Last Minute Editing

The whole process of editing can feel like it goes on forever. At some point, after almost giving up several times there is the end. More to the point it’s an artificial end because this is where the draft is ready to hand off to someone else to check. There are a few things on my list for preparation before I hand anything over.

Checklist Before Handover

Each type of story will vary in what you need. I write fantasy so my list looks like this.

  1. Check names, terms and places.
  2. Ensure the master Glossary is complete (this is for the editor).
  3. Check all italics and unusual formatting.
  4. Check basic formatting such as numbering.
  5. Consider the size of the document and preferred format (my editor prefers paper copy).

Communication

It may feel like you are on your own when writing and with the initial stages of editing. This part is where communication is key. Make sure your editor has time allotted and is expecting the draft. Make sure to confirm your arrangements including time frames and expectations. By this stage you are probably so sick of editing that you can’t wait. This is all about letting a fresh set of eyes go over the work. Each story has its own nuances so keep an open mind and be prepared to make changes.

Each Book is Different

It’s surprising to think how different each story can be. At first the focus was solely on finding the ideal method to shorten the writing process. It would be nice the story wrote itself, but there is still hard work to be done. Figuring out them how left me trying several different ways to outline, write and keep track of time.

Each Stage

The first story was a meandering journey that led down several paths. It took a whole six years to write the first draft and I was determined to shorten this. The easiest book to write was the second, providing a false sense of optimism. The third was almost as quick, yet almost half needed to be rewritten. From there it took a long, sometimes frustrating path, working through the four story. I won’t lie, there were times when it would have been easier to leave the fourth book unfinished. What kept me going was the fact that it was part of a series.

Reaching the End

After spending so much time editing it was still a massive task to back and find story within the draft. The first draft took three years, far longer than I expected. Yet there were many obstacles between those years that prolonged the process. The story had also become complex. Characters had grown and changed. The story had a lot of heavy lifting to do to fit in with the development of the series. The stakes in the story had risen and it was time to wrap up loose ends. The journey moved in a different way. I can certainly say it was worth staying with the story until the end.

Too Much Plotting

When it’s hard to figure out how that wonderful first drafting plummeted into so much editing. It was time to look at the structure. I had agreat deal going on, introducing new characters and complicated scenes. It took a while to step back and figure out where to start. The story was there, but how could it be so much easier to see. I wasgetting nowhere. I pulled out the books on how to write for anyclues. Perhaps tackling a large battle scene had become too much. Self doubt was beginning to creep in.

Small Steps Forward

I sat down to work out what I had. Too many subplots running along and in the process the main story had been suffocated. Sometimes scenes have to go and this time it was characters that left. I had createdplenty of characters, but it felt odd removing some completely. Slowly whittling away at edges to bring the real story home. In between odd moments, I wondered if it was the right thing. If it would help to remove too much plot. As each part went, some characters fled to the background as others vanished all together. The story held and with every stage it grew stronger.

Keeping the Main Story

Somewhere between the beginning and near the end of editing the story had finished its tale. The fourth and last book in the series was almost complete. It’s been a long road, travelling with the main character Saranon. A reckless sorceress who was never meant to take the lead. Mitch, a wizard who had his own problems to face. Last of all, Katholomu, the great big clumsy dragon with a love for danger and flying straight into it. Saranon grew beyond the story, leading the way right to the end.

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