May 26, 2011

Editing a novel

The (almost) endless task.
There was a bit of magical thinking in my approach to writing a novel. For whatever reason, I never considered how difficult it would be to get the book into final form. The novel I've been working on is fairly large. Xmas Carol is over 400 pages printed as a Word doc (and 210,000 words, if that means anything to you). In other words it's not War and Peace but it's not short, either.

The amount of effort I eventually put into Xmas Carol is (not was, is) a shock to me. Writing the book was easy, a walk in the park. Afterward, I had this notion that somehow the book would shape up. I didn't know how; it just would -- as if this would simply happen on its own.

Short version: nothing magical ever happens in life (and there's a lesson in this!). I had make it happen myself. I must have edited the book 13 or more times, and now as I reach the end of the road with Xmas Carol, I'm amazed at the effort it took to produce it. I guess I shouldn't be, but I am.

That's all I want to say, just phew. This the first time I've done this -- really completed a book, I mean -- so this is still a learning process for me. The lesson seems to be this: writing a book means rewriting it for a long time after you "finish" it. Note to self: expect this going forward.

Any writers out there editing their own fiction? I feel like I'm in a club where I haven't met the other members. Working writers, wouldn't it be nice to visit a blog each day and sound off about your work? Why not do that here? Tell me how your writing day is going. Are you in the process of writing a book? Editing one? Feel free to cheer or complain about being a writer. All comments are welcome.

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