The Arduous Edit Enters the Home Stretch
It’s been an exciting week or so in my writing world. Reality intruded by way of the snowpocalypse. Cars ice skated down hills and smashed into other vehicles or were abandoned on the side of the road. Tow truck drivers made a killing; at least, that’s how it felt if you got towed. Schools, businesses, and government offices shut down for days. I was truly living in a winter wasteland…one filled with treks through knee-high snow to reach the boys’ favorite sliding spot and shoveling snow more than once.
I’m happy to say it wasn’t all bad. I was lucky enough not to lose power, so like any aspiring author, I was hard at work editing. Back on January 21st, I was only 11% through the stage V edits. Over the past week, I finished that – reading through hard copies of each chapter and committing the edits to the electronic files. It was awesome!
Here are a few observations from the experience:
The later chapters needed more polishing than the earlier chapters. I think this is because the later chapters were entirely rewritten as part of the Great Rewrite.
I overused certain words/phrases. Luckily, these are starting to jump off the page and are not as difficult to find alternatives for as I initially feared. Sometimes, I just remove the offending sentence.
My chapter length remains steady at 2,550 words per chapter. This puts the novel length at approximately 115,000 words – perfect.
One piece of advice found in Chuck Wendig’s Damn Fine Story has really aided me in the editing process. He talks about the story being a series of echoes (page 149 to be precise). Something that happened earlier in the story should appear as an echo later in the story. Thinking about my story this way helped me tie together loose ends during the denouement.
So, what’s next? I’m asking myself that very question – repeatedly if not obsessively. A couple of things need to happen, I need to do a final read-through of the entire work. During the read-through, I must pay extra close attention to overused words/phrases. Sometime soon I will start hacking away at every writer’s best friend, the Dreaded Synopsis. Wish me luck.