Editing the Novel

It started when I was the young age of (around) 15. I had a wonderful idea to mix time, gender, and magic. I wrote the first few chapters until the story fizzled out and I thought I couldn’t write a novel. This had been my second attempt to write something longer than just a few pages—I had failed miserably. Fast forward to February 2011, when my main character, Celeste, decided to wake me up from sleeping (why do they always go for the jugular instead of being a little nicer about it?), and told me to outline her book as she wanted it written—and she wanted me to read the drivel that had been written so long ago. Apparently having it sit in my brain for years was no longer going to happen.

Yeah, kinda like this…

It took me about 3-4 days to outline the book, if memory serves me (which it rarely does) and I was off and writing the book. I never thought that I would write this particular book. I had started a trilogy in 2006 that I had been struggling with: making notes, creating gods, magic systems, etc. and I was determined to finish writing them (only book one has been written—and it needs a lot of help!) and will one day.

It took me the better part of 2011 to write the novel. During National Novel Writing Month, I ran into a snag with my WIP of short stories—which will spawn a novella—and abandoned them for finishing up the last 20k or so of this book. I have sent it through critique groups from December to June. That was a lot of work and revision and thinking about the characters and story. I went through and made many many many suggested changes. Then, about two weeks ago, I read through the manuscript front to back in three days (making minor changes and notes here and there). My god, does reading through one’s own work hurt! After those terrible three days, I started line editing from the last page backward. 8 days later (Sunday to Sunday) I had the book line edited. 40 pages a day of notes and changes and frustration.

Then, this Monday, I sat down (I know, no respite from the deluge of words) and started working on the books from the front to the back. I have change the prologue to reflect the rest of the book, and I might say, it’s going very well. Chapter 1 was the next to fall victim. It’s surprising how many changes I’ve made to the work, and that those very changes are the words I like best on the page—it means I’m writing better, and have better instincts.

Through this whole process, I’ve come to two stunning insights. One, that a minor character will become a spy and two, that a major character and a minor character will merge to make a nice plot/love twist—false identities can be useful!

Now, I just need to sift through the rest of the book, adding in plot elements and of course more imagery!

I hope your writing fares well!

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