Monday, 17 September 2007

Still editing

I'm nothing if not determined!

Edited another 3% of the novel tonight. It doesn't sound like much but I'm getting there. I realised tonight that I'm putting too much pressure on myself to make the 2nd draft perfect whereas, realistically, I've probably got another two or three rounds of edits to go (if not more) before I'm sick of this novel and decide "I can't polish this any more" and send out the first three chapters and the synopsis.

Telling myself that seems to have helped. I just need to get the novel into a state where I can read it all the way through without totally distracting myself with bad grammar or clunky phrasing and then I'll be able to see it more clearly in terms of story and how well it works and flows.

One thing I am focussing on at the moment is making sure there's a good hook at the end of each chapter (or as many chapters as possible) to ensure that, hopefully, the reader can't put the book down and has to read "just a bit more". I've lost count of the number of books I've started reading at 8pm at night and I'm still reading at 2am (with matchsticks propping open my eyes) and I'm thinking "I can survive on five hours sleep, maybe four, I just need to read a bit more..."
That's what I'm aiming for anyway... some end of chapter hooks are better than others.

Anyway, editing is going okay at the moment. It seems to go in phases. The first 3,000 words I really struggled with (because I'd read them so many times) and then it got a bit easier as I seemed to get into the flow of the story, then it got really bad again (I kept repeating myself and padding out the text) and I had to cut out massive chunks and I wondered what the hell possessed me to write such a pile of crap. Now I'm editing another section that flows okay and I'm happy again.

Editing - it's like the writer version of manic-depression. Up, down, up, down. Enjoy the ups while they last I say because there's always another down round the corner!


Bernadette said...

Sounds like you're doing a grand job, Cally, and very disciplined. Keep it up!
I haven't been able to look at mine for a fortnight, I'm so sick of it, and the niggling doubt that it's all a waste of time anyway seems to grow by the day. I've had comments back from two people so far, who both say it's worth the effort to finish the edit (both family, so they would say that), but whose criticisms are diametrically opposite! To a large extent I know myself what's wrong with it, but can't work out how to fix it.
Anyway, I expect I'll feel better after some sleep.
Seeing you working so hard may just guilt me into doing some tomorrow!

CTaylor said...

Bernadette - getting sick of it? Oh tell me about it! I can't BEAR the first two chapters of my novel because I've read them so many times. Actually that's probably part of the reason why I'm enjoying the editing at the moment (because it's the first time I've read this part of the novel in a long time).

I think it's a good idea to give yourself some time off when you get stuck. You'll suddenly have a fix for your problem when you least expect it (I recommend sitting on a train for at least an hour with nothing but a notebook!)

It's great that you've had good comments and very brave of you to show your family. My family, bless them, never quite 'get' my fiction and I'm always far more nervous about their reaction than the reaction of other writers (who know more about the craft of writing!). Enjoy some sleep. It's been a stressful day!

JJ said...

You should be proud of yourself Cally, for moving on and getting on with the editing. I think that must be hard, given the analysis and speculation of recent days.

You sound like you're doing a fine job and controlling your head space.

Thumbs up from me.


Lane said...

Sounds like you're doing brilliantly.
I'm impressed and so looking forward to editing rather than what is proving to be the very painful process of actually getting the story down.


PS Hubs has been away. Back now and will reply to 'your boys' asap.

Julian's blog said...

Dear Writing:
Ah, the roller coaster is one of my favorite rides at the amusement park.
The wild mouse runs a close 2nd.