In case you didn’t notice, some of us survived 2016. As one of those fortunate few, it falls to me to make good on the promises I made to myself, regarding the editing of my current WIP.
That WIP’s working title is Generic Fantasy, and the description goes thus: Jen’s got a dead end retail job. It’s not the end of the world. Only it is. The apocalypse is coming and Eric, her colleague, is involved. As Jen rushes to stop him, she’ll have to take stock of a lot more than just stock take.
This was my NaNoWriMo 2016 project, and it came in at just over 53,000 words. For a first draft, I’m thrilled at the way it came out. I planned extensively during October, so when November arrived, I knew where the story was going. I also knew how it was going to get there. However, that’s not to say it’s ready to see the light of day.
Before that, there are some pretty big flaws I need to fix.
I’ve been in a fortunate position this time around. My wife agreed to read chapters as I wrote them. She found some glaring errors and helped head me off from writing myself down some ridiculous plot holes as I went. She also highlighted some areas that I needed to explain things more, or tighten things up.
Additionally, I recruited a couple of kind beta readers, as feedback from family members can only take you so far. I’ve already had critique notes from one of them, and should be getting notes from the other sometime this month. The comments I’ve received have highlighted some key areas that I need to focus on. I’ve also started reading and critiquing the work myself.
I’ve begun the editing process by giving myself an overview. As mentioned, my draft is around 53,000 words at the moment. I’m aiming for the next draft to be between 75 and 80,000 words. I’m setting a target for each chapter to be around the 3,200 mark.
I’m not intending to just add words for the sake of it, though. I’m compiling notes on each chapter, about pacing and descriptions. In a lot of places, I don’t go into enough detail about characters. In others, key events are over too quickly. I suspected this would be the case as I was checking my word count as I wrote. Sometimes it took me hours to write a fight scene. However, it takes only a couple of minutes to read.
As evidenced by the picture above, I’m not editing the chapters in numerical order. Instead, I’m starting with what I perceive as the biggest plot weaknesses. I’ll try and solve these, and then target smaller things. Once I’ve dealt with the big picture problems, I’ll move onto my characters. Some of my secondary characters practically disappear for large sections of the novel, and that definitely needs fixing.
After I’ve attempted to solve these issues, I’ll have another read through. At this point, I’ll be looking for typos, sentence structure etc. Just because the story might be told logically, there will still be bumps to smooth.
I’m hoping that I can edit my current draft into a much better read by the end of March. I’ll probably discover fresh problems as I go. I may even add new ones in as I write extra material to up the word count. But with hard work and a bit of luck, Generic Fantasy will be one step closer to reaching the outside world.
Featured image courtesy of pixabay.