Seducing Your Story ~ The Magic of Editing

Seducing Your Story ~ The Magic of Editing

© 2012 by Kat Bastion

Everyone seems to be afraid of… or utterly dread… editing. Going back into work you’ve slaved over and doing the mechanical “stuff.” (highly technical term)

For me? Editing is the most amazing part. Now’s the time I get to shine—weave magic into an already stellar piece of art…or…not…depending on whatever I was thinking when my fingers flew across the keyboard at Mach 13. (which is 9,896 mph, in case you were wondering) … {fogs my nails and buffs them on my shirt}

Why all the anxiety?

Well, by the time you’ve finished. You’re a little bug-eyed. You feel like your head is about to explode. You’ve been so long in the forest you’d forgotten there were trees. With leaves. That are green. Usually.

Like fine wine, some things need to breathe.

Give it a rest.  Let that beauty sit there long enough for the oxygen to enhance your creation… and recharge your brain cells.

So now what?

First, you have to prepare yourself.  Put your sweats on, tie your hair in a high, fluffy ponytail, and keep a dose of dark chocolate close at hand. Put on those sexy librarian glasses that make your man think you’re imminently do-able, but force him to take pause because he knows there’s a whole lot of something else going on over there.

Now, you sit down and break it down—Chapter by chapter; Scene by scene; Paragraph by paragraph… Down to the very last sentence.

  • Is there a goal at the beginning?
  • Was it achieved at the end?
  • Did the world I create pull me in? Can I see it, feel it… smell it?
  • When the tension built, did his inner turmoil come across?
  • Does my plot move forward at just the right pace?
  • Am I using an active or passive verb in that sentence?
  • Did I use the best possible words to convey feelings and action?
  • Are my scene and chapter breaks in places that make sense?

Now. Usually all that analysis, and the weaving of those magical elements, comes in waves for me.  I am a pantster, after all. But the point is, I know what to look for. I know where my weaknesses lie in my drafts. I know how to fix them.

Use “Find” in your word processing program.

Are there repetitive words? Especially unique words that will pull your reader out of the story when they notice. Like… bristled… or askance. Do you really want your readers to stop and think to themselves, “Damn. There’s a whole lot of bristling going on.”? No? Me either.

I’ll never forget, as I looked up synonyms for enormous. I decided to do a word find. I found: 8 enormous, 4 vast, 7 massive, 1 huge, 2 gigantic, 2 giant, 1 mammoth, and 1 gargantuan. I got excited. I had yet to use oversize, colossal, and substantial.

How do I remember that? I’m looking at the yellow sticky pasted to editing notes. 

Okay, Kat. We get it. Everything is massive. {smirks}

Learn your craft.

Trust me, I didn’t always love editing. But, mentor’s words and techniques ring into my head when I’m elbows deep in reworking my rough draft into a polished diamond.

  • J.R. Ward ~ “Finish a book….” … from The Black Dagger Brotherhood, An Insider’s Guide
  • Karen Marie Moning ~ In an introduction to JZB’s POV last year, said she often writes difficult scenes from more than one perspective until she feels it’s perfect.
  • Donald Maass ~ “Rewrite the page… Rewrite this page again… Rewrite this page again…” … from The Fire In Fiction.

What did I take away from those greats? Finish what you started. Make it better. Everyone has to work hard to get results… it isn’t through the wrinkle of a nose like in Bewitched.

What’s the secret to editing?

Perspective is huge. How you go about doing something always impacts the result. Like I always say… about everything… if you aren’t having fun, you’re doing it wrong.

I make it fun, with the sweats and the ponytail and the chocolate. 

As I work through my paper-pushing day job, I can’t wait to finish, so I can tweak that scene. Add the idea that’s rattled around in my head. Polish that rough spot.

For me, the magic truly begins with the editing. The story I’ve written comes to three-dimensional life as the world mists off the pages and surrounds me.

Editing is seducing your story—teasing her slowly with grace and care until the best part of her shines through.

Can you tell I’m in the middle of editing? {laughs}
I’m having a blast with rewrites, revisions, and editing. Oh. My.

I hope you join me… and have fun with seducing your story, too.

Please comment and share your favorite techniques of editing, your challenges, and the pet-peeves you’ve seen in writing that you wish would have been edited.

Your Favorite Shoe,


© 2012 by Kat Bastion

Hold Onto Your Panties! A Pantster Is On The Loose!

Hold Onto Your Panties, People! A Pantster Is On The Loose!

© 2012 by Kat Bastion

Yes. You heard right. I… am a pantster.

An elusive breed of writer who lays track without really knowing where they’re going?

Well… not exactly.

My blog and website’s About Kat page, gives you clues about why I write the way I do.
{thinks you should read my About Kat page…highly stimulating…laughs}

But, the nuts and bolts of it?

I’m a recovering Type A personality. Anal retentiveness, OCD, and perfectionism… Oh. My. You think I want anything to do with plotting, planning, and outlining like plotters do? Hell. No.

In mid 2010, lighting struck in the middle of the night, as my creativity tends to do, and I started writing. By hand. In a notebook. With a pen. I had no idea until I’d finished that manuscript that I wrote as a pantster. Although, when I found out, I smirked. What a perfect description for unruly and slightly naughty me. {laughs}

What’s it like to write like a pantster?

Well, for me, it’s like a movie reel begins to roll. Action. Dialogue. Tension. It’s all there. The scenes unfold for me, and I’m writing by the seat of my pants trying to download everything as it flies by in my mind. At the beginning, and for a good part during the story, I have no idea what’s going to happen next. To me? The unfolding of the mystery makes the process of writing an adventure ride like no other.

Of course, when I begin, I do have a basic idea of where I’m going. I have a hero and heroine and a setting. I’ve already decided in my head their personalities and the challenges they’ll face coming together. And, I do write romance, so I know they’ll end up together in the end. It’s the exact path they take, which turns they’ll make along the way, and who or what will hijack them in the process that I have to discover as I travel the path along with them.

The advantages to being a pantster:

  • My need for a creative outlet is satisfied. The moment a story idea sprouts, I sit down and let my fingers fly. There are no writing “structures” slowing me down.
  • My drafting speed is super-hero fast. I’ve typed drafts of over 100,000 words, only a few hours a day, in two to three months.
  • I can’t wait to write. Every. Single. Time. Because I don’t know what’s going to happen in any given writing block, I’m like a kid on Christmas morning, vibrating in excitement to be able to write.

The dis-advantages to being a pantster:

  • An outline and basic character/prop guide is a must on the re-write. One to three summary lines per chapter is helpful on when I go back in to polish the piece. The outline serves as a reference to be able to insert scenes or add character depth where needed. It also ensures I’m going from beginning to end in the best way possible.
  • Re-write of the draft takes MUCH longer than a plotter (or so I’ve heard.) Sometimes, I’m re-writing whole scenes because the chapter opened wrong. Occasionally, that results in having to tweak the whole chapter to make it flow right.
  • No shower is sacred anymore. {sighs} Showering has become a group event for me. I don’t know if it’s all the hot water and lathering, or the acoustics of the tile surround, but my mind seems to become a receiver for ideas I’ve been knocking about in my head. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve dashed out of the shower, soaking wet, towel barely draped around me, as I fly across the house to my computer to get the New-York-Times-Best-Seller-List-Worthy scene out of my head.

Even though there are a few disadvantages to being a pantster, I wouldn’t do it any other way. I thoroughly enjoy the longer time it takes to re-write. I even edit on a micro-level like a pantster, only on the second time around, I let a good dose of my perfectionism seep into the manuscript. The feeling of pride about what I create makes that slow-and-steady combination worthwhile.

The bottom line for me? Every single time I write, I’m having a blast. And, I whole-heartedly believe…

If you aren’t having fun, you’re doing it wrong.

Be sure to follow my blog to see what adventures this pantster is up to next. And, if I were you, I’d hold onto those panties tight. Any time I’m around, they are at serious risk.
Or…like I sometimes do… go commando. {winks}

Happy writings and readings, everyone!

Kat Bastion

© 2012 by Kat Bastion