Beautiful Books Linkup #3: In Which I Talk About My NaNoWriMo Editing Process and Writing Plans for 2016!

Posted December 11, 2015 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Blogging, Link Up / 13 Comments

Here’s my last Beautiful Books linkup for National Novel Writing Month! I got all the way to 50k words with my first draft, so I’m feeling super accomplished. Now comes editing! This linkup focuses on my plans in that arena. If you’d like to see which other NaNo writers have joined the linkup, swing by Paper Fury and take a look! Plus, read some of Cait’s posts while you’re there, because she’s hilarious and awesome. πŸ™‚




      1. On a scale of 1 (worst) to 10 (best), how did the book turn out? Did anything defy your expectations?
        • I’d say it came out somewhere around 6. The novel as I planned it totaled only about 38k words, so I had to make up over 10k words’ worth of story to get me to the 50k word mark. As such, the pacing is a little off, and the character development never quite got where I wanted it to be. But that’s what editing is for, right? πŸ˜‰
      2. Comparative title time: what published books, movies, or TV shows are like your book? (Ex: Inkheart meets X-Men.)
        • It’s a little bit like X-Files with the tiniest pinch of Doctor Who thrown in. Think Mulder and Scully going on timey-wimey adventures.
      3. Do you enjoy working with deadlines and pressure (aka NaNoWriMo)? Or do you prefer to write-as-you’re-inspired?
        • I’m all about being organized. It can be a little stressful to meet that magic word count every day, but even if there hadn’t bee an NaNo-enforced word count, I probably would have created my own and been just as strict about following it. Gotta love that NaNo word counter though! For organization-obsessed folks like me, there’s nothing like seeing your progress charted on a bar graph (I actually used updating it as a reward).
      4. How do you go about editing? Give us an insight into your editing process.
        • I tend to take it in stages, starting with the broadest problems like POV and ending with technical problems like grammar and minor continuity issues. The first thing I do is read through the entire manuscript and make notes about ALL the things I want to change. I usually make the notes in different colors, assigning a color to each stage. Then I go through one note at a time and fix all the problems that fall into Stage 1 editing. Then I go through again for Stage 2, and so on. It sounds really monotonous, but I’ve found that categorizing everything helps me work more efficiently. It minimizes needless work and breaks down the intimidating task of editing an ENTIRE book into tiny, manageable pieces.
      5. What aspect of your story needs the most work?
        • Right now, I think it needs more emotional “umph.” The main character’s a little stoic. There’s a reason for that, but it has the side effect of making otherwise emotionally wrought scenarios come across dry. I think I’ll need to play with some new techniques to help impact the reader without the protagonist acting out of character.
      6. What aspect of your story did you love the most?
        • Weirdly enough, I love the side characters. I had a blast creating one-scene-only characters like Nikita the terrifying stylist and Pierce McCreery the burly, friendly Irish combat trainer. It was a lot of fun coaxing their personalities to come out so strongly in their scenes.
      7. Give us a brief run down on your main characters and how you think they turned out. Do you think they’ll need changes in edits?
        • Nuani Anyu (Protagonist)= I loved writing her snarky dialogue, but I think I need to work on defining her character a little more (her likes, dislikes, etc.). I just felt like she didn’t have a consistent style throughout the course of the novel.
        • Anik Anyu (Uncle)= I loved writing the little “family scenes” between him and Nuani, but I think he’s another one that just didn’t have a consistent style. Sometimes he came across as a grouchy old fossil; other times he was eccentric and loveable.
        • Marco Russo (FBI Agent)= I was really pleased with how Marco turned out. He was fatherly and mentor-ly without being the affectionate type. He’s the sort that sees straight through people right down to what makes them tick, and I think that comes across well in the story.
        • Benjamin Thatcher (Junior Agent)= Ben is still my favorite character. Since he and Nuani are so different, he simultaneously brings out both the best and worst in her, like a combo of best friend and annoying brother. Plus, he always says exactly what he thinks, which leads to some fun conversations.
        • Atticus Palmer (FBI Assistant Director)= Palmer is based on AD Skinner from the X-Files. They’re both bald, a little tough to approach, yet ultimately devoted to their work and agents. Palmer is a former Marine, which explains the strict, regimented way he does his job.
        • Nicodemus Krueller (head of CIA personnel)= I may or may not have accidentally written him almost exactly like Cardinal Richelieu from The Three Musketeers (I was listening to the audio book while writing Krueller’s first scene). Cold as ice and calculating as a…um…calculator? I always have fun writing thoroughly unlikable characters, so Krueller was a blast to create.
      8. What are your plans for this novel once you finish editing? More edits? Finding beta readers? Querying? Self-publishing? Hiding it in a dark hole forever?
        • Honestly, I’m not sure. I’d love to tell you I’m gonna start editing after the new year, but I’ve also got an idea for the new novel I want to write for 2016. I’m a little more in love with the new story, so I may just shelve this one for awhile and let myself work on the other. Even if this novel never sees a single round of editing, I’m still glad I did it. It helped me prove to myself that I could win NaNo! πŸ™‚
      9. Share a favourite snippet!
      10. What are your writing goals and plans for 2016?
        • My goal is to have my new novel all planned and plotted out by next November so I can write it for NaNo 2016. Hopefully, I’ll be able to edit my Nuani novel somewhere along the way!


Thanks for following along on my NaNo journey! Have you ever done NaNo? Tell me about your experience!


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13 responses to “Beautiful Books Linkup #3: In Which I Talk About My NaNoWriMo Editing Process and Writing Plans for 2016!

  1. Cait @ Paper Fury

    Ooh, this sounds AMAZING and I love your 2016 plans. *nods* Good solid plans. xD I really want to start editing my naNo book soon, too! Btw, your comparative titles have me basically itching to read this book. hehe And your editing process sounds really logical and organised and aaamazing. :’) I love organisation. My editing process basically involves rewriting the ENTIRE DRAFT and making notes on my big mind-map on my wall. Unless I have horrific plot holes, then my editing process involves crying. xD
    Thanks for joining in the linkup!!

  2. This sounds like a super-cool story, Alison. Your editing process is very organized, too! I have (what might be) a bad habit of trying to tackle everything all at once. Perhaps I should break it into smaller “pieces” or target techniques / elements – but knowing how my brain functions, I’d go nuts about not being able to fix a flaw right then and there. :S What’s the premise for your new story idea?

    Btw, I did another Beautiful People post if you’re interested in reading and commenting on it. It’s on one of my WIP’s antagonists:

    • Thanks, Sara! πŸ™‚ The working title for my new novel is Miss Mynlocke’s School for Exceptional Young Ladies. It’s about two sisters who go to a prestigious private school for witchcraft in Massachusetts and are trained to be part of an international group of witches and warlocks who fight bad guys (mostly vampires and werewolves). I’m having lots of fun developing the characters right now, especially the sisters!

      Virik sounds so cool! I love that he has gray eyes (that’s my favorite eye color). I also think the idea of wing-stripping as a punishment for Fae is really clever. πŸ™‚

      • Wow! Right off the bat it reminds me of Harry Potter and Deborah Harkness’s All Souls Trilogy. Definitely something I would read. And yay for sister characters. πŸ™‚ Are you thinking YA or Middle Grade for this book?

        Thanks! I thought gray would be a fitting choice for Virik’s character. And, um, that wing-stripping bit can be quite painful as well as humiliating. (*blushes because she’s an evil author*)

        • Ooo! I haven’t read All Souls. I’ll have to give it a try!

          The sisters are 18, so I’m thinking of doing YA. Plus, the subject matter is a little dark (lots of violence and death when fighting bad guys). I’m thinking it might be too intense for middle grade, but I also think they’d appreciate most of the story. I’m considering making things less dark to appeal to both audiences, but I haven’t decided yet.

          • If the sisters are 18, then the book would definitely be more of a YA story (with possible adult crossover). I wasn’t sure how young or old your characters were trending on the teen side, so that’s why I was guessing on the age range. πŸ˜‰

            I’ve only read the first All Souls book (A Discovery of Witches) so far, but it was pretty good. It’s overwritten in spots, but I really got sucked into the story. No pun intended, of course, since there are (*ahem*) vampires and witches in the story. *lol*

  3. Your NaNo book sounds interesting, I love X-Files and Doctor Who. Inkheart meets X-Men works for me too.
    I have a hard time getting back into my NaNo projects, I need at least a few months away from them before I can even start thinking about working on a second draft. But I’m not sure that’s a good thing, at least not for me. The project I wrote for 2014 NaNo is still languishing in edits.
    Good luck with your projects.

    • Yeah, I wish the editing months after NaNo could be just as structured as the November work, but it’s pretty hard to quantify editing progress. I have a couple friends who do NaNo, so I’m thinking of seeing if they want to get together once a month to do write-ins for editing until next November.

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