Self editing - how do you know when enough is enough?
ninah · 09/08/2010 22:40
Well thanks to some good advice on here (thanks litchick) I pushed through the pain barrier and finished a first draft. With fat to be trimmed, which is great. I am now engaged with the editing and it has to be said this seems like breaking stones. Bits read OK bits make me cringe. Some areas have emerged which need more material, some have gone into the bin. I am setting aside at least an hour a day and sticking to it. The aim is to produce a working second draft. The question is, although you can undoubtedly improve work by revision, you can also lose the freshness if you overdo it. So I am just wondering - is there a point in a novel when you can write 'the end' and really mean it?
With painting you definitely get this moment, it's hard to spot, and sometimes you only spot it when you've missed the turn off. Working with paint is such a different discipline though, where hit miss can trump incremental toil.
It doesn't help I suppose that I have just re-read the Dubliners and I could spend the rest of my life trying to find one sentence as pristine.
anyone editing tips? if it's hurting it should be working, right?!
Litchick · 23/08/2010 12:32
Have been away, which is why I didn't respond.
From personal experience I would say there is never a point when I think my books are done. I could tinker forever.
I am and have never been 100% happy with the end product.
But I know too many writers who are still banging away on their baby, some ten yeras later. Hopeless.
So my advice would be to set yourself a deadline. Then decide how to appraoch the editing.
My first swipe is always a full read through to see if the book as a whole works, making notes of any structural/large changes.
Then sleep on it. Then make em.
Next I take a swipe for voice. Because I write in multiple POVs, I want each voice to be distinct and constant.
Finally, I take a swipe for writing.
Then I'm done. I send it to my editor and let him be the judge after that.
ninah · 24/08/2010 13:09
thanks v much indeed
hoping to finish draft 2 by end of the summer hols, is definitely improving ... slowly
I should finish by the end of the year
ninah · 29/08/2010 22:44
I don't know how Stephen King etc write for hours on end
I keep having to come up for air
dc with their dad and have shut myself away to do this
how do full time writers stay sane?
GrendelsMum · 02/09/2010 10:36
It is gruelling, isn't it?
I've set myself a deadline of having a fully working, readable 2nd draft by the end of October, when DH is going to read it for the first time. Then it's going to be put away for a month, while I write a first draft of something else.
It's going fairly slowly at the moment, but definitely getting better.
ninah · 02/09/2010 14:01
good luck grendelsmum! I am at the point of giving it to readers now, I am asking the bluntest people I know. Good on you starting something else. I have a vague idea for the next one, but I can't start til this is finished as far as it can be. Am heartily sick of it now - is this normal d'you think?
Litchick · 03/09/2010 09:02
Yes Ninah - it is completely normal to detest everything about your book and have no sense of whether it's any good or not.
I often dream of killing off characters who are getting on my tits.
That's why it's imperative ( for me at least ) to have a cut off date, when I just release the thing. If it works and my ed likes it then great, if not, at least I'll be free to do summat else.
ninah · 03/09/2010 18:37
Thank god for that litchick! thanks so much for all your advice and reassurance it has helped immensely
crossing is and dotting ts now ...
ninah · 24/09/2010 21:25
Ok I have given it to two readers and one more to come. They are making notes and comments. One is in her 70s and I am hoping she will not choke on her ovaltine - after I posted it I realised there is quite a lot of bad language and, well, general badness.
At the same time I have sent the beginning chapters to a bunch of agents. Posting it is making me feel quite sick. Detest is the appropriate word litchick, and I want it off and away so I can start something fresh. I can edit in the light of my readers' comments but I have nothing else left to give this one. This is my fourth novel in four years by the way. I tell myself there is improvement ....
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