A land forged from the fires of strife, blood of heroes, and touch of the gods.
Where deeds of great valor, vile evils, and blazing passions intertwine
to shape the course of elven and human history within.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Edit this!

Yes, I've been yelling that phrase at myself for the last couple of weeks.  The truth is, I'm a bit surprised I haven't started editing Kaanan's Way yet, so to set the stage, let me tell you a story...
This is the first manuscript I've written that I simply have no desire to start editing.  All three of the other books, once I had completed the second draft (basically editing-as-you-go), I couldn't wait to start tearing into the chapters and scenes and all the little details once again.  I nearly had to physically restrain myself on Secrets of the Second Sun (for example) by getting out of the house and away from the desk.  And not take my netbook.  It was crazy.  Of course, once I returned to the desk, I dove right in with reckless abandon and started hacking-and-slashing.
So why have I not had the screaming heebie-jeebies to start the process on this manuscript?  Let's analyze:
1.  It's perfect the way it is (not likely!).
2.  I'm much better now at keeping the "unnecessary stuff" out of the first draft, and catching a lot of it in the second (yes, but I'm not THAT good at it!).
3.  Too much real life intruding (a distinct possibility).
4.  I'm a bit burned out (ah, now we're getting somewhere).
OK; I've written three completed books (averaging 216,566 words; yes, I counted every one) and the Kaanan's Way manuscript (190,211 words in second draft) in less than seven years.  By the time this book is released (May 2012) I'll be working on number five, slated for release in 2014-15.  Then the sixth, and that will complete the novels in the series.  So by 2018 I will have written and published six books averaging 200,000 + words in about 13 years.  So I'm entitled to a bit of downtime at the midpoint, don'tcha think???
Here's the plan; first weekend in October, I promise (on record) I'll start the hardcopy slash-and-burn edit process.  Yes, I always do the S-and-B in hardcopy because I miss stuff on the computer screen when I'm in this phase.  And S-and-B is the most important part of editing because this is when I find out if I have the guts to take out all the neat little things I just HAD to put into the first draft. "Murder your darlings" as Stephen King said.  It's true, and if you want your book to be lean, mean, and more readable, every author learns this lesson at some point.  Or doesn't, and then can't figure out why the books don't sell.
So there you have it; I'm on break for another week, just clearing my head of all the character voices still muttering in the corners.  They grow calmer as time passes, understanding this is a necessary step, and if they want to come back later, they need to get some R&R as well.
So carouse at the campfire for a bit, raise a tankard or two at the tavern, just get the heck out of my mind for a little while and let my brain rest. 
I'll let you know when it's safe to go back in the water.


VROUK said...

Congratulations on your progress! I see you're using that trusty old firm for editing. I remember way back before young Mr. Burn was promoted to partner, back before old Hack was bought out. Good thing they changed, that old Hack was SO unprofessional. Good Luck

Rachel Ellyn said...

Awesome post on why a small "vacation" is entitled! 29 vacation days left, so use them well! LOL