Ups and downs of editing my novel

Since January I’ve been getting up early before work to write. When this works it’s really successful. Not only do I get around an hour’s good writing done each day but, when I work on my novel first thing, it makes me think about it much more throughout the day. I’m more likely to continue to write whilst commuting and in the evening. It keeps it ticking over in my brain. Like a simmering cauldron.

And it gets easier and easier. The more you write – the more consecutive days you rack up – the easier it is to slip into that world and pick up the threads again. The excitement builds. It’s like solving a puzzle; the pieces fall into place.

Unfortunately getting up early can be derailed by all manner of things: a busy week at work with early starts; late nights out socially; or just generally not sleeping well. Last week I did it every day but one. The week before I didn’t manage it at all. Still, it seems to be getting more of a habit as time goes by and it’s something I look forward to each morning. Or that might just be the very strong cup of fresh coffee.

Inspired by Holly Lisle’s one pass manuscript revision, I’d planned to get my novel to around 95% complete after this first edit, so that only little tweaks would be needed to tidy it up. I’m finding that this is just too ambitious bearing in mind the state of the first draft.  While calling it Frankenstein’s novel might be a bit cruel (debatable) it was written in fits and starts over the last seven years and I’m finding I need to rewrite the vast majority of it, as well as still developing a lot of character back story and world building.

I was finding myself getting hung up on making everything perfect before progressing, and hence not getting beyond the first couple of chapters (a state in which I spent most of my twenties and which only the discovery of nanowrimo freed me from). For example, I’ve spent a lot of time (to date still unsuccessfully) trying to come up with a good succinct description of this mountain view, which features in the second paragraph of the novel.

Taurus Mountains, near Termessos, Turkey

Taurus Mountains, Turkey. Or is it the mountains of Narrabosz, just over the Oltuxcan border…?

So I’ve scaled back my ambitions and I’m now working to take the second draft to around 85% complete. Things are going much better and I’m getting through the chapters. I’ve written an ambitious schedule to complete a chapter a week which will take me to mid-November. So far we’re on track.

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