The editing game

For me, the first draft of this work-in-progress has been like constructing a jigsaw puzzle without the picture on the front of the box. I had a few bits that went together quite easily, some  parts I was sure were right if I could figure them out, and a sneaking feeling that some extra pieces had insinuated themselves from somewhere else.

And in a book, you have to decide which are the edge and corner pieces.

One thing we learn in life is that actions have consequences. The same goes for a plot – one thing leads to another, like a domino run.

Setting up my plot was like lining these up -one false move…

But unless you are writing for very small children (and not always then) the story doesn’t necessarily follow a purely linear sequence. There are strands that appear and disappear like streams in limestone country. They are still there but under the surface.

That has implications if you have to move things round in your book, I’ve found – the hard way. Especially when dealing with several strands for my 12+ readership. Wrestling with the timeline and lunar phases (essential in a book where the moon plays an integral part) has not been easy.

Many moments of turning & twisting blocks of text to fit – without leaving gaps.

But it’s still a bit too long. So now I’m removing scenes – but trying not to let the whole thing come tumbling down around my ears. It’s fun – but nerve-racking at the same time.

Just how steady is my hand?

And just to add to the fun – I have a deadline: 1st December.

How do you feel about editing? Do you work on a little bit (two inches wide) of ivory  with a fine a brush to produce little effect after much labour? ( with apologies to Jane Austen) Or do you agree with Isaac Bashevis Singer ‘The waste basket is a writer’s best friend’ ?