Anyone who has followed this blog for any length of time has no doubt had to listen to a few of my rants about my dislike for the editing process. Dear friends like Heather and the Traveler get to listen to it even more in phone calls and emails. It's no secret: I hate editing and I wish novels could just be perfect the first time around.
But, alas, it doesn't work that way, and so I am left with the humongously overwhelming task of editing Draft 1 of my novel, Son of The Shield--all 108,642 words of it (as of last count at 1:00 this afternoon). Yes, it is a huge novel.
These days, editors seem to want stories that top out at 100k max, and with that in mind I'm trying desperately to reduce my word count. Unfortunately, I keep finding and being informed by friends of all these scenes I need to add to clarify and develop things. So far I've only come across two scenes in the entire novel that need to be cut.
However, aside from those little problems, I have actually started making great progress with editing, for the first time since finishing Draft 1 at the end of December!
Since there's a lot of clarifying and explaining to be done throughout the novel, I'm focusing on streamlining as a way of reducing word count right now. It can get frustrating, taking down the word count 1 and 2 words at a time, but it makes for better quality, so I'm glad to do it.
And, the big thing that has (finally) kick-started my editing: I have finally managed to nail down my main character in my head! I know it sounds crazy, to have been working on a novel for three-and-a-half years and to just now be able to really grasp a character's (especially the main one) essence, but it's the truth.
I've had trouble with this character from the beginning--everything from understanding his thought processes and feelings, to simple things like being able to picture his face clearly in my head. I've had recurring dreams of being in the world where SOTS takes place, running in circles trying to get a look at this character's face, and he keeps turning away from me. No joke. Needless to say, this created a major problem when it came time to develop his character and write the dialogues, thought sequences, and scenes that he starred in. I managed to bungle my way through a blurry and disheveled Draft 1 in spite of it all, and since I was my only critic at the time I could let myself get away with it. But then came the critiques from my cohorts, Heather, LoriAnn, and Katrina. And they weren't letting me get away with anything. They dragged me, kicking and screaming, to face the awful truth: my main character needed to be more solid, more developed. But no matter how I tried, he just wouldn't seem to come to life like the other characters.
Until last week, that is!
I am absolutely ecstatic that Sorek has finally come to life in my mind! Now I can picture his physical appearance perfectly, and I understand his personality at a very deep level. And to make matters even better--he's really cool!
I'm really not sure what triggered the change and made him finally come to life for me, but I can tell you that it is making editing SOOO much easier! Instead of feeling like I'm dragging my main character around and forcing him to act out scenes like a marionette, I'm watching him take charge of his own scenes and live out the story like he's supposed to. Draft 2 is finally underway and rolling... and I'm beginning to think that this might actually shape up to be a pretty good story!