There hasn’t been a blog for a few weeks as I’ve been sick, but I’m all better now so let’s continue with something that all writers have to go through. Editing.
There are very few people who enjoy editing their books. Mostly because it means having to switch off the little voice inside your head that says, “No don’t delete that sentence, it’s so funny and clever, why do you hate me? No don’t do it, I… noooooooooo.”
But once you’ve melted your creativity into a large puddle of goo, you need to set about making your story better.
At the moment, I’m preparing Crimes Against Magic to get published in April, and that means editing. Over and over again.
I’m very lucky in that I have a lot of excellent friends who took their time to go through the book with a fine-tooth comb and point out all of my failings. Any plot point which doesn’t make sense, or spelling which looked like it was written by an orang-utan. They’re an excellent group, and they offer some very good suggestions.
The problem with having a group of people reading your work is that you very quickly realise you can’t please everyone. One person won’t like a prologue, another won’t like a flashback or a fight scene or a whole character. You can’t make your work universally loved. It’s never going to happen. And that’s something you, as a writer, need to realise as quickly as possible. That’s why you should always write the book for you. Write something you want to read. Everyone else is a bonus.
So, once you’ve gotten passed the portions of the book that you don’t want to change, it’s down to the nitty-gritty. Unnecessary sentences, words and grammar that don’t need to be there or are just wrong. No one is going to have a perfect book first time, in fact I’ve been through Crimes Against Magic a number of times and I still pick up the occasional word that shouldn’t be there, or piece of incorrect formatting.
So, now the book is in a way that I’m happy with. But the edits don’t stop. Next I’m going to read it out loud, mostly because you can catch all kinds of problems with it by doing so, especially speech that doesn’t sound right. And when I’ve done that… well, hopefully it’ll be finished for good, although I’m sure I’ll want to check it again, just to make sure.
At some point I’ll have to stop though, otherwise I’m just editing for the sake of it and not actually doing anything productive. Besides I’ve got book 2 I need to get finished and unfortunately I don’t think it’s going to write itself.