I had wanted to write a blog post about how well the editing process is going, but then I hit chapter 25, and boy is that chapter a mess. But still, I knew there were a few chapters like this.
Overall though, I’m still enjoying the editing process. One of the joys is the actual discovery of the process. The editing pass I’m doing at the moment is real top level stuff: ensuring my timeline is correct (Oh, I so need to keep timelines for future books with multiple threads), ensuring the characters are fully rounded, that the story… well… works basically. That doesn’t mean clunky sentences aren’t being dealt with if they are encountered, or spelling mistakes corrected. No, it just means the focus is really on the actual story itself.
There are other little things I try and keep an eye for. I’ve learned that my writing sometimes lacks spatial awareness, has a sort of Tardis effect, so as I edit I’m accutely aware of the size of things. There is a room, towards the end of the novel that things won’t fit into but they currently do. Yes, it’s deliberately cryptic.
I’m very aware that a lot of my dialogue still has too many adverbs attached to them (“Maureen smiled worriedly”). But I’ve decided those need their own editing pass, where I just worry about dialogue. There’s enough work to do there to justify a pass.
Why not do it all at once you ask? Heck, I would ask that, but I think it can be so easy to try and juggle so many balls that you drop them all. If the story is right, no-one loses or gains a day, and my monsters fit inside the room, then I can approach a second editing pass not having that “but is the story alright?” worry at the back of my head.
And of course, there are the worries. Last week I spent most of the week panicking that the book was too short. “I’ll have to cut 10% and it’ll be too short”. This, when I tend to underwrite in certain areas, and the novel already stands at 110k.
I came to the conclusion this week that the reason for these irrational worries was simply that the real problems – those broken timelines and clunky sentences – are being dealt with; or even if they are not currently actively being dealt with, they have at least been identified.
What’s surprised me, though, is how much I enjoy the actual novel. I would buy this and love it. Seriously, I have no idea whether anyone would want to publish it or not, but (with the current exception of Chapter 25), my inner critic has enjoyed the book. It’s the book I wanted to create when I set out, and whilst that’s no guarantee that anyone else will like it, pleasing that toughest of my critics (me) feels like a major accomplishment.
People who have read what I’ve done so far have been incredibly positive. That’s no reason to be complacent, but what more can I ask myself than to write the novel I want to write? Seriously, if everyone else hates it (which it is very evident that they don’t), if no-one wants to publish it, I’ll be gutted, but I still will have written the book I’ve spent years trying to write. I realise that might not make a lot of sense to some people, but I think it will to those of you who know what it’s like to have a great story you just want to do justice to.
Anyways that Centaur with a shotgun (who for reasons of clunky sentence structure, somehow has eyes in his beard) won’t fix themselves. Back to Chapter 25!