Friday, 8 August 2014

Ever wondered what 'editing' looks like?

I realise a lot of readers of this blog are fellow authors. You all know what editing - the process of honing your writing to 'perfection' - looks and feels like.

We each have our own preferred methods; I know people who record themselves reading aloud...others who take a paper copy and red pen to the park...some use the 'read' facility on the computer screen so it looks like a real book...

You're all nodding your heads at me, now, aren't you?

I'm editing at the moment. I shouldn't be, really - I had told myself I'd work on the new Granny Rainbow stories and I haven't done as many as I need to. Instead, I'm working on StarMark. It's had an interesting history so far and I keep telling myself that this time will be the last time I make changes. (Yeah, right). This time is the make-or-break time, before I either catch (another) agent's attention with it, or self-publish.

This edit, (probably about the twentieth so far?) is being done on paper. With a black pen. This is what it looks like:

I have notes to myself, like 'EXPAND', but nothing to say how.

Or 'RETHINK - soldiers need to come later, how Davith sees her, his reaction to Niklos being hurt', which is only slightly more useful.

There are arrows and stars and brackets to show where bits are being shifted to a place where they make more sense. Whole sentences are rewritten: 'The noise of fighting grew fainter and for one glorious moment, Irvana thought they were safe' has morphed into 'The sound of fighting grew fainter. They'd got away! They were safe! But then - oh, gods! A horse, drawing closer. "They're coming after us!"

(Just realised - lots of exclamation marks...*sigh* Needs tweaking yet again. See - never done with it.)

There are new chapter breaks, whole paragraphs to delete, whole new paragraphs to put in. It seems endless.

And will it all, at the end of the day, make the story any better to read? No flippin' idea. But this is StarMark. My first full length novel for children - I will not give up on it. If the story was good enough in its essence for an agent to work with me on it three years ago, then I'm determined to get it out into the world for young readers.

There are only around 100 pages left. On with the editing.

Out of interest, how do you do yours?

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