HURRAY! The first draft of my book is finished! I’m prepared to begin the daunting task of editing. A procedure that, according to the experts, takes more effort and time than the actual writing did. The writing was quite easy for me. I never suffered from any real problems in that respect. It is my hope the editing will go as smoothly and I will hit my original deadline, December 2014, for completion of this book.
To get myself psyched for the editing process, I discussed editing with other writers, friends and family. I stacked my desk and Kindle with English language and grammar texts, 2 highly recognized books on style, and the writing advice of famous professional authors.
Following the advice of Steven King (I didn’t actually talk to him, it was in his book), I waited a month before starting the edit, during which time I never looked at or thought about my book. Instead, I read his and several other successful authors’ advice. I dove into grammar books and “style” books (yes the Chicago Book of Style – NOT your afternoon read), bought a new dictionary and found a printed thesaurus. I brushed up on passive sentences, perfect tenses, and split infinitives.
After all, this is my first real edit and I need to be sure I have all the right tools, and full command of the English language. Much of the research brought to mind those many memorable English classes – but that’s another story.
I tapped into the massive number of blogs and online articles that addressed the issues of writing and editing. My hope was they might be useful in showing me how to edit, and what to look for in my own writing. Many were extremely informative and provided great insights into writing and editing. I found several terrific tips on how to go about these tasks. One article explained editing and proofreading and the difference between the two procedures – definitely valuable information.
I checked those online “mutual” critique sites, where writers analyze other writers’ postings. I found scary, although creative ideas about reviewing writing. Each site had a few very good and I’m sure, respected editors. Seeing how some of the writers analyzed the work of their piers was quite disturbing. These badly done critiques skipped over many very basic writing problems. Since the critique gained points or credits for the reviewer based on the size of the critique, the comments were often long-winded, redundant, and essentially useless. I decided to avoid submitting any work to these sites.
Reviewing the outline of my novel, I noted any small details I thought I might have missed. I had trouble with the original ending so I did a second ending and outlined a third one. I concluded I would review and edit the entire book and then decide which way to finish. I know some of you are gasping right now. “How do you write a book with no ending?” To explain: the plot has climaxed fully at this point and I am really only dealing with the final details – the wrap up. I cut the original story in half due to its length and this book needs to finish clean, but also allow for the telling of the rest of the story. It’s a little tricky to do both.
My novel is contemporary fiction and consists of 30 rather long chapters and 86,000 words. I’m not going to disclose any information on the storyline quite yet. I have edited the first six chapters at the time of this writing and I’m thrilled. I didn’t forget any of those annoying details, the plot flows well, and the characters are strong and vivid. It’s much better than I thought it would be. Of course, there is a long way to go at this point and that’s only my opinion.
No one has read my book, except me, and I wanted to wait until at least the first edit was complete, before asking anyone to read it and give me an overall assessment of my work. I hope that it continues to flow smoothly and I am able to finish the first edit over the next two months. I’m not counting on this editing being easy. I have to be realistic. Once done, I will proceed with assessments and will put some excerpts on my website for my readers to assess. That input is very important.
Thanks to all my readers for the support and patience. I’ll keep everyone informed…