Writing

Editing: An Iceberg, Not a Marathon

Around the beginning of the month, I typed some words about my plans regarding editing Generic Fantasy, my current work in progress. I could give you a thousand words about how this is going, or I could provide an image, which is meant to have an equivalent value. I could even just reuse this post’s featured image, which would be relevant to the point.

You want the thousand words? Well ok then.

The year was 2017, and in a small city, a man sat in front of his computer. Snow fell, but it fell elsewhere, and this was not important to him right then. In this poorly described scene, our protagonist made a decision, changes tense mid sentence and is now wrangling with the edits required for his work in progress…

Wait, what? You wanted the picture? Sorry, I misheard you.

iceberg-1421411_960_720.jpg

Aaaanyway, so yeah. I expected I would need to make a fair few changes. The process would be a marathon rather than a sprint. But it turns out that comparing it to an iceberg with massive hidden depths to the work required is more apt. Now I know I need to do huge amounts. The original plan was to take the 24 chapters I had written, and hammer them into a more fluent 24 chapters. I still need to do this. However, thanks to some brilliant feedback from my beta readers, I have decided I need some additional chapters as well.

Main character Jen spends a fair amount of the book at work. This is mainly because a greek god has suggested her assistant manager is trying to trigger the apocalypse. However, there is definitely room for some more diversity, and I intend to follow beta reader advice and give more of a view of Jen’s home life. I’m currently looking at how I can link this to the main plot and subplots.

Screen Shot 2017-01-20 at 14.11.44.png

My plan now looks a little something like the picture above. I’ve made some fairly detailed notes on each chapter in addition to this. I’ve jotted down places where the writing is awkward, clumsy or lazy. I’ve also collected beta reader criticisms of each chapter, and made general notes on how I might address the issues. I’ve corrected a few obvious typos, but I did not spend huge amounts of time on this, as I plan to do so much rewriting.

Crucially, I’ve decided where I want new chapters to fall. This is not an immutable decision, as I still have to plan the new sections. Once I start making notes on the additional scenes, I’ll get a better feel for if they’ll fit where I want them to. Up to this point, I’ve mainly been analysing my manuscript. I’ve found what needs improvement. Now, it’s time to move onto the more difficult part.

Fixing the flaws.

The most difficult part is going to be adding in the new chapters, so I intend to start there. I’ll be structuring them out using the amazing scene planner found on LiveWriteThrive (Run by author C.S. Lakin, her site and resources really are excellent). I want to start actually writing these chapters when February arrives, so I have just under two weeks to get this done.

I’ll let the new material sit once it’s done, and get into editing the stuff from the first draft. I’ll be keeping an eye out for what needs to change to accommodate the additional chapters. As well as specific issues to correct with each chapter, I have goals for the manuscript as a whole. These include adding depth and background to secondary characters, more description of locations, and working out how to describe clothing without going into too much detail.

I expect that iceberg of editing work is going to keep appearing bigger as I continue revising Generic Fantasy, but hopefully I can keep upbeat about the project, and find myself with a much improved second draft as a reward.

Thanks for reading, and I hope your own projects are going to plan.

Featured image courtesy of pixabay.

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One thought on “Editing: An Iceberg, Not a Marathon

  1. Best of luck with your editing! I guess the vast majority of writers begin with rough drafts, avail themselves of trusted beta readers, and heavily edit/revise their works in progressive cycles. As for me, I walk alone on a straight and narrow path from beginning to end—and never look back! It seems to work for me, but I recognize that I’m also a marginal writer. Fortunately, that doesn’t bother me in the least.

    Liked by 1 person

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