The fun stuff

So I mentioned that getting through that first edit was like being in a dentists chair, yeah? I’ve got more to add, but this time I promise it’s good!

I started something new with my process. Editing a short story is easy, it’s all about tightening, stripping and repainting the picture until it’s right. It’s the same with something longer only you have to keep up the same stamina through the entire length. This has been the most challenging thing for me, because on a whole, my manuscript is huge (close to 95,000 words). I don’t have any experience doing this as a huge whole thing. It’s not like they teach this sort of thing at uni, which is sort of disappointing, but anyway! I’ve decided to make this work a lot easier for myself.

In my consultation with my mentor she mentioned I could stand to lose about 20,000 words that is just overwriting, I didn’t believe her (of course) but going back and looking at it as i broke down everything, but by bit, I can see that she’s right. After finishing On Writing by Stephen King I realised I can kill all of the adverbs ever AND get rid of all of the stuff that just doesn’t need to be there. My other issues is that in the first part of my novel there are a lot of concepts that I seem to forget more than half way through. (I blame the fact that I wrote this over the course of nearly a year and a bit and seemed to forget that original details or things I have changed!) So my challenge is adding them through the entirety of the manuscript and adding the big, huge change that will turn the entire book on it’s head.

I’m a little scared about actually doing this. I got told I’m making Lucy out to be a Mary Sue character and that’s not okay, I have to strip back one of her titles and it’s probably the one that will hurt the most. She is strong now, stronger than I realised but she will not be able to try and fix this dilemma. Not in the way she wants. So writing it will be harder for me too, because I love her, I love the way she is and I’m going to have to change that to get anywhere. And it’s going to hurt.

My process I’m trying out is breaking down my novel into the chapters and then focusing on them and not much else. I have post it notes for each of my main characters, the plot, what needs fixing and anything that I will add. The next thing I’m doing is summarising what is in each chapter and what I will be adding to it. This is purely so that when I’m done with all of my noting I can go back and see just what exactly is happening and what needs joining up and what else I can change around. It’s essentially all about being able to look at the bigger picture instead of just narrowing it all down.

This is what it’s spanning out to look like. So far I’ve done the first row and that’s where I’m going to stop until I can get more into it. Well, more into the rewriting anyway.


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Does anyone else have issues with trying to draft a larger piece? If so how do you approach it? I’m all about learning different ways to do this. Shout it out to me.

Mandi is a writer, reader, dreamer and is breaking procrastinating inner editors, one at a time.

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