Editing Challenge Check-in: Update on the insanity

So, 50 hours of editing in 30 days? Ya, it’s a lot. It’s crazy. I easily spent more than 50 hours writing during NaNoWriMo, but there’s a difference. For months before last NaNo I was telling people that I wouldn’t even exist for that month. *poof* Nicole, gone from the face of the planet. I lived, ate, slept and breathed NaNo for those 30 days. This month…. not so much. I didn’t get any time in on the first weekend, and hardly any this past weekend. So I’m a bit behind now. But that doesn’t matter. There’s still a chance, in theory at least, that I will catch up and still reach that goal of 50 hours by the end. That doesn’t matter either. The point of it all is that I am dedicating a significant amount of time to editing my novel. Whatever the numbers, I’m doing that, so it counts as a win.

It got off to a slow start. I had not looked at my novel since I finished it in November. Six months. Getting some space from the first draft is important before moving over into editing. Six months is maybe a little too long. It was a challenge to shift from short fiction into novel mode. I started to question the sanity of this already insane challenge. But slow and steady wins the race, and this challenge is all about injecting some much needed reflection and quality into my offering to the NaNo god that is Quantity.

The first step: taking stock of what’s there. I created a spreadsheet with a short description of every scene in my novel and made notes about what needs to be trashed, reworked or “What the hell was I thinking?” It raised a lot of questions, like is anything happening in this scene, is it moving the plot forward, where is the tension, and how do I add all of these things? Tough questions in daunting numbers. Good questions. There’s a lot of work to be done and it will be a while before I will let some beta-readers set eyes on this story. For a moment, the amount of work to be done was overwhelming. But those questions also unveiled the potential to make this story so much better. That’s exciting. And the ideas start rolling in.

The past few days have involved a lot of rethinking and re-plotting. I’ve been going through the scenes in that spreadsheet and trying to answer those questions. There’s a character to add, scenes to cut, others to write and characters to kill. (I can see the influence hanging around with Marie has had.) No spoilers about who though! Soon it’ll be time to shift gears again and start putting all these new ideas and changes onto paper… computer… we’re not counting the 30 some pages of notes on all these changes and options.

On we go.

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