Friday, 20 August 2021

Edity Wedity Woo Woo

Slogging away at the edit for Sargon

At around page 240... of 516.

Managed to edit up from 147,000 words to over 160,000... not the direction I was hoping to go in, but I realised I'd missed some really important detail in places. Usually my first drafts are pretty complete, but somewhere along the way I just started throwing action at the page without much explanation. So much so that, in one place, I wondered if I'd accidentally deleted a few paragraphs. Even I couldn't figure out what was going on, though I'm sure it made sense at the time. Now I'm busy colouring between the lines.

Note to self: write shorter books.

I'm not sure I want to do something this long again. With any book, you forget most of the middle by the time you get to the end, but with this one there's so much to revisit. Editing can feel a little boring sometimes and you start to worry that the story itself might be boring. It probably isn't, but you think it is because you're feeling fed up. It's the difference between the enjoyment of watching a video, and the hours of arduous repetition that go into editing that video. By this stage, it's completely impossible to be objective about your own work. As I said to someone, 'I just see the language, not the story.' You reclaim it a little once the beta readers get involved. If you get a little positive feedback, you start to see your story in a new light. You start to believe in it again, and the editing feels worth it. 

I'm also nervous because it's in third person. Historical fiction almost always works better in first. My historical works, Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran, The Children of Lir and Angorichina, have all been in first person. My more contemporary works, Creeper's Cottage, Lucid and Secure the Shadow, have been third person. So, I was feeling pretty uncertain of myself. Then I picked up a copy of Empire by Steven Saylor, and I felt a lot better. I think what I've got is fairly similar in style. 

I honestly didn't realise it would take this long to edit. It feels like I've been going for weeks, and I'm not yet halfway through. If this was a normal-sized book, I'd almost be finished by now. Still, I'm plodding on as I can't turn back. 


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