I’ve been so busy, I skipped the Week 3 post, but this week and last have pretty much been the same. At a pace of three chapters a day, I’m going through The Fifth House and making improvements. This includes clearing up confusing sections, cutting out redundant words, sentences and sections, and checking that the characters and their actions flow together from one chapter to the next.
That last part is no small task. When I write 1000 words a day during the first draft, I sometimes have to change my plan for the story in mid-stream. I don’t have time to go back and change what I’ve already written during my drafting stage, so I drop a comment into the document noting the change and advising Editor Andy to go back and fix it later. Other times, I just write filler describing what I wanted to but couldn’t write, or I write something and leave a note explaining that what I just wrote was horrible and could I make it better during edits.
Editor Andy hates First Draft Andy for pulling this crap, but that’s the way it goes. It allows me to keep writing up until The End without getting bogged down in repairing what I’ve already written. Still, it gets frustrating. Here are some of my favorite comments to myself, that make me curse First Draft Andy aloud.
“Confusing. Delete.” So if it was confusing and I should delete it, why didn’t I just do that during the first draft? Because then I would have had to write more to reach my 1,000-word goal for the day.
“This can all be shown instead of told, second time through.” All you have to do is snap your fingers!
“Stood stood stood” I guess I used the same word in three consecutive sentences…
“repetitive” “comma overload” Self-explanatory
“I don’t like this whole paragraph, but I’m moving on for now.” Now you’re just being mean.
“Not taking into account word count, this would be a good chapter end.” In other words, what’s wrong with a 300 word chapter if it’s got a nice hook at the end?
And my favorite: “This makes no sense to me.” In my defense, I get up really early to write.
You get the idea. At my average pace of three chapters a day, I should have this editing done by Valentine’s Day, a gift to myself. And then what? I start all over, undoubtedly finding all new mistakes and confusing sections to fix.
I’ll most likely take a one- or two-week break between this editing pass and the next, though, to work on some short stories and to get a little distance from the book.
There you have it. Writing, editing. It’s work and it’s not always pretty, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Photo credit: Translator’s Revenge by Daniela Vladimirova.