So, how’s the editing going? Well, funny you should ask. But, fine. Lots of writers don’t enjoy editing, but I do. There is no doubt in my mind that scribbling down 130,000 words in some sort of coherent order that sets out to entertain, trying to match the ambition of your latest novel with the previous five, ensuring consistency across the series and – above all – having a beginning, a middle and an end, is not without effort.
You may remember this year was different for me. For the first time I had competing priorities. We were going to stay at home (even the year before we took a week in Tunisia where I managed to find some peace and quiet) and I was working here and there. I set myself a target of 1,000 words a day and, as I remember it, I only failed once and exceeded many times. As a result, although I started later, I finished draft one just before Christmas. Since then, the tome has been resting. Paused. Until last week.
When I write I do edit. Many authors don’t. I always ‘trash edit’; that is I read the sub-chapter I’ve written so, when I come to do the first (and major) edit, it’s not complete nonsense. I write as well as I can, I’m as imaginative as I can be, both in terms of plot and language, but I will leave stuff that can wait that don’t come immediately to my head … small facts; names of minor characters who turned up in Chapter One but don’t appear again until Chapter Five. And I use a thesaurus – all the time.
And then, after a soak … this time just over a month … I start.
I try to keep a record of what’s happening. Names and dates etc, but that always falls by the wayside, mostly because I can juggle the details, or at least find what I’m looking for by Ctrl-F. I do a chapter at a time; they’re all separate GoogleDocs. Current plan is a chapter a day, but I am doing better than that. And I am ruthless. First chapter read is a major run through; second, straight after, is another look see. And then I cut and paste into the whole novel. Currently I’m on 15/19 chapters and the word count is 97,000. I think the final tally is over 130,000, another epic (that’s a technical term for any novel over 120,000 words).
[And, as there are over 17,000 words written from a US point of view, I’ve just paid one of Jen’s US friends a small amount to check on the Americanisation of what I have written. She’s done a good job.]
I was really worried it would be rubbish. Badly written and disjointed because of my approach this time round. But, so far, I’m pleasantly surprised. Whilst different again, I think it’s a scream. Sam is brilliant – as always, and she now has a new sidekick along with Frank (and Jane). The plot comes from an idea hatched between me and my son-in-law, and it’s based in the Far East. I. Love. The. Ending. But, then again, I loved the ending of all my books and I know one or two or you have pushed back here and there. We’ll see.
Next steps? Once I’ve finished edit one, it’s a read aloud to C. Then transfer into Word for a quick and dirty proof read. And then I’m looking for four non-friend beta readers. There’s a call out on Twitter for that, but if there’s anyone reading this who doesn’t know me other than through the blog, let me know if you’re interested. Once that’s done, I’ll read it again before it heads to Rosemary for proofing. Then there’s a final read … blah, blah.
It’s not a process without effort, for sure.
And the audiobook? Still waiting on one piece of equipment from the suppliers, but Sorrel tells me she has enough stuff to give some clips ago. I am v excited by that.
As for the rest of the week. Well, I’ve been working on the garage leak in Doris, I spent a day with the MoD on Thursday, and, sadly, the trip to QEH Birmingham proved fruitless. Apparently Jen’s not quite ready to have the drain out. They’re going to have another look next week. But, all-in-all she’s ok.
Battening down the hatches here as Dennis does his stuff …