Friday, 11 March 2011


Editing the novel
For the last seven weeks, I've been heroically trudging through (i.e. editing) the bog (aka 'the novel').

At first it was quite fun. I read through the editor's notes. Then I spent the next week thinking about them. It's worth watching when I'm thinking because it doesn't happen very often.

I walk about, with a blank expression on my face. Occassionally I say sentences that don't seem to make sense. Or, less sense than usual.

After a week of this, I had a plan. I carefully picked over the first five chapters. This was quick, but meticulous - improving description but completely omitting - I realised later - to solve the massive gaping plot problem of The Cellar. I'm going to do that the week after next.

As I waded deeper into the bog, the plot totally unravelled. I had to delete characters, transform peaceful village dwellers into cannibals, make reality unravel more noticeably. These were seismic shifts. I ripped out huge chunks of text and killed characters. I deleted a thousand words for every thousand I wrote - hacked at some sections and picked over others with a needle.

As I waded deeper into the bog, the slower and stickier it got. The end was nowhere in sight. Without warning, I picked up speed. I crossed the chasm of gaping plot holes and motivationless actions and suddenly I reached the other side. I don't have any words left over to describe how good this feeling is.

I used them all to stuff up the plot holes.

More on editing Plot Structure...

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