This week, threatened as recently as last week, I launched into the third draft of my constantly-in-progress novel. This is the phase where I trawl through the entire text of the book, picking at individual words and trying to get it to the stage where I’m willing to share it with my elite team of beta readers.
ASIDE: If you want to join said elite team, email me and volunteer, or contact me using any other method available to you. All viable humans considered, especially those able to read a book in 1-2 months and provide feedback more detailed than “Yeah, it was okay.” Beta reading likely to commence in early-to-mid June.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. I launched into the editing process, and quickly settled on a method. For more details on said method and its implications for my location, read on…
Editalactus – Mincer Of Words
In a bid to give the words a thorough beating, my “third pass” will actually consist of three passes – one in the cafe with music on, picking at the language and doing any final bits of continuity straightening necessary. After that, I read the whole thing out – yes, with my voice at full volume – which usually serves to find clunky phrasings and stupid repeated words.
Last of all, I run this version through the Hemingway web app, which I think I’ve mentioned here before. This provides one last suggestion of overlong clunky sentences, letting me snip a few more chunks away.
So, that’s what I’m doing. I have nearly a hundred thousand words to feed through this mincer, and in the last week, I’ve managed a third of the novel. Not bad. Probably helps that I’ve spent three whole days in that time doing almost nothing else.
With this in mind, I might be on track to finish by the end of the month, then I can get some opinions and work out how much more work is needed. Must admit, I’ve already found myself eyeing up some bigger changes to the first third, but I’m tempted to let a few other people read it first. Be good to finally get a wider view on this thing rather than keep picking and picking.
Sit still, you idiot.
The down-side of the above-described editing process: I can’t do all of it in the cafe. Specifically, the part where I read out the text to myself. Doesn’t really work in public, people give you odd looks.
For a year or so now, I’ve basically done all my writing in the same Walthamstow cafe. Working at home just hasn’t been productive for me, I’m too prone to wandering off and procrastinating. But I’ve had to force myself through it this time, and although there are still a few hours that got lost in the whirl of talking to myself, the job is getting done.
Maybe one day, I’ll be able to work at home when I don’t have to. Might save me a few quid on coffee, at least.
So yeah, it’s getting done. When I laid out the target of finishing this edit by the end of May, I thought I was being self-punishingly optimistic, but perhaps not? We’ll see if this progress continues in subsequent weeks, I suppose.
WRITEBLOG EDITORIAL ANNOUNCEMENT
You may note I’ve stopped numbering my blogs about writing, as there was more or less no point. Sorry to anyone upset by this. I’m a slave to public approval, so feel free to argue the case for numbering in the comments…