Some writers moan about editing. It’s painful - boring – impossible. It’s not creative. The joy of telling a story, inventing, imagining, creating is gone, and in its place you’re fussing around, checking and cutting.
But I love editing. The hard work is done. The story is there. Now I can trim and shape, experiment and refine without the big worries of where the narrative is going or what’s going to happen next.
I’ve just finished - hurray! – the first draft of Almost True. I loved writing the sequel to When I Was Joe but it was tough. I did a lot of rewriting right at the beginning, and then later on I found other work getting in the way. It’s taken a year to get the first draft done - double the time it took to write Joe.
However, partly because it’s been a longer process I’ve done a lot of editing as I go. There’s not so much to revise (until I hear from my agent and editor that is, they may disagree) Even so, it’s satisfying and fun to go back over sentences and chapters. Is that bit in the right place? Have I explained this clearly enough? Editing isn’t separate from writing, it just makes things clearer and sharper.
Almost True is a long book - 13,000 words longer than Joe. Will my editor think it's too long? Will he see cuts that I haven't spotted?
Candy Gourlay reported on a workshop held by Working Partners senior commissioning editor Sara O’Connor, whose message was summed up as: Slash, burn, chop, chop, chop. She gave excellent advice for writers of fantasties, and all writers - read it here.