Today we have the awesomely awesome Eric Smith, author of the new fantasy novel INKED. He’s here to chat about the editing process and how he and his editor managed to wrangle it from 120,000 words to 75,000!
As most book readers know, Fantasy novels are known for their elaborate descriptions and lengthy plot developments. It always makes me so curious about what their writing process must be like.
I’ve personally read INKED and it’s not bogged down by descriptions of unnessesary plot points that might easily distract some readers, making it a great novel for those who are normally hesitant to try Fantasy novels and/or younger readers.
Check out Eric’s thoughts on his editing process for INKED and enter to win one of three ebook copies!
On Editing, Revising, & Learning to Leave Things Out
I think one of the most difficult parts of writing, at least for me, is learning to leave things out. I’m a monster. I like to describe absolutely every little thing. I just can’t help myself. So when my agent was busy pitching the original manuscript of INKED to publishers, she was sending around a Word .doc packed with nearly 120,000 words.
To all the editors that read through that beast, and dealt with my unneeded descriptions of things like cobblestones and shrubbery… I apologize.
Luckily, my awesome editor Meredith Rich at Bloomsbury Spark managed to wrestle that beast of a manuscript down to a cozy 75,000 words, chopping out a novella-sized portion of the book. And while a lot of my writer friends cringe and squirm at the thought of that much being deleted, it was actually a really awesome process, one that has affected my future writing in a big way.
Here’s are three things I learned from working with my editor.
ALLOW PEOPLE TO WONDER: I think one of the greatest things about writing in fantasy or science-fiction, is the fact that you’re able to create an exciting, altogether new world. The possibilities are as endless as your imagination. However, you have to remember you’re not only dealing with your imagination here. You have your reader’s imagination to consider as well.
Obviously detail is important, but you have to figure out the right balance. Too much, and you aren’t leaving any room for your reader to use their own imagination. You need to let your reader wonder a bit, imagine the characters and setting for themselves.
Give them enough to get started, and let their imagination takeover.
DON’T KILL YOUR DARLINGS, SAVE THEM: I’ve used this line on my writerly friends before, who spend a lot of time editing as they write, and getting hung up on what they should cut instead of moving on and continuing their story. Here’s the thing. Those darlings that you’re fretting over? You don’t have to “kill” them as the old saying goes. You can save them for later.
That paragraph that you adore, but just isn’t working? That chapter you know you can do without, but has something you really enjoy? All those pages your editor or agent want you to cut out? Relax. Instead of deleting them and beating yourself up, open up a Word .doc and cut-and-paste.
The cliché “kill your darlings” line doesn’t have to be just that, deleting and never using that stuff again. You can save those little darlings, for something else later on.
GET EXTRA EYES: INKED spent a lot of time in the hands of my editor, her copyeditor, my agent, and my agent’s readers. And all the notes I received were incredible and useful, shaping the entire novel. But it’s super important to share your story with other people as well, during that whole process. They can pick up on things that you and your team might have missed, as you’re all spending a lot of time reading and re-reading the same thing.
Enlist the help of friends (who don’t necessarily need to be writers!), and get those extra thoughts about edits. Are there things you’re unsure about? Sections you’re thinking of cutting? Having peers that read your work early on will be an awesome resource later, when you’ve reached that final stage.
Fun Fact: I reworked a major part of the book’s ending thanks to the thoughts of one person, and I’m really thrilled she said something.
So to wrap up! One, enlist the help of beta-readers, it’ll help when you get to the final edits stage. Two, don’t kill your darlings, save them for a rainy day. And three, don’t be afraid to leave things out, let your reader wonder.
Hope those little tidbits help you in your future writing, Cuddlebuggery readers!
And now, feel free to enter the little giveaway below, for a chance to win one of three eBook copies of INKED and a signed poster! Winners can choose whether they want their eBook on the Kindle, Nook, Kobo, etc. Good luck, and thanks for having me, Cuddlebuggery!
Tattoos once were an act of rebellion.
Now they decide your destiny the moment the magical Ink settles under your skin.
And in a world where Ink controls your fate, Caenum can’t escape soon enough. He is ready to run from his family, and his best friend Dreya, and the home he has known, just to have a chance at a choice.
But when he upsets the very Scribe scheduled to give him his Ink on his eighteenth birthday, he unwittingly sets in motion a series of events that sends the corrupt, magic-fearing government, The Citadel, after him and those he loves.
Now Caenum, Dreya, and their reluctant companion Kenzi must find their way to the Sanctuary, a secret town where those with the gift of magic are safe. Along the way, they learn the truth behind Ink, its dark origins, and why they are the only ones who can stop the Citadel.
Eric Smith takes you on a high-octane fantasy adventure, perfect for anyone who has dreamed of being different… only to discover that fate is more than skin deep.
Check out the rest of the INKED Blog Tour:
1/20: The Book Smugglers
The Premiere of the Theme Song to INKED by (Surprise!)
On Editing, Revising, & Learning to Leave Things Out
1/22: Snuggly Oranges
What To Do When You Just Can’t: Researching Outside the Box
1/23: The Perpetual Page Turner
A Roundup (And Giveaway) of YA Novels That Inspired INKED
1/26: Good Books & Good Wine
Music & Inked: The Soundtrack to a Young Adult Novel
1/27: Not Yet Read
How Video Games Can Make You a Better Author
1/28: My Bookish Ways
The Best Pieces of Advice I’ve Ever Gotten From Other Writers
Eric’s giving away three e-copies of INKED in your choice of e-format!
- To enter, please fill out the Raffelcopter form below.
- We ask that all entrants be at least 13 years or older to enter.
- The giveaway is open internationally.
- When the winners are chosen, it will be announced here and the winners will be emailed.
- Please enter your email address in the Rafflecopter form and not the comments.