Monday, 9 April 2012

The Big Edit

Raining on cue
This weekend was Easter which, in the UK, means a very long holiday weekend; Friday to Monday. Two days off work and lots of chocolate. Bliss. Of course it's usually raining...

Normally we visit one grandparent or the other, organise an Easter Egg hunt at home and visit a Stately Home (preferably National Trust, good to use that membership) to do another one where we don't actually know where all the hiding places are. Then we eat chocolate until we feel sick and start to wish that Lent came after Easter. Like nearly every other family with primary school aged children in the UK.

Not this year. Well, for my family it was. My OH took the daughter over to his dad's where, I believe, Easter Egg hunts, stately home visits and over eating of the sweet stuff happened right on cue. I waved them off Saturday morning having given them strict instructions not to return until teatime Monday. I was going to start the Big Edit.

Six months after I wrote Chapter One for NV11, three months after I stopped faffing about with the middle of Chapter Two and started to write it in earnest, 53,000 words and several crises later I had finished the first draft. I wrote a two page synopsis, sent it to my CPs and celebrated with a RIVA binge read.

I was going to edit it this weekend.

Things never work out as planned. Sure, I spent three, long days and all of one evening at the computer. But it wasn't an edit. It turned out to be a total rewrite. 20,8000 words 4 1/2 chapters later I have deleted more words than I care to think about, lost one character, two scenes and changed the story completely. Chapters one and four are completely new, two and three are half new and it looks as if five is being rewritten more than I intended. Plus there is a whole new scene to be added.

So I am not smugly printing out my NWS entry. I still have a LOT of work to do, another 30,000 words to write and edit, followed by the 2nd edit. But it's a stronger, better story for it. For the first time I feel like I really know my characters inside out - and I adore them, both of them.I can't wait to finish this rewrite.

If only I could pack my family off for a week so I could get it finished!


Lynda Renham said...

Deleting large chunks is to be admired. It is something I find almost impossible to do. I am full of admiration. I am having to do something similar with new novel. Under pressure to do it in fact.
Well done. x

Alexandra said...

It hurts to delete and re-write. The faffing and fiddling with a chapter seemingly endlessly is soul destroying. But when you get that breakthrough it is so worth it. I love your characters too and can't wait to read the whole novel.

Doris O'connor said...

Sounds like you had a very productive weekend! Got to love breakthroughs even if they can be painful :-)