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.