Writing

Editing novels takes aaaaages

The last time I wrote about my writing here, I was about to start reading through the first draft of my crime thriller novel with a view to completing a second draft.

Well, the good news is that I did this. I sat down with the manuscript in hand and a notebook to record notes, and I read through it all as though I was a reader coming to it for the first time. And the other good news is that I didn’t absolutely hate it.

This was a real revelation for me. Obviously, it was a first draft and there were the associated problems you’d expect – gaping plot holes, clunky sentences, characters butting into conversations with comments apparently unrelated to what the others were talking about – but I found I actually still liked the story. I still thought there was something in there worth putting out for other people to have a look at (maybe even enjoy!).

So, next I started a new document on the computer and began cutting and pasting each individual chapter so I could rewrite it, bit by bit. And that’s where I discovered: this takes ages. Forever. A ridiculously long time. It came as something of a setback, because (having never got this far before), I’m used to working quite quickly. Once I’ve stopped procrastinating and applied my derriere to a chair, I can actually write pretty fast and sometimes even be pleased with what I’ve done, especially when it amounts to a good few sides of A4 from a single session. But this? It was slow, it was frustrating and it left me fearing this book will never see the light of day!

However, not to be defeated, I looked around online and found that some of the biggest authors were saying it can take more than twice as long to rewrite and edit each section as it did to write it. It’s supposed to be more laborious because you’re fixing that initial flurry of creativity and trying to shape it into something better.

So, I’m going to plough on. I’ve redrafted a few more chapters and hopefully improved them. I’m still aiming for self-publication by around November. But with this new advice in mind, perhaps I’d better try and tackle a few more sections per week if I want to meet my goal!

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