How Many Dead Flowers Does It Take To Edit A Novel?

editing office

This is what editing looks like for me. I figure this is a service to aspiring authors and winsome readers who think writing novels is a pretty job. I mean, it started off that way with the crocheted blanket (circa 1992, made by my grandmother for my oldest when he was born), photos of my childhood street (the inspiration for my novel), the vase full of yellow blossoms, ample natural and artificial light, and a dog who lies on the bed and stares at me. The notebook on the floor is so that I remember to see it, which might not have happened if it was on the desk. It was there for days. The cups are coffee-scented reminders of days gone by. I rinse them when I remember, or when they become science experiments. I hate science.

And this, my friends, was two weeks ago.

So I’m sure you’ve surmised from the mess that IZZY is coming along great. The mess may be unbecoming but it’s not daunting to IZZY or me. I’m now fine-tuning IZZY into the character you all deserve to read about, with a story to match her wit, her troubles, and her resolve, and with secrets that will make you wonder what you really know about your own friends and family.

In addition to editing, I’m happy to say that winter has finally ended in Chicagoland. Although I’m definitely indoorsy, I have the potted herbs and hanging baskets to prove I have a bit of a green thumb, at least until it’s more than 100 degrees. Doing something besides editing—like gardening or exercising or driving or showering—always helps me work out a problem or issue with a scene or a sentence or a word choice.

As does snacking.

red fish

Red fish are a perk of the job. This writing gig is 24/7. IZZY and her cohorts are never far from my thoughts. My fingers are never far from a keyboard. Or SkinnyPop.

Editing a novel: it’s consuming, it’s enchanting, it’s hard work—it’s like rearranging your favorite furniture and then finding the room looks only a little different, but infinitely better.

Hope you’re enjoying summer! I’ll back with more IZZY news (like a new title, perhaps) as soon as I can be!

In the meantime, tell me: is someone’s character linked to the truths they tell, or to their lies?

Amy xo 


10 thoughts on “How Many Dead Flowers Does It Take To Edit A Novel?

  1. Ah, Amy, I know all too well about dead flowers during those last intense months of editing a novel for publication, but I have to say that your study looks a LOT tidier than mine! At the moment I have two half-eaten chocolate bars on my desk, an unmade bed, pages everywhere, piles of books all over the floor, old tea cups…it’s like an entire fraternity decided to camp in my office. Never mind the untended lawn and the piles of laundry…Good luck with Izzy. Can’t wait to meet her!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have a whole room for my office, and between writing stuff, college stuff (I graduated a MONTH ago and it’s still here!), and lesson stuff for my kids at church, it looks FAR worse than yours! But I’ve solved the dead flower issue by having lots of flower pots to see through the sliding glass doors. Snacks? Umm, I’d better not go there.

    To answer your question, my first thought was that a character is more connected to her inclination to tell the truth or hide the lies, and why, not so much exactly what the truth or lies are.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. If this is what writing and editing looks like, I must be on the right track! Thanks for sharing and giving the mysterious act of writing books a little dose of reality. It gives all us aspiring authors hope!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Zan, someone needs to convince my husband of that. He goes through and purges/reorganizes/cleans every so often and I CAN’T.FIND.ANYTHING. 🙂 Although I will admit it looks nice.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s