Swoon Author Cindy Anstey's Editing Update: Like Sharpening a Blade
Writing The Hummingbird Dagger was an adventure on its own. I loved describing high drama and placing my characters in dire situations that they had to overcome. I was able to use words like "thundering hooves" and the "shrill sounds of distress." *rubbing hands together* Yes, it was exciting.
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Now, onto editing. Having been through the process a few times, I can safely say that editing is not the overwhelming chore I once thought it to be, but I’m not keen on rearranging scenes for fear of dropping a thread. However, I have learned to trust Swoon Reads to catch those threads; they will be found and some kind soul will suggest how to neatly tie them off. We are all working toward the same goal: making my book the best it can be.
The Hummingbird Dagger required a lot of revision and editing; it was much too long and convoluted in its original form. It also did not start out with a bang—or crash, in this case. It does now: A carriage careens over the side of a bridge and a young lady is thrown into a ditch. It’s dramatic and mysterious, made more so when it is discovered that the young lady has no idea who she is. She has amnesia, and… *drum roll* someone is trying to kill her.
My Swoon Reads editor, Emily, let me loose with these words: "Have fun with it." Too often I would temper my writing, not wanting to get too dark or too maudlin… but with Emily’s suggestions, I was off and running. I fleshed out the nightmares of my character, allowing the weird and scary moments to grow. I also took out the distracting subplots. Not all of them, just the ones that did not contribute to the lives of my main characters. I built the romance slowly. And I changed the purpose of the villain’s villainy. With each step, The Hummingbird Dagger became sharper and finely honed—like a dagger!