Intensive Care Unit

There is nothing more disappointing than rereading something you have written which you believed was God’s gift to the world a few months ago and realizing that such sentiments are actually not the case.

For example: being on Easter break, after the Good Friday service and Veneration of the Cross, I picked up Becoming Mrs. Kennedy with the intent of giving her one more editing job before seriously looking for an agent.

HA! I thought it was the shit, but it turns out it’s just shit.

Ok, that was harsh. It’s not all bad. It’s mostly bad. And by mostly bad, I mean the first chapter has to go, the second one needs major operating, and the rest needs more adjectives, metaphors, and plain old more sophisticated language.

Editing really is like an operation. Some portions of your novel/story/whatever it is you write do not need to be there and instead must be removed with your merciless scalpel. Whether that is your pen or your delete key is up to your personal preference. The point is, it has to be done.

The cancerous scenes which resulted from your early mornings or late nights or bad days have to hit the road. It’s hard to go through and find all the mistakes, and it’s painstaking to remove them. Yet it must be done. For the sake of your story, you must swoop in like an angel sent from heaven and give your work the antidote to its ailment. It’s sick, deathly ill, suffering from a critical case of Bad Writing. You, the author are the only remedy. Quick! You have to make it well enough to leave the intensive care unit that is your computer files or birthday journals and send it to the world of agents and publishing houses where it will thrive and bring joy to reader and inspiration to other aspiring writers!

I’m overtired can you tell?

So here’s where I stand:

Chapter One is in the process of revision, and so far I like it much better.

Chapter Two I believe can stay so long as I seriously tweak it.

The rest, regular editing will suffice. That’s when the story really begins to pick up and since the character (Candace) gets older she matures and is easier to write.

The Goal:

Make Candace more mature and avoid the Sophie Kinsella pitfall. Bahaha! If you’re confused see post ‘Twenties Girl’ Worth Twenty Bucks. Also make her less dependent on Derek and ergo avoid the Stephenie Meyer pitfall, i.e. – her leading lady is constantly critiqued for being too pathetic and completely centering her life around her man. I WILL NOT LET THIS HAPPEN TO CANDACE!!

*Disclaimer: Twilight is an admitted guilty pleasure and I love Edward Cullen. So sue me.*

Also, I have come up with a new and far better title with a much more subtle yet significant tie to the story. Drum roll please ……. the new and improved title is ………

The Sixth Sense.

Actually now that I see it written out I don’t like it as much. I’ll leave it for now. I need to find a better way to phrase it. Any suggestions?


About Miss Rosemary

is a recent college graduate from NY hoping to complete her novel of ten years. Stop by her blog, Miss Rosemary's Novel Ideas at or contact her at with comments, questions and suggestions. She'd love to hear from you! View all posts by Miss Rosemary

10 responses to “Intensive Care Unit

  • junebugger

    “I thought it was the shit, but it turns out it’s just shit.”–That is harsh! But…I like how the words are arranged. It has a nice ring to it har har

    Could you give me a summary of your story? Then I could throw out random titles. But–im HORRIBLE with titles. For some time my book was called–Untitled. Haha!

    Btw. Get this book finished and start querying! I can’t wait to start cheering you on! I’m longing to whip out my pom poms

  • Kris C

    Editing is totally a lot of work, but it can also be fun if you let it. I mean, everything’s already written right? It’s like wrapping a gift. You already have the perfect present picked out for someone, now you just have to make it look a little prettier.

    One comment I read and feel obligated to comment on is this: “the rest needs more adjectives, metaphors, and plain old more sophisticated language”. Metaphors and sophistication=good, as long as they are not forced.

    On the other hand, I must argue that NO writing ever needs more adjectives! Adjectives are the single most abused part of speech and, in my editorial experience, usually just weigh prose down rather than add anything of value to it. It is the nouns and verbs that bring writing to life and add that vivacity and colour that distinguishes the good from the mediocre.

    Sorry to rant, but I usually want to cut about 80% of the adjectives I see in writing. It is something I feel very strongly about…. lol.

    Other than that, GOOD LUCK! Congratulations on even making it to this editing stage. It’s all downhill from here, right? I need to believe this….

    • Aspiring Novelist

      Well said, well said. I definitely agree with you on all counts, especially the metaphors. The only thing about my adjective problem is while I was rereading this novel, pretty much all of it was sentences like “See Jane run,” and I wanted to bang my head against the wall. So perhaps adjectives are not exactly what is needed but eloquence.

  • Lua

    Do you remember that image of yourself, you know, before you actually begin all the work, when you were just at the fantasizing stage of becoming a writer? I remember I was fantasizing that it was going to be this divine experience where I’ll begin writing and in two months time I would have this masterpiece written- no revision, editing etc necessary…:)
    Sure I was 11 or 12 perhaps but I miss those days! 🙂 Now that I’m half way through writing my book, I’m beginning to see we’re going to need some major operations over here as well, so save us a bed at that intensive care unit, will you?

    • Aspiring Novelist

      Absolutely! GONE are the good old days of fantasies. We still have them of course, but now we unfortunately are more in tune with the ways of the world and realize these things don’t happen over night. Sigh. I’ll recommend my doctor to you when you join me in the hospital 🙂

  • Kiki

    Not Sixth Sense….. I like Becoming Mrs. Kennedy better, even though I haven’t read it (can I read it?). 6th sense sounds too much like the movie and too much like a sci-fi or horror or suspense novel (it could be suspense but I doubt its sci-fi or horror). You are your harshest critic so don’t be TOO hard on yourself!


    • Aspiring Novelist

      I know, I don’t like it, but the problem is I don’t like wither of them. Becoming Mrs. Kennedy now seems to cliche. Let me fix it a bit before you read it, please, but yes, you are allowed! You’re the bff!

  • synclarity

    Alright I’ll byte! And this is to Lua as well. Why are you being so hard on yourself? Mayhaps it is the view from my age. I am in fact one-hundred-eighty-four you see! Yes I know a scientific anomaly, however age does have its benefits. First I can fly. Learned that from a sprite who sat on my shoulder and told me dirty stories for years. Difficult you know because no one else can see the little bastard. And while working or speaking with family when I broke out in raucous dirty laughter. . . Well it puts people off.
    He was finally ripped to shreds by a cat named Dessa who apparently and surprisingly could in fact see him. But before the tiny screaming stopped the cat magically became a gerbil being also ripped to shreds by another larger cat strangely named Richard. But I digress.
    Secondly with advancing age I tend to forgive myself my own mistakes. Self indulgent? Sure! But who gives a rats ass!?
    When I attempt the short story form, my true love and written passion, O thank you Henry, an idea pops and away we go. I would love to think I’m channeling and wording for Poe or PJ Farmer. But when I sit back willing my fingers to write words or greatness, strangely, very little of any worth occurs. The fingers move but what prints is the million-monkey-frenzy attempt at a great work. Gobbledygook! Disappointed I access the banks d’Lar and word on.
    So I offer you advice from the vantage of advanced and ing age. Give yourself a break! Stop being so destructive of your effort. You are obviously gifted. Your use of words, while I think a little untrue to your true self, (ref the give-yourself-a-break part above) just a little, is flowingly, movingly, wonderful to read. I read everything I see of yours and as I said at the beginning, it moves me and I want more. And p’raps most important, It is well concocted, written, and done. You can ask nothing more from a reader than for he to want more. Kudos girl. Write then edit! Write with that amazing flow we all embrace. Then, days, weeks, months later, go back and take out just those things you don’t want others to see. But don’t get rid of them. Hell, you might put them back later. It certainly depends on mood or sleep, or weather for me. Don’t treat them like bad children. They are your children after all. C&P them to another journal which you read often. Line after line of stuff taken from other stuff, all of a sudden become another piece, line, add-on, or memory of where you were that moment. It saddens me how much I might have lost not doing so for years. However, now my journal is hundreds of pages long. If nothing else I will leave it to you and you can make something of what I don’t use. Or of what I do, doesn’t really matter. As I read this I find I have used more hyphens and disjunctive words than ever before. I blame the sprite. So can you.

  • Hema P.

    I totally hear you… I’m in the “Operation Paring Down” for my WiP too, and it’s not easy, is it? I know what I have to do (it’s all in my head), but I’m having major starting trouble. It feels good, though, to know that every writer goes through these ups and downs!

    I like the name (though I haven’t had a chance to read any of your WiP yet) “Becoming Mrs. Kennedy” — has quite a ring to it!

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