2014

    chelsea @ the new wifestyle

    yeeeeeah you go girl! 35k is no joke and now i need to get on it.

    i agree…please don’t put snakes in everyone’s backpacks (i just had to look in mine to make sure that one didn’t manifest on their own.) way to also take a stand and not put child pornography in your book, bold and smart move.

    good luck with those finger bleeds this weekend!

  • Reply September 29, 2014


    How To Get Away With Murder basically became my life on Thursday evening. I didn’t want to do anything else after it aired but sit around with my mouth wide open.

    Oh and I see a happy hour reading session in our future ;-)

  • Reply September 30, 2014

    Rachel G

    hahaha–oh, I can relate. My rough draft is at about 30,000 right now and editing will be interesting. I also make the random notes and I can’t always tell later what I was thinking when I wrote them.

  • Reply September 30, 2014

    chelsea jacobs

    I’m so excited for you! One thing I do a lot when editing my own things is read out loud..when you read it to yourself, you tend to read them how you meant them, not how they actually sound.

  • Reply October 2, 2014


    Fine. Fine I’ll accept the things you’ve so no to.


    -fried butter
    -an addiction to all things salty (especially nachos and french fries)
    -a murderer who owns the local donut store and kills people then uses sprinkles as his (or her) signature on their bodies
    -a hot, blonde, spitfire character named amber. or hazel
    -a guard tortoise

    ok. once you get those things in there you’ll no longer need to edit and you can just publish.

    • Reply October 2, 2014


      I forgot to mention. I will read it. And five you a five star review. Because I know it’ll be THAT good. That is all.

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