Monday, February 08, 2010

Editing the novel

I'm well into my edits now. It's going to take a while, but I'm pleased with progress so far.

I have to admit that I enjoy editing. It is something that was drummed into us on the Open University creative writing courses and I do find the process of revision satisfying. Tweaking a sentence to make it flow better or replacing a single word with something even more suitable can be just as creative as getting the words down in the first place.

So I'm back at the beginning of the novel, working through chapters I wrote some time ago and can barely remember. I've had some pleasant surprises as well as finding parts which are not so good. For me the process of editing usually involves adding in more detail, so I'm inserting little flashes of description or dialogue. I have even, shock horror, deleted a whole paragraph which didn't quite fit.

This is a first run through to improve the flow of the language and boost the characterisation. Then I plan to start all over again to look at the timeline, plot and structure before going back to the language again.

So far, so good.


Queenie said...

I loooove editing, for me it's much more enjoyable than pushing out the first draft (what Ms C Smailes once referred to as 'the vomit draft' - yep, and about as much fun!). Best of luck with yours.

Cathy said...

Ha, vomit draft is a very appropriate term for parts of mine. But actually, most of it isn't too bad, I'm pleased to say, though there is still lots of work to be done.

Anonymous said...

Out of interest, do you keep the old versions, in case the editing "goes wrong" and you have to start again? Or perhaps because (more likely) later editing sessions will remove something good from the novel?

Cathy said...

Yes I do keep old versions. I have ten drafts so far, plus one edit I'm currently working on!

Jenny Beattie said...

Oooh, interesting. Mine is structural first... then improve the flow of the language.

Good luck with it. I can't start til March and I'm getting a bit antsy!

Anonymous said...

Well done you. I'm hoping to start editing after Easter - have set myself an 80k target and got 73k completed so far.

CJ xx

Chris Stovell said...

It's funny but I've just done the first batch of copy edits and felt strangely satisfied by the process - and I was dreading it!

Cathy said...

JJ- my structure doesn't need much work, I'll really just be looking for tiny plot and timeline glitches (I expect to find a few, though have been correcting as Caroline edited on the way).

CJ - well done, nearly there!

Chris - it really isn't as bad as everyone makes out, is it?


Anne Brooke said...

Sounds like fun - enjoy! Axxx

Paul said...

I'm in the same stage right now with mine. It's really embarrassing to me when I find not only grotesque phrasing but typos and word choice errors. I've been through it plenty of times, and yet I'm still finding this stuff. At one point a month or so ago, I honestly thought I have a polished draft to start sending out. Ha!

I have found that reading my story in a different setting (say a computer at the library) has allowed me to find mistakes I have glossed over in the past. A fresh perspective, I guess.

Cathy said...

Paul - I like the idea of reading the draft in a different setting for a refreshed view. I do wonder though whether we can ever achieve a perfect draft. Sometimes we just have to let it go out into the world and not worry about remaining tiny errors.

Anne - thank you :)