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Archive for March, 2013

Are we nearly there yet? The never-ending journey of editing

Surely every parent’s heart has sunk when, in the first half hour of a long journey, the child in the back of the car has asked, “Are we nearly there yet?”

In the past few months, I have felt exactly like that child, as I’ve edited my latest book.  It’s taken so much longer than I thought.  There were big changes to be made, which meant taking out a whole story strand and finding something to replace it.  Twice I thought I’d done the spade work and got something which would work, and twice, when I got to the nitty gritty, I discovered it wouldn’t do.  I wanted to be nearly there, when actually, I’d not gone that far from the drive-way.

I think part of the problem was that I couldn’t tell how far away the end was.  I knew where I was going – or at least where I would end up.  But I wasn’t sure of the route and I certainly didn’t know how long it was going to take me.

It wasn’t that the journey was all unpleasant either.  I saw lots of new things through the car window – I discovered things about my characters and the story that I hadn’t known before and new adventures popped up begging to be written in.  But there was also a lot of going round and round the same roundabout, wondering which exit was the right one.  And several times I came to a dead end and had to re-trace my steps.

And now – well, now, I really am “nearly there”.  A few minor edits after my big read-through remain to be written up. And then?  Well, the truth is, I don’t think I ever get to my final destination.  Even in published work, I can see things which could have been changed, continuity errors, or sentences which could be rewritten.  Truly, a writer’s work is never done…