Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Mixing Things Up

Editing is going pretty well so far. I'm finding that my brain needs a break after about ten pages, but I'm making steady progress. I'll need to really push over the next week if I want to get through this draft before my friend arrives, but I think I can do it.

Aside from shuffling phrases and dumping -ing words, I've had to do a bit of research. I wrote the first draft without worrying about little things, including the name of the town where a large chunk of the story takes place, so now I need to figure that out. My friend Turkey Lurkey (yes, that's an alias) gave me some incredible information about the location that will bring an authenticity to another level. That, combined with the notes I took while we were near the border last spring, should make the story believable.

Another issue I've had to tackle is my characters' names. My story is mostly populated with Mexican men and I named them after people we know. The personalities didn't necessarily match up with the people whose names I used - they were merely placeholders - and I knew I'd have to change them at some point. One in particular is I have a gay bartender named after one of Ibis' good friends, and I didn't think he'd appreciate that too much. Not that there's anything wrong with that...

So yesterday I found a baby name website that has an option for Spanish male names and went to town. Problem is I changed so many names that I can't keep anyone straight! Before you ask, yes I have them all written down, but I think I'll need to put a sticky on my monitor so I don't have to keep looking in my notebook.

How about you? Any funny editing stories to share?

17 comments:

Robin said...

No funny editing stories, unfortunately, but I'm about to go to a luncheon with a bag of books, and read to a "wives of Reading Hospital doctors" club. Now that's funny.

I'm sad about the "ing" words. I love "ing" words. What if you were Chinese, and your first name was "Ing"? Would you have to change it?

I'd better go brush my hair...

Melanie Avila said...

Robin, I can't wait to hear how your luncheon goes. I hope they buy all your books!

I've kept a fair amount of -ing words, I mostly made sure I didn't have them in too many consecutive sentences.

You brush your hair? I don't. Ever. :)

Turkey Lurkey said...

*Backs slowly away from Mel's hair.*


I am hoping for the day when an editor knocks on my door and says... "Hi there! I am your personal editor, please give me all of your WIPs so that I may edit them for you."

Melanie Avila said...

What? I finger brush it. ;)

My biggest thing is making sure I don't take everything out that gives my MC a personality. Yes, I live editor would be nice...

ac said...

Coming up with character names is always difficult.

My biggest challenge is that some of my characters share the same voice.

WendyCinNYC said...

"Coming up with character names is always difficult.

My biggest challenge is that some of my characters share the same voice."

How about "Sybil?"

That's a nice name.

Rachel Burton said...

My last beta ripped me to shreds over my "ing" words! It's funny how they just sneak in there. And I change character names at the last draft too. One of the names this time was Pete, and when I changed it to Marshall with FInd and Replace, it hit words with "pete" in them. So "compete" became "commarshall"

colbymarshall said...

Other than wanting to drown myself in the tub while editing, not really, but I always have to dump "that"s. That's my problem (no pun intended).

Melanie Avila said...

AC - I have a lot of small characters because my MC is traveling and they all fall into one of two categories - educated and uneducated. I'm trying to vary it but there's only so many ways to make someone sound like an idiot, lol.

Wendy, LOL. I did name a stripper Canela, which is Spanish for Cinnamon. :)

Melanie Avila said...

Rachel, I purposely used the Find Next function because my mother warned me about doing that years ago, but one still slipped by. I was changing Andy to Rafa and ended up changing "handy" to "hrafa".

Colby, I use "so" a lot. I find I need to add "that" because I NEVER use it and there are actually times when you need it.

Mary B said...

Oh,I'm still locked in first draft hell in my new novel, but I've already changed a character name.I haven't fixed it in the first part of my novel. Now I went back to the first part and was like "who is that"?

I love my "ing"words and I really, really like really. Really.

Robin said...

I love the editing stories! I'm picturing the editing function looking like the robot in "Lost in Space" and being really literal. "Commarshall" and "hrafa" are really funny.
I'm not sure if I'll sell many books, but I encouraged all the women to buy it off Amazon so I wouldn't have the dubious honor of having written the millionth most popular book in the country. Yes, that's right. The millionth. Maybe it's because I didn't take out all my "ings". Or my sentence fragments.

Melanie Avila said...

Mary, lol. I like really too.

Robin, the millionth? For real? (ha ha, really...) -ing words are ok, just not if every sentence begins with one. Really.

Robin said...

Actually, some of those women must have listened to me, because now I've bumped up to 433,000th most popular book.

Sure, sure. Laugh at Little Miss Millionth, why don't you?

spyscribbler said...

We packaged up a bunch of my short stories into two books, and I discovered, to my horror, that most of my short-story heroines were named some variation of Jen.

They'd been placeholders that I thought I'd keep, LOL. I just had NO idea I had something like 15 or so stories of them!

Robin said...

Melanie, I'm thinking again about the NaNo thing again...Oh, dear. Knowing me, it will turn into a "No-No". But maybe it will be fun. I'm going to go to the link on your home page and check it out.

Melanie Avila said...

Spy, that is FUNNY! The new story I came up with had an MC whose name starts with an M and I thought that might be pushing it. But you... lol. :)

Robin, do it! Do it!