Remember how I said I HATE EDITING? Like… a lot?
Well, I’ve found myself faced with a deadline for a submission, so I’m finally getting off my lazy-creative, busy-as-all-get-out butt, and am working on editing a novel I wrote just under a year ago.
Now, I love this novel. A lot. I love the content, I love the plot, I love the concept, everything. It’s new, it’s exciting, it’s a genre blend and I don’t have to worry about political correctness, or with censoring myself, and there’s no way that it could be misconstrued as a YA novel. (Which is a joke and is better left off unexplained until another blog post because I don’t feel like going on a tangent about THAT can of worms right now.) And I’ve been sitting on this particular gem for almost a year, so I’m pretty detached from the world I so frantically built. (Normally, I like to edit immediately, but that was out of the question for this one, which is, again, another story for another time.)
Anyway, the first draft — because that’s what it currently is — ended up at about 77,000 words. I was honestly impressed with that number, and wondered how many of those words would need to be cut when I edited. (So far, I haven’t cut any, but there’s probably around 20,000 that need to be completely rewritten.) Then I found out that the submission guidelines are looking for 80-90,000 words but would consider works with less than that.
Okay, so 3000 words to make it to the minimum number isn’t a lot, in fact, it’s a number that I’m strangely comfortable with.
But if you know me, you know that I’m a bit of an over-achiever.
I decided to aim to add about 15,000 more words to the manuscript because, why not? My only question was “where do I put all those new words?”
So naturally, I fretted about it, and fretted about it, and sent myself into a mini panic attack and then figured out where to put all those extra words in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep.
I decided that I would take my book’s plot and split it into three sections, plus a prologue and an epilogue. (Because I love prologues. It’s like a film teaser that warms up your audience and gets them excited before you bore them to death with back story and exposition. Ha ha! I’m an evil tease.)
Well, now you can see my problem: my plot. There’s no real holes in my plot, but there are a few half-formed ideas that could be fleshed out and made more whole, more tangible, as it were. There’s at least two characters who can be given a little more depth and dimension, and a few plot points that could be expanded upon. And, while we’re at it, might as well give this world a bit of history, too.
Now it’s looking like those 20,000 words that I was contemplating cutting get to stay with minor adjustments, because, why not? The ideas are there, and adding the extra words and splitting the story into three separate pieces means that each section has its own identity. It means that I can treat each section like a mini novel with a beginning, middle and end that leads into the next mini novel and so on.
It also means that I have to tear the manuscript apart and mess with its timeline.
It’s one of my favorite things about being a writer, though. You get to pull apart your own timeline. You get to make it all wibbly-wobbly as you move pieces around to make a linear, coherent story. And, of course, there are fixed points in your story that you can’t mess around with or else it creates a paradox!
My problem with this is that it is SO time consuming, and the copy and paste process of moving time around is kind of boring.
So basically, I put on a scarf and pretend I’m a TimeLord. I’ve gotta get back to this editing thing, before the world implodes.
Kai Kiriyama lives in the frozen North, also known as Canada, with her pet snake Rhaegar. She is a novelist and a screenwriter (working towards publication) and is a regular contributor to Zombie Training Magazine. (www.zombietraining.com)
You can get in touch with Kai at any of the following locations:
Zombie Training: http://www.zombietraining.com