I’m glad I have reached the point where I can edit my latest novel – (still untitled,) because it means that the body of it is complete. However editing is a chore, it’s a grind, it’s seemingly endless.
When I mention what I’m doing, people aren’t exactly clear what I mean – yes I go through and check for errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and those annoying typos where you write the same word twice or for some bizarre reason choose a write a completely ridiculous word instead of the one you want. This can be a their/there sort of mistake when you actually know the correct word but your fingers write the wrong one, or it can be nonsensical – ‘he wore a pair of fine green kippers’ instead of ‘he wore a pair of fine green slippers’.
There are other less obvious errors – changing the colour of someone eyes, calling someone Arnold instead of Trevor as I discovered this evening, making factual errors, or forgetting what season the action is happening in – or the day of the week. There are convoluted sentences, sometimes through punctuation errors, sometimes muddled thinking, sometimes who knows why!
Then there are the other things – the story lines which were started but go nowhere, the characters who appear constantly until halfway through when they’re never mentioned again, the lack of description of a place when later it becomes crucial the reader should know there’s a cave, a window, a barn or a small copse.
One of my pet hates is repetition, using the same word in consecutive sentences for no reason apart from carelessness – and using those little words like ‘just’, ‘almost’, ‘also’ – I hardly dare mention how many ‘justs’ I got rid of!
As I’ve mentioned before – I overwrite, I put in far too much detail, I have far too long conversations, I gild the lily umpteen times, I get carried away with some aspect of the story and write reams about something which is actually only worth a short paragraph, or I set off on a subplot which doesn’t fit and should be excised immediately it’s spotted.
Less is certainly more, slim and lean, make every word count – I know these things, but when I wrote, I just write. Now I’m working hard to refine and rewrite… It’s worth it, I know but it just takes so long and it’s so unremitting!!
Maybe tomorrow I’ll get inspired about the title…