Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Editing. Re-editing. Editing Again.


The great re-edit. I'm at it again. Every time I think I might possibly, almost, see the end in the distance, something else comes up at me from behind. You missed me, you missed me, nyeh nyeh nyeh nyeh nyeh. 
And I realise I need to get back at it. That glimmering in the distance? A mirage. 
I'm back at obsessing over three adverbs in the first chapter. Are they necessary? Do they detract from the flow? Are they worthy? And then I wonder how many minutes (hours?) I've spent obsessing over three damn words. And the truth is, the first chapter has been gone over with a fine tooth comb. I've re-read it, altered and changed it a few hundred times, my beloved has read over it, a friend in America read through the whole manuscript, my parents have read it, and at least sixteen people in my online writers group have written online critiques. (To all of whom much, much thanks!) I've pored over all the comments, trying to make sense of all the conflicting advice and work out who the higher authority on comma placement might be.
I've read it front-ways. And back-ways. In my dreams, and probably sideways too. 
The last chapters haven't been under such close scrutiny. I get half way through with my fine-tooth-comb and I sort of get distracted by something shiny in the corner of the room. Or maybe the notion of sleep. Or ahem, another, newer, glossier work-in-progresss.
Not quite so many critiquers have worked their way through to the last chapters. And while the last half of the book was one of the most outrageously fun bits to write (the last 35,000 words were written in a mad, two week rush, in which totally improbable things kept writing themselves) there are quite a few places where I'm not sure what I've missed, but I'm fairly sure I've missed something. 
Now I've decided to read my novel back-to-front. From the last chapter to the first. 
I'm thinking a strong drink is in order. I might have extra peppermint in my peppermint tea. 
Big black plot hole, where are you? I'm coming to find you.
If I go missing, you know where I am. At the bottom of a deep, dark plot hole. Please bring a rope. A long one. 

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