Starting the Editing Process
I’m two weeks into editing my first draft and I can definitively say that I prefer editing to drafting. It feels a hundred times easier to work with something already written than to try to make something appear on a blank page. That being said, there have still been some places where I’ve had to write something entirely new and my brain does NOT like to switch back to draft mode.
I only had about ten days between finishing the draft and starting my read through, but it was so nice to have some time off where I didn’t feel guilty about not writing. When I came back to my draft, I felt completely refreshed. It turned out to be a sufficient enough break that I was immediately able to spot a couple of small, but significant, plot holes and now I’m digging into world building in a much deeper way.
I was surprised at how much usable material I actually wrote. Considering that I was interrupted by some big life events last year, I was worried it wouldn’t feel cohesive during the read through, or I’d forget something important. Thankfully, it seems to be in decent shape. (Obviously, that’s open to interpretation, but I feel pretty good about it.) I haven’t had any issues with cutting things out either, which surprised me. If it doesn’t work, I don’t want it in the story. I’ve deleted or condensed entire pages due to over-writing, and cut out a few things that were more for my benefit than my future readers, but it hasn’t really hurt yet.
Adding new scenes has been the most difficult part for me so far. Those small plot holes I mentioned required me to add a few things to the introductory part of my story, but it’s taking me at least three times as long to add a new paragraph than it does to edit one of the pages. I tend to “tell” more than “show” when I’m drafting, and my brain keeps reverting back to that when I have to write something new. I can’t seem to help myself. The editing side of my brain is a much better show-er, but it refuses to stick around unless it has something to work with.
One of my favorite tools in the editing process is to convert a finished chapter to .mobi format so I can listen to my Kindle read it aloud to me. I’ve spotted so many mistakes, continuity errors, and typos this way. (Plus, it seems more professional which helps to get me in the right mind space!) My early beta readers have the chapters I’ve completed and the feedback has been pretty positive so far. Utilizing my Kindle has made it so much easier to feel confident about sending my work to my betas.
I decided to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo this April to keep me motivated as well. With any luck, I’ll have this second draft done by the end of the month. I currently have a publishing date in mind and, if I can get this round finished by the end of Camp Nano, I’ll have a better idea whether or not that date will be a possibility. I can’t wait to share more about this story with you all!