I said I’d blog about what it was like to self-edit this first Nanowrimo novel, so here goes.
I left it until April 2014 to look at the story. I re-read the story, then made a 3 page list of page number references and things to fix. Then I wrote an additional 7k sorting out some things about the fantasy world of the angels I’d created, added in some stuff about the main character’s best friend, so she was more of a 3d character, added in some description to some of the scenes (I tend to write less description than needed in early drafts as I hate novels with pages and pages of description, I just want dialogue and to move the story along) and I added in some more emotions to the scene I’ll call ‘the night’ as I don’t want to spoil the plot.
This was editing on my own, without an editor, and without any beta readers seeing it. This was hard, as it was writing new bits, scattered throughout the existing story. This is difficult for me as it’s hard to post it note plan a little paragraph in the middle of another scene. This 7k probably took more than 14hrs to write. This whole phase took 2 weeks.
Then in August the manuscript went to Elin Gregory, one of my wonderful beta readers, and she came back with a load more comments and suggestion for changes.
I went through and fixed any of the little suggestions Elin had given.
My part in this took an evening.
I re-read it and made a list of the main areas needing fixing: a big gap of more than 100 pages without any angels at all (I know, how on earth did I miss that?); the main character was not really happy about something, which made the climax of that part less of a climax; there was a lot of page time with a character who wasn’t pivotal to the main romance story.
I spent 2 weeks fixing these points: adding in regular angelic scene in the big gap; made the main character really happy, when before he’d been a big meh; I wrote as a separate new document the 14k of new scenes I’d planned with the main character and the romantic lead; I cut the bits with the non-pivotal character (putting them into a separate document as it felt better than just cutting it and losing it altogether. Doubt I’ll use it again, but you never know).
Then using my little bits of paper method, I put the new 14k in amongst the remaining bit of the main document, I took another week to read through it again for consistency errors, and knock on effects the new 14k had on the main manuscript (which added another 3k words!) and now it’s gone to Love Lane Books to be added to the editing queue.
Was that any worse or better than editing my non Nanowrimo novels?
It was the most cuts I’ve had to do, but I totally saw why that stuff needed to go.
It’s less of an edit than I’ve done on some other novels, and more of an edit than I’ve done on others. So basically *shrugs* who knows. Pretty unscientific I know, but what I’ve taken is the amount of editing depends more on the story, than whether I wrote it in Nanowrimo or not.
A lot of the fixes were about the world of the angels I’d created. Could they do this? What was the rule I said about them at the start? What did the handbook have to say on that point? This is the first fantasy novel I’ve ever written. With contemporary there’s no ‘rules’ to remember, it’s real life, and that’s it. With the angels I had a whole new set of rules and norms to remain consistent throughout the story. Next time I’d keep a separate document for these rules. *note to self*
Am I doing Nanowrimo again this year?
I have two more novels on the rota for first draft writing in 2014, one in October and one in December (I’ve been alternating months so I can have the other months ‘off’ for edits and promo of other stories.) So at this stage I don’t know if I will Nanowrimo 2014 or not.
Have you had any Nanowrimo learning you’ve used afterwards?
Was editing your Nanowrimo novel a real hot mess, and worse than your normally written novels?
I’d love to hear from you,
Until next time,
Liam Livings xx