Well, as Mark Twain said, reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated. Well, not so much my death but the fact that I shamefully haven’t done any updates for quite a while. For that I apologise. I seriously admire those bloggers who can submit new posts multiple times a week, not just that but actually have something interesting to say.
I’ll try to be better. Promise.
I’ve spent the last four weeks doing the final revision on book one (as in the final, final, final one. That’s it – no more, it’s finished!). Now I know I first starting writing this one more or less a year ago, but it’s only recently that I knew I had to do a final revision on it. I took it slow and read no more than a couple of pages a couple of times a day and edited those. That meant I wasn’t actually getting involved in the story and concentrated more on the words on the page rather than what I thought the words on the page should say. It must have worked since the verdict from my long-suffering wife reviewing those all important first few chapters was ‘much better’.
And it’s at the end of this process that I realised something. I love writing, I find it relaxing, I just let the words flow from my fingers onto the page and the satisfaction felt as you type the last sentence is immense.
What I hate, loathe, despise is editing. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the first read through the initial draft or the final cut. Hate it. With a passion. It’s not relaxing, quite the opposite in fact, it’s actually quite stressful. The problem is, it’s not like reading a book (which is also relaxing), it’s like work. A necessary evil admittedly, but it’s still like work. I have to write and correct documents at work, most run to a few pages so to have to do the same thing with something I crafted should be pleasurable, but no.
I’m not sure what I find the most frustrating though. Is it the fact that I know I’m going to have to read through 300 pages/90,000 words that I know back to front already (story wise) or the fact that I know full well I’ll read it back and find so many errors it just makes you want to scream. Not just typo errors (which Word does pick up and amend – there’s nothing more pleasing than a page of text that doesn’t have red or green squiggly lines under half a dozen words), but those absolutely screaming off the page errors where the meaning of a sentence is either ambiguous or downright wrong. You probably know what I mean.
I have to admit that putting the book aside for a while has helped, as has reading it in small chunks (someone even suggested at one point reading it backwards – hey, it worked for them) but even then it seems like a chore. Especially considering the second book (410 pages) is now screaming at me to do the same. And the final part of the trilogy is screaming to be finished. I think I’ll edit the second first and then go back to writing otherwise I’ve only got revision to look forward to.
As an additional complication I’ve just handed my finished manuscript over to ‘target audience’ since one of the guys at work has kindly offered the services of his daughter to read it. That will be interesting feedback since everyone else who has read it is not target. I’ve asked for honest feedback and I’m sure I’ll get it – as I pointed out to him though, from my point of view ‘Epic Fail’ would be if she says to him ‘Dad, I’m on page 4 and it’s pants. Please don’t make me read the rest’
I’m confident that won’t happen, but as with anything you never know.
I’ll keep you posted.