Editing Progress Report

Another month down, and my editing process for the Phoenix Fire is going well, in a slightly scary way! This month was all about some off-text work, using the suggestions here to help me consider how best to reshape the novel. It’s been an enlightening process; I really feel as if I’ve now got a grip on what needs to change, be added and removed, be tweaked or recast, studied the plot arc, the character arcs, the balance of themes and the shape of the novel. I’ve spent quite a long time at storyfix.com‘s Story Structure articles, and I’ve started watching movies in a whole new way.

I don’t agree with everything I’ve read about structure (at these websites and others), but even by forming those opinions, I feel I’ve learned something which helps me to write better. I’ve also found myself checking how far I am through DVDs I’m watching, just to see if the “plot points” are where I’d expect them to be.

According to my original plan, April was about planning the rewrite, but in truth, I feel as though I’ve done a lot of that already. I still need to sit down and work out what I can import from the deleted scenes (I’m cutting almost the first third of the existing text, so a lot will need to be fed in at a later stage), but I feel much of the arc-work is done. So I might start the rewrites next month, or I might just give myself a break and work on a short story or two.

Still, I’m pleased with everything about March’s work except one elment. The first thing in March’s plan was the infamous “25 word pitch”. One or two of you have asked what TPF is about, and this pitch is supposed to answer that question. It’s also supposed to hook agents and publishers, get everyone excited about the novel and generally be the most important 25 words I could ever write. But as yet, I haven’t found a way to hit 25 words I’m really proud of. I’d love to receive your thoughts, input and suggestions.

Here’s the 50 word version:

Unemployed, homeless and heartbroken, Adam Heywood arrives in Wales looking for a fresh start.

What he finds is an ancient magic that caused its last discoverer to be burned as a witch.

Will he suffer the same fate, or will the phoenix fire bring him back to life?

And here’s all I can do with 25 words:

Adam Heywood is seeking a fresh start. Will the phoenix fire provide it,

or will he be burned as a witch like its previous discoverer?


Filed under NaNoWriMo, Writing

13 responses to “Editing Progress Report

  1. Hey Elmo,
    Glad you found the storyfix website at least a bit helpful.
    I think you have too many unnecessary things in your 25 word summary. Is his “fresh start” really where the action happens? Do we really need to know what happened to the “previous discoverer”? Focus more on what Adam does. Just a thought.

    • Hi Claire,
      Yeah, storyfix definitely a good addition to my research, thanks for the tipoff.
      In terms of the previous discoverer stuff – yes, that’s absolutely what the story is all about and the main jumping off point for everything else in the novel. Fresh start bit could go, but without it the second sentence feels a bit ungrounded, and lacks the main character.

  2. Sounds interesting! 25 words is a tight spot to work with.

  3. happycreators

    Hmmm interesting, but I really don’t like the term ‘previous discoverer’. The word discoverer is awkward and clunky. Perhaps some fancy wordplay about whether Adam will rise from the ashes or burn in the phoenix fire like those who have come before?

    • I absolutely agree, HC, but the only alternatives are many more words: “The last person to use it”, “the girl who found it last” etc, etc.
      I toyed with more ashes / burning imagery but ultimately everything I tried felt a bit cliche-y. Maybe I need to go back to that idea though.

  4. *Possibilities…


    Will the ancient magic of the phoenix fire provide Adam Heywood a fresh start or will he be burned as a witch like its previous discoverer? (26)

    Will down-on-his-luck Adam Heywood find a fresh start through the phoenix fires ancient magic or be burned as a witch like its previous discoverer? (24)


  5. “Upon finding the Pheonix Fire in Wales, will Adam Heywood get a new start on life… or face a fiery death like the previous discoverer?”

    ??? I think it is important to have Wales in the blurb. It is one of those countries you do not hear much about, and provides a bit of intrigue that someone might be compelled to want to investigate… much more so than say England, Canada or of one of the States. One of my wives families was from Wales and we went an an extensive tour of historic sites there. I enjoyed the country.

    Glad you are on schedule. Can you only have one blurb?

    Thanks for your advice on my story, and to others too… I did some editing and like it better.

    • Oh… I just read the other comments… Of course, my suggestion is the best… how about instead of ‘previous finder’ do ‘last searcher’?

      • p.s. Now I see this doesn’t have to be done till the book Novel is finished… quit screwing around and get back to editing.

        • Don’t worry, Ted. It’s all part of the process. I am back on the editing this month and even get to start writing something next month. Thanks for your suggestions on the blurb, I’ll definitely be comign back to it later in the process.

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