Editing is scary. It is the reason I hadn’t brought myself to finish a draft before. It is the reason I tried to get it right first time and then realized I couldn’t, which means I couldn’t get to the end of the story.
It took a long time, and I mean years, for me to come to terms with this one single truth: the first draft is always going to be crap. I already mentioned this on my first post.
But one thing that has always helped me get through tasks is organization, so when it came to write the manuscript, I had a daily word count target. For editing, I also have daily goals.
Stage 1 of the editing process is re-reading. Stage 0, I suppose, was putting the whole thing away for a while. That wasn’t hard to do because I had assignments to do, while I was sick, with three kids. It was no hassle to forget about the manuscript for a while.
But of course, it came time to get the ball rolling and, because I don’t like to do everything digitally, I got myself a project notebook. They are really small and not many pages, to keep track of progress but, also, to take notes on ideas when I am not sitting at my desk. Even though I take notes of ideas and potential or even necessary changes to the text and story as I read, sometimes I get more ideas later in the day, or even as I am in bed. Even if the text is not in front of you, your brain is still working on it on the background. At least that’s what I like to think.
So for the re-reading and note-taking stage of my editing process I also have a daily target. Three chapters a day. It’s been a week, which mean I should have 21 chapters read and annotated but because my parents are here, helping with the kids, I’ve managed 29. I’m quite pleased with my progress.
You might think that I am going too fast but, right now, I am only concerned with potential changes to the overall plot. Once I have done this, I will then take one chapter at a time and rework it based on my current notes, which will be stage 2. This rework will generate more notes which will cascade down to the following chapters.
Now, I know many people cut a lot of stuff when editing. I will cut a lot of stuff while editing, but I will also add a lot for the sake of narrative and story, so I am likely to end with a longer manuscript than I started with. I feel like my first drafts are very long summaries and need fleshed out to make the final product.
On other news, I’ve chosen a pen name for my romance novel. Sadly, I failed at the research side of it and only found out 100 twitter followers in that there was already an author called Sophie Monroe. My only luck is that I chose to have a middle name. Sophie A. Monroe, where the A stood for Anything but now will have to stand for something. I’ve a couple of ideas of how to solve the problem but the final decision is not urgent, so it will wait till the cover needs done, really. Meanwhile, you can follow Sophie at @sophieamonroe1.
Stay tuned for more updates on this and more. Meanwhile, good night and good writing!