Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Shining Up

Image Credit: NASA / Found at
I love NaNoWriMo. The energy of the group that I write with fed me, sustained me like the sun does while I threw down word after word after word, trying to get my story out of my head. March is supposed to be the month that we edit those stories, but I didn't get into mine until May. There were other things that had to be done first and after all the energy I poured into writing more than 90,000 words I definitely needed the time away to recharge and come at the editing process with a clear head. The time I spent in November and December writing was maybe the best I've ever had creating a story.

And I'm having almost as much fun working on making the novel more coherent, more rich with detail, and in the end better. I dislike the editing process as much as any writer but this time it's different. I'm more invested in the overall tale than I have been in the past, even with other things I wrote or drew or created.

I've been adding scenes, cutting entire passages and rewriting tons of stuff as I'm going along. One of the things I'm doing differently is when I take out more than half a sentence, I'm dropping it into another document called Deleted Scenes. Not everything there is a scene, but when I go back to read through this draft I'll want to make sure that I know what I took out. The beauty of my word processor (Scrivener) is that everything I'm adding is automatically in red and I can drag and drop highlighted text from one chapter into the Deleted Scenes document at the end. I can then tell Scrivener to not count the Deleted Scenes document in the word count.

This means that I may add a thousand words showing something I told in a couple of paragraphs, move the old words and I can keep track of the new word count easily. I suspect that by the time it's all done, I'll have removed around 10,000 words and added another 20,000 or so. That'll bring the manuscript to right around 100,000 which is a nice length for a science fiction novel.

Like most other writers I know, I'm not really a fan of the editing process. I much prefer the act of creation, of exploration. However what I'm finding this time - with a story that I deeply care about - is that the refining can be just as satisfying. It's a process of exploration, editing is, just as much as the writing.

Well, almost.

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