Wednesday, 13 April 2011


I can't work out whether I'm finished or not. I think I am. Or at least, I've decided to stop writing. I've been hard at work editing for three days solid. This probably doesn't sound like much but editing at this level of detail is one of the hardest parts of writing.

It started when I got comments back from the editor. In essence, this is a list of problems. So far so clear. It's working out what the solutions are that causes the trouble. Then I have to work out where and how to introduce these solutions.

One solution I came up with was:
'demonstrate that the main character is in a state of quantum flux'

This is kind of tricky to do. The novel is (now) 57,000 words long. I have to weave this idea through the entire novel - slotting it into the appropriate places. This wouldn't be too difficult except quantum flux is a tricky idea to convey and I have to do it seamlessly in a text which is already surface polished.

I worked out that I had about seventeen editing problems in total (including quantum flux). Some of them were interlinked. Most of them were concentrated in the ending: but I couldn't only make changes at the end. They all had to be prefigured earlier in the text.

It was impossible to tackle the seventeen problems simultaneously, working from the beginning to the end of the text. I had to do each one separately: starting at the beginning of the novel and working through to the end seventeen times. To make sense of the scale of the task, seventeen times fifty seven thousand words is almost a million (969,000).

So right now, I don't care if I've finished. I don't care if it makes sense. At this stage of editing, it's impossible to 'read' the text. The words are so familiar they don't 'go in'. I'm dropping changes into the text without even reading it. It's kind of terrifying. I have no idea if the changes work. Though I'm really, really hoping they do.

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