Tuesday, March 16, 2010

First draft to second draft to third draft

I am making good progress on the editing front. I have now edited the first 267 pages of the story (there are 408 in total). The question that bothers me is: when does a second draft become a third draft?

At the moment I am going through the story with a nice red pen, taking out chunks of text, or tidying them up. In the margins, I ask myself questions such as: If Character A thinks this, is it reflected later on? In some cases I answer these questions, in others I wait until I will re-write those scenes that need it. So when I have completed this process for the entire book and made the amendments on the computer, does that constitute a second draft? Or will it only be once I have inserted the re-writes too?

As I write this, it has occurred to me the answer is obviously the latter of the two. Only when I have the story completely finished will that be the second draft. Still you can see the workings of the mind of a virgin editor.

The other thing that has struck me over the past week is how much I am actually enjoying the story. There are times (and this is going to sound unbelievably corny), where I actually forgot I was editing and just enjoyed the story. I really hope others get that sense of enjoyment.

Finally, a lot of authors talk about the editing stage of writing as a completely separate process to the creative side. I couldn’t agree more. When I was writing the book my mind was going ten to the dozen as I desperately typed the story as it unfolded in my head. I could easily sit and type non stop for two hours at a time. With editing, I just can’t do that. At most I have to do it in half hour chunks before my brain becomes fried with all the analysing. I find myself taking long breaks in between until I am ready to return to it. This is fine I guess, as long as I am disciplined enough to come back to it!!

Editing tip 2: Be disciplined, but know when your brain is fried.