Editing Process – or the retreat fall out (and I mean that in a good way)

My read-through notes
My read-through notes

There were a number of things I wanted to talk to you about this week and then as I have been so focused on my edit I thought I should probably fill you in on that. I’ve even struggled to get to the newsletter mailout; sorry for those that have signed up already but it will be out soon.

I mentioned in my last post that I had been working to someone else’s editing system, which was a variation on another writer’s system. In the last week I’ve come up with another all of my own. One which works better for me. And it may have been hinted at by The Writing Buddy on the writing retreat.

The way I was editing was slow and I would probably be still handwriting notes. While on retreat it was suggested that I try putting my edits straight into the document, which I did. Since returning home I have continued with this process and finished the draft last Monday. Although I must say I have rewritten the last chapter twice and still not happy with it.

The next round was the read through. I did this on the computer as well using the comments feature of word to mark up everything that made me pause. And I mean everything. From clunky sentences, dialogue that didn’t sit right, setting, gaps, where I should have mentioned some key point but didn’t, missing costumes, or gestures or not enough of the five senses to immerse the reader.

Everything. I even marked up some pages where I just said “this doesn’t work – fix it” to a note at the beginning of one chapter stating that it “needed more around the second scene because it wasn’t clear what was actually happening.”

I scheduled out a week for the read through but as I have only been working on the edit I have had (or maybe put) more time into it than I thought I had available. Read through completed in three days. And I took my time with it.

Then I forced myself to take a day away from it, to give it a little distance and thinking room. Only one day but it was one of the hardest days of this edit yet. The story and characters were always close and I was keen to get back to it. As hard as it was being away from the book it was worth taking the time.

I am now well under way with making all the changes and edits needed to make this story work. Again I am working straight into the document, although I did save it as another draft in case I lose something important. So far it seems to be working well and I’m on track to finish this edit by the end of the month.

This process is so much easier and quicker than what I was doing before and I’m seeing the effect immediately. Some pages take a bit longer, some are running relatively smoothly but if I need to go back then I can.

Given that this process is also proving to me just how much time I can give my writing (which is more than I have been consistently giving it before now) I don’t think it will take much to make up the extra word count when I get back to drafting. I also think I can still get the first Iski book written and out before Christmas.

Over the last few years of this blog I have been referring to this fantasy novel as “SNOW” and that has been the working title all along, even for those first scribbled pages. But it needs something stronger and I’ve been playing with ideas. Once I’m settled on the title I’ll put something up on the My Books page.

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