Beautiful Books: December 2014

Beautiful Books is a writing-based linkup hosted by Sky and Cait. To learn more about the linkup, just click the button above or stop by either of their blogs: Further Up and Further In, or the newly-launched Paper Fury

This month the linkup is about editing. As with the last two months, I’ll be discussing my NaNoWriMo novel, Trace. (You can check those posts out by clicking the Beautiful Books tag at the bottom of this post.)


1. On a scale of 1 (worst) to 10 (best), how well do you think this book turned out?
Despite its messy aspects, I’m inclined to say Trace ranks about a 6.5 or 7. I’m still feeling really proud of it while trying to stay realistic. Later, I may rate it much lower on the scale, but at this moment, those numbers feel accurate. :)
2. Have you ever rewritten or edited one of your books before? If so, what do you do to prepare yourself? If not, what’s your plan?
I’ve rewritten three novels so far. My process for each book varies, but I like to start by printing out a copy and taking a red pen to it as I do my first read-through. I use those notes and marks to make a rough list of what I want to do with the revisions.

For my Assassin books, I’ve done the most revisions and edits. For the “big one,” I employed the use of colored sticky flags, colored pens, and a notebook. Each color corresponded to a certain kind of editing note (character issues, plot inconsistencies, etc.); I would then take the matching pen and mark that issue in my notebook. I really liked this method, and will probably use some variation of it for future revisions.
3. What’s your final word count? Do you plan to lengthen or trim your book?
As of 1:00am December 1st, the first draft of Trace was completed at 64,589 words. I’m sure I’ll be doing a lot of adding and trimming to different parts of the books when I revise. I’d like to stay in the area of 60,000 words though.
4. What are you most proud of? Plot, characters, or pacing?
I think I’m most proud of plot and characters. Aspects of the plot worked out so much better than I expected, so that’s one reason I’m proud of that. But the characters surprised me with how vibrant they became on the page, so I’m also a little proud of that too. :)
5. What’s your favorite bit of prose or line from this novel?
I think it might be this one:

And that alone seals everything in an envelope and sets it aflame.

6. What aspect of your book needs the most work?
Pacing is a big issue, and of course, there are plot problems which need to be addressed. I also need to amp up the world-building.
7. What aspect of your book is your favorite?
I really enjoyed the cast of this story. But I also liked the different POV formats this book included (first person, present tense; third person, present tense; third person, past tense). I also had some scenes which were written like a screenplay.
8. How are your characters? Well-rounded or do they still needed to be fleshed-out?
There were so many facets of these characters which were undiscovered until the story was in motion. Because of that, I still have a lot to dig back into and learn about them before they will be completely well-rounded. However, I think they are rather strong, and their arcs worked out for this first draft. Even the two characters who decided they weren’t going to be what I thought they were. :)
9. If you had to do it over again, what would you change about the whole process?
I think I would have liked to have had a better grasp of the story structure. Still, every time I tried to outline the structure, I never could get anywhere. So, I guess this was one of those stories that just needed to be drafted. I think the second draft will closely follow this one, since there is plenty to mine from it.
10. Did anything happen in your book that completely surprised you? Have any scenes or characters turned out differently to what you planned? Good or bad?
As I mentioned last month, my plot seemed to pull from notes that I hadn’t planned on using anymore, which made for scenes I thought I wouldn’t be writing.
Most of all, I was surprised by the characters. Gavin really gave me his backstory out of nowhere, and I wasn’t sure what he was going to do for a large portion of the story, until his past became clearer. (He is far less mission-focused than I thought he would be, for instance.)
And Rett. For all his selfishness, he knows how to care for others in ways I couldn’t have seen without getting this first draft written.
11. What were the theme and message? Do you think it came across? If not, is there anything you could do to bring it out more?
I’m not entirely sure yet. I don’t really have a theme or message in mind when I start writing a story. Throughout Trace, though, the characters spend a lot of time facing this question: When you decide something, can you live your life knowing the effects of that decision?

It’s a vague question, so the theme needs some work to shine through, I guess.

12. Do you like writing with a deadline (like NaNoWriMo) or write-as-it-comes?
Both. I don’t think I would’ve gotten this draft finished without the NaNo deadline (I wrote over 20K in the last two days!!!).

13. Comparative title time! What published books, movies, or TV shows are like your book? (Ex. Inkheart meets X-men, etc.)
I love this question so much, but I have no idea how to answer it! *sigh*
14. How do you celebrate a finished novel?
With each novel, it varies, though chocolate is usually involved. For Trace, I considered it my reward getting to watch the midseason finale of The Walking Dead.

15. When people are done reading your book, what feeling do you want them to come away with?
I want them to feel like they didn’t waste their time. :) I want the redemptive aspects of the story to feel real, as well. I also think Aven’s journey to trusting herself could be a strong point for readers.

As I mentioned in the first round of Beautiful Books, I would like my readers to feel as if they’ve read a good story, and if they can find a connection with the characters, I certainly would feel quite complimented.


  1. Good luck editing! It sounds like the characters are going to take you on awesome places as you get going, and it's always cool to end up finishing a book. :)

    1. Thank you! :) These characters have been full of surprises, but hopefully they'll behave next time around, hehe.


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