Thoughts on Editing

I’ve spent the better part of the weekend working my way through Book 3. Frontier Resistance (Book 2 in the Frontier Series) is on its way towards publication, and after completing the first draft of Book 3, I put it away for a rest.

I picked it up again this weekend to re-read and begin the editing process to get it ready for submission. It’s been quite fun to read it after a break. This story ends the trilogy, so it’s been a challenge to write.

I’m very conscious of the issues with trilogies. So often I’ve read a great first book, a good second book, and then an ‘only OK’ third book. I’ve had to remind myself not to be self indulgent, try and make sure the ‘reveal’ is actually a reveal and not a foregone conclusion, and wrap things up nicely.

So far, I’m fairly happy with the first half, but I’m about to find out if the second half works as well as I want it to. That’s the bit that’s been scaring me – have I got it right? It’s a weird thing to try and finalise the story. I’ve always known how it ends, but the getting there has always been a bit of a mystery.

That’s probably a facet of the way I write. I’m a sequential writer, who knows how it starts, and how it finishes, and a bit about how stuff happens in the middle. Just not all of it. And then there’s the moment that you realise that what you thought was going to happen isn’t. And you have to rethink a whole pile of stuff.

Anyway, this is a bit off topic, so back to business. I’ve found a few bits of writing that I’m really proud of, and other bits that may require a bit more tweaking. At the moment I’m working chapter by chapter, and incorporating each new chapter into one document. During the first draft, I save each chapter individually. It’s only when I get to this point that I stick all of them together, and after I’ve finished reading them, I’ll put them away for another couple of weeks and then read the whole thing through.

I always find it amazing just how many little teeny weeny errors creep in. Little formatting or spelling errors, misplaced words, a thread that doesn’t quite hold together, or just a piece of writing that doesn’t quite work.

It’s a process that takes time and effort, and one that is really important – just as important as the initial writing. It’s the polishing that turns a fairly decent story into a better one.

I’m reminded of how many times school teachers tell kids that the first draft isn’t the final one. Now I understand it. Then, I thought it was just an annoying waste of time. Now I wish I was better at it!

Anyway, my fingers are falling off, and it’s time to let the brain have a rest.

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