Drafting and Editing – Where does it end?
I’m in the middle of writing a novel for NaNoWrimo and so I haven’t done any other fiction work this month. My novel in progress was sent to an editor before I started this challenge and so it was good to be able to put it to one side for a while and get on with something new.
I got the report back the other day though and so thoughts of that story have been creeping slowly back in. I’m itching to bet back to it but at the same time, the prospect of editing it again is daunting to say the least. This is the second editor to have read my work. The first came back with a few amendments, but was generally positive about the story as a whole. I took on board their suggestions but for some reason couldn’t trust the fact that they had come back to me with so little for me to do. I didn’t have the confidence to move on with it, so I sent it to someone else.
The result is somewhat different and I am now faced with the decision of whether to make these fundamental changes this second editor suggests. The story is about a boy who can see dead people. When he connects to the ghost of a dead girl from his own town, he finds out that she has been missing for five years and that she can’t move on until her body is found. He decides to help her. When I initially wrote this story, it was about Jake, but I had some early feedback from a publisher, who said she would be interested to find out more about Aimee’s limbo world (the ghost girl), so I took this advice and added her side of the story. I then went on to add Sophie (Aimee’s sister) to the tale, because when Jake and Sophie meet, they form a friendship that develops as the story unfolds. I wanted to capture both of their feelings. It is an emerging romance, which I felt fitted for the young adult audience it is aimed at.
The first editor said this three-way viewpoint works well, whilst the second asked the question, ‘whose story is this?’ First editor said they liked the way we see Jake and Sophie through each other’s eyes. The second said do we need Sophie in this story at all? They also said that there was too much detail about Aimee’s post-death experience. Whilst one said the prologue was intriguing, the other said it undermined the mystery of the story. The contradictions go on and I won’t bore you with the details. My point is merely that I keep changing this story to suit the reader and I am wondering when it will ever end.
There are lots of positive points from this second edit and it will help me to tighten up my writing. It won’t be easy, though. Whilst I understand the need for ‘show don’t tell’ and have included lots of dialogue. There are elements of the story where I use inner monologue to portray the character’s feelings and retrospection to bring up something that happened in the past but felt was relevant for the reader to know. This is all ‘telling’ and I’m not quite sure how to ‘show’ them. I have a lot to think about, including questions about whether some scenes are relevant to the story: scenes that might not push the story forward in the right way.
For now I need to finish the first draft of the novel I am currently working on. Then I can put it to one side and go back to my other one. I have told myself this is it now. I have to sort it once and for all so that I can draw a line under it, learn from it and move on.
Any editing advice would be most appreciated.
Sharing this for What I’m Writing.