Thursday, September 11, 2008

Zooming through Chapter 4

I'm in the zone, I guess. I'm putting in a lot more hours working on it, spending a lot of time thinking about it when I'm not working. And I'm cranking through the edits.

I think that's the nature of editing for me vs. writing or rewriting. It doesn't take as much creative energy so I don't get exhausted so quickly. It actually is very tiring, but I don't notice it until I'm done and I can go several hours that way.

But, is editing what I'm supposed to be doing? I'm trouble a little by the thought that I'm neglecting the hard work. Essentially, on Chapters 4 and 3, and chapter 2 to a lesser extent, what I do is read it through and identify around 2 keys spots that are important and not that well developed and maybe 1 or 2 other sections that seem to be in the wrong place. And I make a bunch of marks where at the sentence level things are unclear. Then the next day I go through the computer file working on the bigger picture items first and then--fairly soon--moving on to the sentence edits.

That implies that the couple places that weren't very well developed are the only really serious flaws left in the chapters and it implies that my fairly quick work on them is sufficient. I don't see anything else, but I'm worried that it's too easy.

I'm moving along faster than my wife has time to read it, so I'm flying blind a little bit. I'm getting closer to the day when I'll need to hand off big chunks of it to another reader and get their response.

The total timeline on this kind of work has been about 6-8 hours per chapter. A couple hours or more to read and mark up the chapter, and a few hours to go through the computer file making the changes.

The sentence-level editing I am doing is a pretty rough cut. I do have a list of several bad habits i my sentence constructions that I'll need to spend a lot of time weeding out on my next rewrite/revision.

Related to that is my reading lately of How Fiction Works by James Wood. (I finished it and am reading it a second time as well as all the other essays of his I can find online.) I've been helped enormously by his discussion of the free indirect style. That's given a me a critical vocabulary for thinking more deeply about how I use point of view and how I have been flagging the differences between the narrator and the characters. More on that another time, but essentially I've come to think that I can do a lot better, so I've been experimenting with making some changes here and there as I go with the understanding that I'll be bearing down on that issue when the time for a really careful revision comes.

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