January sure flew by fast.
When I finished my first draft in December, February seemed a loooong way away. Taking off January from all things writing seemed like a huge luxury. I would do ALL THE THINGS. Watch ALL THE TV. My brain would relax and veg out and come February be totally blank — a clean slate, ready to work.
But at the back of my brain it lurked. The ever-present story. Characters and plot and questions. It never truly left. It’s taken up residency and ignores the eviction notices.
Byron is currently reading the first draft — the first person to read it in its full, complete form. I am dying to ask him questions, ask him where he is, what’s happening what does he think — but I resist, because that’s not really fair to him as a reader. On the flip side, he doesn’t get to ask me questions at this point — he just reads it as it is. Any inconsistencies or errors or gaping holes can be pointed out after “The end” is reached. (Although he did tell me I somehow mixed up the first chapter of another book in there. Oops.)
So here we are, with February just around the corner. I said that come February 1 the revisions would begin, and I’m sticking to that. I realized the other day, though, that I don’t really know what I’ll be doing come February 1. I mean, editing, yes. But I’ve never undertaken an editing project this large before. The last book I wrote, I edited under the time crunch of NaNoWriMo — 30 days of intense editing — and while I do think the second draft is better than the first, it wasn’t enough. That editing job was haphazard and hacked together and clearly the work of someone without a plan. Hindsight makes clear that I had no idea what I was doing.
This time, I want a plan. I want strategic editing — I want revisions that enhance the story, make it tighter and leaner and stronger. So I’m doing my homework. This past week I’ve been reading up on editing from the pros — professional authors, published authors, the ones who’ve done this in the past and (in theory) know what they’re doing. I’m gathering up the best of the best, and on Thursday I’ll share my finds with you — with the hopes that I’ll get some clarity out of it, too.
Part of me doesn’t feel ready — part of me says I should take more time off, that my brain needs to decompress more. But another large part of me calls bullshit. It’s time to get back to business.