All posts in editing

Editing, or, the road goes ever on and on…

Here’s the deal.

The wife has gone to Sweden for Important Business, which gives me a few days to knuckle down on this phase of the Seven Wonders edit – the re-read and annotation (tonight), followed by the re-edit and fixing (tomorrow).

One of the things about editing that surprised me the first time I did on it on a novel-length work was how convoluted the process was, and how much reading is required. I tend to read maybe two books a month for pleasure, maximum. But during editing, you need to read, and re-read, and re-read, and re-read your book several times over, usually in the space of a day or two. That’s actually a lot of reading, although seeing as you know what’s coming it’s a totally different experience to reading something fresh from someone else. You have a capacity to digest very large quantities of your own work in a short amount of time before you get the urge to scoop your eyes out of their sockets.

Which is just as well, because you’re going to have to read that book a heck of a lot. Each phase is the same – edit, read, edit, read, edit, read. Sure, some of those passes don’t need to be the entire book, but even if you’re just polishing up some particularly problematic sequences or chapters, eventually you’ll want to put them back into context and read the whole thing again. And again. And again.

With a bit of luck, you’ll enjoy it. I’m quite enjoying Seven Wonders, and nothing quite beats the feeling of satisfaction you get when a missing piece of the puzzel slots into place and you work out exactly what needs to go where to really make a section sing. For example, in this pass I had two perfectly good chapters which didn’t quite sit together. The solution was to take the first one, and turn it into a flashback that sits inside the second one. Problem solved, and the flow is much improved. Zing!

So back to it. I’m hoping that I’ll have a serviceable draft of Seven Wonders – all 120,000 words of it (certainly my longest book to date) – by the end of this coming weekend.

Seven Wonders: draft… X?

A late night last night in Liverpool and a busy day today means just a quick one…

I’ve shifted entirely to digital for writing and editing novels now – no more printing, no more Lulu. So one job today was starting work on the great re-read and annotation of Seven Wonders, draft X, on my iPad, using iAnnotate PDF (thanks to fellow Angry Roboteer Anne Lyle for turning me on to his essential app!).

Optimash Prime approves.

It’s not draft X, as someone suggested on Twitter – Seven Wonders was written a fair while ago and has been through various edits and drafts, and I just can’t remember exactly what it is up to.

So this is a “reboot” draft, draft X. Next stop, draft X.1.

A change of scene…

In New Zealand. Still editing (chapter six of Seven Wonders, to be precise).

So far I’ve had a lot of flat whites (the original), a sip of L&P, and have been enjoying the peace and quiet. And have started notes on a new novel, Lucifer, which is at least partially inspired by the frontier town feel of Helensville, where we are staying.

1st May, 2011: The wonderful world of editing

Hmm. Been slack, and no blog updates in two days. The post-EasterCon week has really thrown my routine out!

The last couple of days I’ve been focussing on getting Ludmila, My Love re-edited, polished, and out to the door – in fact, this should happen today. The final phase of editing is always the longest and the most headache-inducing, for me anyway, as it’s the time when you need to read the whole book again. Top to bottom, beginning to end, to make sure everything is okay and that the edits you’ve made all fit in properly.

I’m trying to go totally paperless now, but I made the mistake of using iBooks on my iPad to read the manuscript and make notes. As I should have remembered from Empire State, the more notes and highlights you make in iBooks, the slower iBooks becomes. By the halfway point, page turns were taking several seconds, which is ridiculous.

Fortunately Anne Lyle mentioned another app on Twitter just the other day – iAnnotate PDF, a PDF reader and mark-up app that allows you to do almost anything to a PDF, from highlighting and comments through to notes and even freestyle handwriting over the document. More importantly, it’s superfast at everything.

Best £5.99 I’ve ever spent, as it turns the iPad into a powerful editing tool. This means I am now, truly, paper-free.

And once Ludmila is out of the way today, I’ll be able to switch back to Seven Wonders.