This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
By Anna Bell
Recently, I got a touch of lazyitis with regards to my writing. My manuscript was good, but it wasn’t quite there. To make it great, I knew I’d have to make a major change, but I was sick to death of the sight of it. So what did I do when I got to this stage? I called on my trusty line editor and test readers, who nudged me in the right direction, making me dig deeper.
Before my son was born, I finished a draft of a novel and sent it away for line editing. It arrived back at a time when I felt like my baby was permanently attached to me, feeding. All I wanted to do was the bare minimum of editing. The line editor didn’t have that many little changes to make. As it was a sequel, she suggested explaining some of the history of the characters for the new readers, and as usual the odd ‘really, would they say this’ came up. But one thing she did mention, was the relationship of my main character and one of the male suitors not gelling. At this point I wanted to dig my head in the sand. It would require me writing a new chapter and tweaking nearly every chapter and reference to the suitor.
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The problem with having to change a whole plot wasn’t only the rewriting, it’s all the tweaking that goes with it. By adding a chapter in near the beginning, I’d changed the whole story and the dynamic between two of the characters. This required great attention to detail in the rest of the book. I had to make sure that references were changed, and I had to add in other scenes to support the new chapter. It was a domino effect.
When I’d finished the rewrite (and the half a dozen read throughs to check I’d caught all the old references), I was pleased with the result. The niggle that my novel wasn’t quite right had disappeared. The story lines were tighter and the characters had the right chemistry.
The hard work had been worth it. This is why I love the combination of using a line editor and test readers. It’s always hard to hear criticism, especially when you’ve got to the point where you’re fed up with editing and making changes. But it’s much nicer to have your plot holes or problems pointed out to you before you publish, rather than after. Getting feedback always makes me realise that I’ve got more to give – even when I think I haven’t.
Does this attack of the lazyitis happen to anyone else? Do you ever ignore what your test readers or editor tells you?