Today, I switched my schedule around a bit. I applied for a job in the morning, and then edited at the cafe this afternoon. I LOVE the atmosphere of my local coffee shop. After all the great people I’ve met in Chicago, it’ll be the thing I miss the most when I move back home (probably the only other thing…. but that’s another story.) Generally, editing gets at me and picks at my confidence levels, so I love a day when editing goes like this:
- I was able to put aside my neuroses about life in general (and the text as a whole) and focus on the mechanics of the passage at hand.
- I remembered to focus on eliminating words and turns of phrase I use too often (far fewer “smiles” now)
- I feel like I cut lots of extraneous things out of dialogue, and especially out of description. And when I didn’t cut, I simplified a lot…. condensing a three or four word phrase (like “made contact with”) to one word, for example. I think the scene’s much cleaner as a result.
- A number of adverbs are now deceased…. Amazing how I let them proliferate to begin with!
- The scene focused on characters who were kids in my second book, and I’m remembering now why I love them as adults so much. (One of them needs to lose his mustache, so that’s a definitive decision made.)
- My progress wasn’t insanely fast, but it was steady and when I got hung up on a paragraph, I saw results when I finally moved on. I didn’t waste the time I spent fiddling with the chapter.
It’s always great when I’m able to sit down and do something FUN–rather than “work”–at the cafe, like pull out my fiction! I will, at some point, need to do another read-through and see how pacing strikes me for “The King’s Sons,” and whether a subplot or two is too boring. But for right now, I’m trying to do one editing pass just to really tighten up and polish what’s on the page, as I have it laid out. This pass is purposefully more of a proofreading and copy-edit than a substantial, content overhaul, though I did add one major scene this week…. And it’s going pretty well. I think the work’s a lot more consistent and more readable than it was. That’s always something to feel good about!
MY RESOLUTION: I’m trying to focus on the improvements I’m making, rather than dwell on how problematic those pesky first drafts (or, well, third/fourth in this case) always are. That’s better for my confidence level, especially when I need to get this draft out to the final beta readers soon. 🙂