Today was the third day of the Clarion Write-a-Thon, and I made some really good progress, as I finished editing the first chapter and began the second.
And then I went back and made some more edits to the first.
It happens. I think of changes after the fact, or after making changes later in the story, I need to backtrack. The trick to editing is to know when to stop. It reminds me of an old animation saying, “You are never finished, you are just out of time.”
Running out of time is key to remember–I need, or rather want, the final edit done by August 4th. I have 29 chapters to go after finishing the first (the chapters are short, only about 2,500 words, give or take), so I can’t spend a whole week editing just one.
Today’s biggest changes were rewriting dialogue in some key early scenes, changing a few character things, and cutting some wordy paragraphs completely. One such paragraph in particular pertained to the hero finding tracks belonging to a creature. I had a lengthy, joke-filled paragraph about the creature coming from another plane of existence, how bad the place was, what it looked like, and so on.
I cut 59 words and instead just referenced the villain as ‘a demon of some kind.’ Fifty-nine words down to five. ‘Demon’ is a strong enough word to give people an idea of what the hero is up against. I am working on letting readers fill in the gaps when it comes to descriptions with this draft.
A favorite trick of mine is stop while I am on a roll, when the changes/ideas are flowing. That way, I am eager to get back to the story later. After putting in my hour, and a little bit more (spread out over a few different work periods), I stopped. This is good for two reasons:
First, as I said, I will be chomping at the bit to get back to work tomorrow (always a plus).
Second, I can let the changes settle and it helps me to move forward, instead of rereading the same page over and over just to change a word or two.
I originally wasn’t going to write an update tonight, but then my Internet decided to start working again, so I figured I better use this as an excuse to make sure it is back to its usual self.
On to Day 4.
Daniel J. Hogan always chomping and/or champing at the bit. Especially if there are 8-bits. Follow him on Twitter, @danieljhogan.