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Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Editing - fun or chore?.

My current MS has just reached the 90,000 word mark and I am on the second draft. When I'd finished the first draft, I was - rightly - proud of the fact that I'd managed to write (another) full length novel. I knew however that it needed work. Unfortunately being too close to the work I was finding it difficult to know exactly where I needed to make the changes. I knew as a reader it wasn't right, but as a writer I wasn't experienced enough to know where the changes needed to be made. And though I knew logically some of my precious words had to be cut or changed, how could I decide which ones they should be - after all, I knew how much hard work and frustration had gone into crafting each and every paragraph.
So I decided to send my MS to The (absolutely fantastic) Hilary Johnson's Authors Advisory Service. After a not too long, but none-the-less agonising wait, I received my reader's report; I have never been so pleased to receive seven pages of criticism in my life. Now maybe I'm just a glass half full kind of girl, but despite the lengthy report mainly telling me the things I needed to change, it also said, "It will reassure you to know that I can see plenty of quality in your writing and that The Hunter’s Companion is already an enjoyable read." This one sentence gave me hope - and set me up to start implementing some of the changes.

Without getting into a lengthy explanation of THC at the moment, it is comprised of two story lines, both set in the Fens (Norfolk, England) but 400 years apart. The 1645 storyline was pretty much okay (yay), it was the 2013 one that I needed to work on. After much thought, dissection and several phone calls to my sister, I decided to add in some further characters to the modern storyline. This has actually proved much easier than I anticipated - but has meant some quite extensive changes taking place. Not only am I writing new chapters, existing chapters are having to be changed to reflect the new dynamics. And do you know what - it's fun! Phew, I was dreading the whole editing part, I much prefer the writing (and I'm not a planner - which is probably why I'm having to make such huge changes now, I just let the story evolve as I write).

So what changes have you had to make to your novel? Have you found it hard or easy? what is your number one editing tip?

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