… Then editing it is an ultramarathon combined with ironman in the desert. Three times over. At least.
I’m two weeks into editing now, or to be precise: into the first phase of the editing journey. I’ve read through the entire thing.
First, there was relief: It doesn’t suck.
Then at about the middle of it, I started to cringe: When did I lose track of what the characters’ names were? And back stories, anyone? Timeline and logics as of all the things that could happen to a main character in a few weeks? And why did half the population in my story have stupid Italian names, when it wasn’t happening anywhere nearby the Soth?
And now that I’m done, well… I’m still more or less sure it doesn’t suck too much. There are a few chapters that I’ll have to rewrite entirely, as they simply don’t make any sense in the flow of the story.
But… And this is a big BUT… I don’t have a clue as to how to actually start the real job and the more I think of it, the more I realize that these two weeks have been a round on a jolly fairground game compared to what’s about to come.
Of course, if I had had a better scheme in mind or, even better, written down beforehand, all of this would have been easier. Or if at least the characters had been drafted out with correct names, background story and specifics, that would have been a treat.
But, as it happens to be, I didn’t do any of that. Well, that’s not completely true: I had about a gazillion different schemes and plots and plans in all the colours that pantone has to offer, but it was of no use. Once I was through, I didn’t like the looks of it, became overwhelmed with self-doubt and stuck it all away.
All of this has cost me let’s say 3 years of procrastination. Yep. 3 years. And one day I decided to just write, 1000 words a day, then 2000, until in the end I managed to do 5000 words 5 times a week. It wouldn’t always be the best prose, but the story went on an on, and somehow, it wrote itself and became at times independant, like a child you care for and accompany from its first steps through childhood, adolescence and all the way to being a young adult, ready to take off for its own adventure, out of your control.
So, I can’t really say I regret my way of working but somehow, I really really hope what everyone says about your writing getting better by writing is true, and that by the time I start the next novel, I won’t produce pages that will need this much care afterwards.
And though I know I can be proud of having put those 150 000 words on paper (because many dream of it but never actually see it through), I finally see that what everyone has said about editing: it sucks, it is scary, depressing and all of your worst nightmares together. Ok, maybe that’s a tiny bit over the top.