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.


5 thoughts on “Editing is hard

    1. dylanhearn Post author

      It’s such a simple concept but I can see it becoming indispensable when developing new ideas. I’ll be compiling my draft when I’ve finished, so I’ll let you know how I get on.

  1. gabrielablandy

    Editing is hard – and this isn’t something your should blame on yourself: it’s hard fullstop! One thing I found useful when I’m dealing with a large body of text is to make a summary of each chapter and try, that way, to get the whole book on one piece of paper. That way you find the paragraphs or sections that you can’t make a summary of – and realise that nothing is happening there, and then you realise that those bits can go. Hilary Mantel says that we should cut our work by a third. And usually for a first novel publishers are looking for around 80,000 words. Good luck with it.


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