Friday, May 11, 2012

How to edit your first book...

Yes, everyone, hurray to the power of a hundred, I got my edits! Another exciting moment in the journey to publishing my first book. (Will it be in your house? Certainly. I will creep in and put it there.)

And so will she. She's on my payroll.

So, editing. It's a strange process. I sold the book in September, and after thinking about it almost 24 hours a day for the two years up to that point, I'd pretty much put it aside. My thoughts, naturally, had turned to the second book. And then, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, without any warning at all, I have to work on that other thing again?

This actually turns out to be a marvellous system. Almost as if it had been tried and tested over centuries. For the first time in years I can actually SEE THE BOOK!

She can see it too!

I can hear phoney bits, and bits where I'm trying to be hard to be literary (hurl) and creaky plot directing. In fact, so far I've enjoyed editing a lot. That's not to say I haven't also played an extraordinary amount of table tennis, washed everything I own and rearranged my bedroom, but overall, editing good!

It helped that the edit was light. This unnerved me initially. I was hoping my lovely editor might magic my book into SKELLIG or JUNK but I've come to terms with the notion that this is better. This means the writing must be pretty solid. The revisions I did with my agent, and all that other stuff, before any publishers saw it is paying off.

So, anyway, yes. Editing good! I have come up with ways to deepen elements of the story, complexified characters and deleted sentences trying a little too hard. I have no doubt that when the book comes out there will be things I want to change, but that is the nature of having an imagination. It doesn't give up.

How do you feel about editing your work? Do you dread it? And how do you cope with hearing feedback? Maybe editing is your favourite part of the writing process? I would love to hear from you.