Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Novel Idea: Pre-op Post-edit

Traditional Ones

I've just finished the first edit of the penultimate chapter.

That means there's one left to go, and potentially an epilogue.

This'll bring it to thirteen chapters, which is freakin' wicked as the number thirteen, and its relation to chaos in the Persian New Year, is well stated within the story. So it's sort of poetic, and completely unintentional, which gives me this glowy feeling that the book wants to exist.

I started the first edit shortly after finishing the final chapter on 4th January, so it's taken the best part of a month to comb through. That's actually not bad at all. There have been far fewer major issues and mistakes than I was anticipating. Especially as, just before Christmas, MS Word collapsed on me, claiming there were too many spelling mistakes for it to continue pointing them out. Guess technology just can't hack the pace of a real life, flesh and blood proofreader.

My major concern being that this is the first novel I've written where I deliberately banned myself from editing as I go. It means I probably got to the end a bit faster, but, over the course of seven months and 100,000 words, I was a little nervous about what I might find on the first read-through.

Surprisingly, there was only one major boo boo in which I completely contradicted an earlier plot detail, although I think there may be another in the final chapter. Nothing irretrievable though, so worst fears not realised. 

Each chapter that I've finished has been e-mailed over to Martine & RuairĂ­, beta reader and proofreader extraordinaire. So I'm taking this moment to pause for breath, because once I send the final chapter it's open season - they get to shoot me down on grammar, plot, characterisation, dialogue, and general 'feel'. 

First edit is about me checking that the words form roughly (and only very roughly) coherent sentences and that plot and character continuity remains stable - to my mind at least.

Second edit is about rigorously shaping up the grammar, flow and continuity with fresh eyes involved, plus identifying places where the story might benefit from padding out or trimming down.

Feeling fairly good so far. Hard to be objective about it now - some days you're insecure and you think it's all crap, other days you're inspired and it's brilliant. Which is why you need people that you trust, with the literary skills you need, to look through it with you. Every author has at least one person like this, but sometimes they take a while to find - I'm lucky enough to have two.

[Top Tip: family members are fantastic too, but they're pretty much guarantee to love anything you write, so they don't make the best beta readers. You need someone with a critical eye and enough distance to tell it like it is without crushing your soul. Delicate balance.]

Funny thing is, I've already got the next project lined up.

Can't wait to get started.

My story takes place over four years in three
different calenders. Here's how I tried to keep
track of that whilst editing.

1 comment:

  1. Glad my notes are not the only indecipherable ones! Lol- great job! Keep it up :)