You know what? Editing is hard. I only just learned that, too, because the first time I ever edited anything seriously was in December.
For having called myself a ‘writer,’ for such a long time, that’s pretty sad.
So here I am to step-by-step document the past four months of my editing adventure. (Plus the twelve very stagnant months in which I made little progress and lots of mistakes.)
It’s been interesting, that’s for sure.
- I put my WIP, “The Sparrow Who Couldn’t Sing,” on another computer and then, painstakingly, read through each chapter. It was still sweaty, and covered in plot holes, remnants from it’s NaNoWriMo 2014 glory. The only thing I did was re-write random sentences, and check spelling. Not very productive, but still.
- Throughout the summer, I sent the chapters off, one by one, to two of my friends. Luckily, they both still are alive and did not have their retinas burned out or their brains melted by reading my rough draft. Why I thought that sending my rough draft out was a good idea, I do not know.
- NaNoWriMo 2015 was coming around the corner. So, in October, I abandoned any and all thought about TSWCS so I could plan and write a sequel to my messy, messy draft.
- But, midway through November I got this feeling. If I was going to bother writing a sequel, I had better do this. I was going to re-write TSWCS, and really pursue publishing. Once NaNo was over (and I took a short break to recuperate O_O) I started in on TSWCS again.
- My first step? I read through my hard copy again, and made notes on each chapter. My notebook pages were set up with a “things gained/learned” section and a “notes/things to change or add” section. Below that, I would summarize what happened in the chapter. From this I adjusted my timeline as needed, and wrote out a ton of little scene cards/chapter cards, which are still taped to the wall above my computer.
- I bought Scrivener using that lovely 50% off NaNo code, and set it up to view two documents at once. I organized my binder so inside each “chapter” folder there was the ‘old’ version and the soon to be “new.” Basically, I typed the old one into the new, adjusting, re-writing and adding new scenes as I went.
- But then, My hard drive failed. Whenever I opened my laptop this happened: Thankfully, God seriously provided and I was able to get my laptop checked out, and purchase I new hard drive+RAM for it for less than it would have cost to send it somewhere. I rebooted from a two-week old backup and braced myself for the worst: It was awful. I’d lost chapters and chapters of my work.
- But then, I looked a little closer. There were more chapters left than I’d thought! I think God really used that crash because A) I got to upgrade my hard drive and RAM by myself and now my computer is faster, and B) my “dark night of the soul,” chapter, I felt, wasn’t what it should be, but being a stubborn mule, I didn’t want to change it. This forced me rewrite it in a totally different way, since it was gone, and my story is better off for it.
- So at the end of March I finished. A month later than my plan, sure, but plenty of plot holes were patched and things were smoother… If you’ve ever considered buying Scrivener, do it. It really helped make the process of: “Oh, that connects to that so I should change that…” a lot easier. Now my WIP makes slightly more sense than it did before. And it’s neatly organized.
So, probably not the most entertaining post. Since I’m still in the trenches of this second draft, I wanted some back ground to what I’ve already done before babbling about what I’m doing now, in the middle of this warzone.
Currently, I’m reading through it again and looking out for plot holes I might have missed. Perhaps then I’ll brave beta readers. Or *gasp* get my mother to read it.
Or perhaps I’ll just dig myself into a deep dark hole and never come out? Who knows.
Tell me, how did your first editing experience go? What things made it easier, or harder, for you to accomplish your goals?