With the various household crises on temporary hiatus, and my ‘6 weeks till Disney’ hysteria having peaked two days ago (‘5 weeks till Disney’ hysteria starting tomorrow), my attention has turned back to the epic saga that is editing my novel.
To use the word editing is probably something of a understatement. True, some chapters only needed a little bit of work, but others have been completely rewritten and entirely new sections have been added.
There have been times when, much like my main character Amelia, I’ve held my head in my hands and thought ‘I can’t do this.’ I worry that I’m butchering my own work beyond recognition, and that I’m obsessing about every little piece of writing advice that streams through my Twitter feed. Most of all I worry that I’m never going to finish.
The hardest part of the process has been deciding what to let go. I’m trying to achieve a balance between telling the story and letting it tell itself, and that means sacrificing some of parts that have been floating around in my mind since the beginning. Part of the reason I started this novel was that for the first time in a long time I had a beginning, a middle and an end, and I couldn’t wait to start writing it. But the finished product was too long and, in parts, too slow, and some of it had to go.
It’s at that point where the work begins to change, and I started to wonder if it would ever be what I’d imagined. Slowly but surely, though, it’s starting to take shape again. I’m sticking to a schedule, working out a routine and in hopefully only another few weeks work it should be complete. Of course now I’ve gone and said that. . .
To get there though, I’ve had to take a drastic but necessary step – IGNORE THE ADVICE. The internet is home to a wealth of information for new writers; prompts and hints and tips all appearing directly in my Twitter timeline, helping and guiding, but distracting. Much of it is valuable advice, but right now I have to focus on what I want this book to be. After all, if I end up with a story I don’t like, what’s the point?
So it’s on with the cuts and rewrites towards the next, even scarier stage – the test reader!