Saturday 27th March 2021
I got a load of editing done yesterday. I now have just 5 chapters to go and a bunch of notes.
There’s always a temptation when I get close to the end to speed up. I have to actively hold myself back to ensure I’m not rushing the work. It’s not helped by the fact that my ends tend to be stronger than a lot of the manuscript and therefore need less editing.
But, I don’t want to be skipping over anything. So I have to force myself to slow down and focus on what’s been done instead of how little has yet to be done.
I wrote this first draft a number of years ago and a large chunk of the work has been modernising it. Seems crazy but the reference to DVDs feels dated and that first draft isn’t more than 6 years old. I’m quite happy for this story to be set in fixed year and for anything that follows to be set in the same time period but I’d like that year to be as close to now as possible.
The other thing this manuscript has needed a lot of editing for, is what I’m calling sleepy writing. I’m almost sure I wrote this as a NaNoWriMo project in something like 2015/6 and as such in order to get the words done I was often writing at night when I was tired.
Years of working on Action-Figure taught me to write while half-dead but there are problems that come with it.
First, I mix metaphors. I’ll write something that sounds good but has little meaning. It’s easy to skim over because the writing is fluid, but I have to stop myself and go “Uh? What am I trying to say here”. Unpicking it can take some time. I’ve edited pieces where I’ve cut a load of stuff out only to find out that it links in later on, and then had to put it back in.
So I have to take sentences that are either clunky in construction or clunky in meaning and rewrite them.
The other thing is repetition. Bob might be sad and decide he needs to go to see the wizard, but then he’ll consider a bunch of other stuff, and then decide to do exactly the same thing.
This is a little infuriating but it’s something I do in first drafts. The way I look at it is that it’s part of the process. The reason I have a redraft / edit phase is because in order to get the first draft done, I’ve given myself permission to do this. It’s taken me many years to get used to a bad first draft and whilst I like to think my first drafts are pretty solid, I still do these things as I feel out the flow of a chapter.
I also have a bunch of notes. These are split into two main categories.
The first are story notes. Did I explain this? Why is this happening? They may just need a sentence or two entered in the right place. I’m not seeing anything structurally wrong here.
The second are personal tics. I was very guilty at this time of not writing decisively. I’d litter my manuscripts with maybes and perhaps, trying to convey protagonist doubt, but it just stopped my manuscript feeling as sharp as it could. I think I’ve captured most of the offenders, but I have a list of words to search for. I won’t eradicate every one but it is a final check for me to ensure I’ve not missed any sentences that can be firmed up.
With that completed, the manuscript will be done. I’ll convert it to Word and do a final spell check before sending it off. That might be next week, but it might depend on whether I want to send it with a few of the outlines I’ve been working on.
I’ll make that decision next week when the manuscript is done.
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Past Years: 2020 – The Year of Being Fearsome | 2019 – The Year of Soldiering Through | 2018 – The Year of Priorities | 2017 – The Year Of The Offensive