So, I got past the first hurdle. I wrote the first draft of a novel.
But this isn’t new news.
The new news is about the editing.
Yes, I’m editing. Before I started writing the first draft, I hadn’t really spent much time considering the processes involved. I’d written and edited short stories before, but never something this big. I just sat down and started writing, and for the most part, let the words spill straight from my brain all over my keyboard and splash happily into the word document. Every now and then I slapped them into line, but the main target, initially, was to get something down. That’s the point; to get something down. Make it the best you can, just don’t stop. You can’t make something better if it doesn’t exist in the first place.
But editing is where you’ve got to start being critical, re-reading the manuscript and cutting and burning anything that doesn’t work. All those dodgy adverbs or crazy long sentences that don’t make any sense anymore because, now that you think about it, you were pissed on absinthe when you typed them. They’ve all got to go. Or at least change.
And that’s the hard part. The initial rush and buzz of creating something entirely new has faded, the hangover from the celebratory-first-draft-completion-drinks has gone, and now it’s down to the nitty and the gritty stuff. And it’s fun, just for me, harder.
I’m getting there; read through the whole thing (which luckily didn’t make me cringe with horror at how poor it was!), made the minor edits, noted down where some more major changes need to happen. Some sections of dialogue need a few hefty changes, and the first ever reader (thanks to my fiancé) is helping point out areas that need tweaking.
So it’s happening; the first draft is becoming the second (or maybe third) draft. Soon it will be ready to head out into the world.
The process is taking a little longer than anticipated, partly due to the fact that I keep getting distracted by new ideas and writing up short stories or drafting out longer pieces. But it is getting there.
So to describe the editing feeling I get, that feeling of ruthlessly cutting and hacking away, I made a desktop wallpaper (that’s not procrastination, honest, sir) – and you can have it for free. It’s all jagged shapes and colours, spikey, splintery fingers. It’s also probably what my editing brain looks like.
As always, right click the image above and save it to your computer to use as a free desktop wallpaper (1440×900). Let me know if you want a different size and I’ll add it to the post.
How do you get through your edits? Do you have a system? Do you do loads of edits, or once it’s down never touch it again? Would love to see your thoughts and tips in the comments below.
Now… where was I… ah, page 64, meet my cutty-cutty-choppy-choppy-editing face, we’ll get on just fine…
Want more? You can find all my desktop wallpaper designs, all available for free, right here.