Monthly Archives: February 2013

Ready for the dreaded red pen

Well, it’s taken a little while longer than I thought it would but I’ve finally finished filling the holes and making the big changes to the manuscript and I’m now ready to read it through for the first time.

My manuscript!

My manuscript!

That’s it, all 110,000 words and 493 pages. It seems a little strange to think that just six months ago I sat in front of a blank screen, wondering as to whether I would be capable of writing a page, and now I have a fully fleshed out second draft waiting to be hacked into (I’m not sure whether I am using the right terminology, but in my head, the first draft is the first write through from start to finish without stopping, the second contains the major corrections and changes that you knew needed to be made to ensure the story made sense – in my case writing out a character, adding in the causes of civil unrest that suddenly seemed a food idea two thirds of the way through – with the third draft being the first fully edited version for reader testing).

My trusty editing kit

My trusty editing kit

Talking of hacking, it was my wedding anniversary today and as a gift, my wife bought me the editing kit above. Who said romance is dead. I am looking forward to putting them to good use over the coming weeks.

For those interested, I’ve been reading an excellent book on editing called Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King. If you are looking for a clear and concise guide on how to edit your book, I would heartily recommend you get it.

So, it’s T- 4 days and counting before the first read through, with the aim to have a second draft ready for some selected reader testing by the end of April. Wish me luck everyone.

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Editing is hard

Editing is hard, or should I say, I’m finding this particular part of the editing phase hard. I’m not saying that I’m not enjoying myself, I am, but there is a small part of me that is now regretting not spending a little more time in the planning phase.

For a start, my first draft is so big. It didn’t feel this big while I was writing it. I was very happy, writing away, telling the story without the need to look back at what I had written. Now, however, I’ve started to realise just how big 100,000 words really are (it will be at this point that some of you writers will be going “Pah! 100,000 words? Come back to me when you’ve written something substantial.”) For me, though, as a first timer, it’s a lot. Really. The good news is that I was having doubts about whether the story (as opposed to my writing) was any good, but while reading through the manuscript, I’ve discovered many good things that I had completely forgotten about. The bad news, is that I have an awful lot still to do.

It also doesn’t help that the editing phase I’m involved in, is making the big changes, those changes that I knew I had to make before I get the chance to read through the full manuscript as a whole. I have five more scenes to go, before I finally get to read the finished draft. Five more. The difficult ones (does everybody leave these until last?).

It also doesn’t help that I keep having ideas. I’ve changed the ending of the book. Again. I’ve killed somebody. Not written them out (although that has happened too), but decided that the story would be better if somebody died. I must admit to enjoying picking out the supporting character that was for the chop, and then killing them off. Mwa ha ha ha (maniacal laugh).

The only saving grace to this period of editing is that I have just transferred the manuscript to Scrivener, and it has been a godsend. I have a clear idea of the status of each scene in my book, what needs amending and what is ready for a read through. I can also see how helpful Scrivener will be when I write my next book (yes, it’s still there, tapping away at the sub-conscience, desperate to be heard.) I’ve no idea how the windows version works, but if you are either writing, or thinking of writing a book on a mac, spend your £30 (or a few more dollars) on Scrivener. I can’t recommend it enough.