Jan 26, 2011

Editing Hell? Nah. Not even "Heck", really.

I hear a lot of other writers using the term "editing hell", as in I'm stuck in editing hell, etc. I'm in the middle of what I believe is what they're talking about - - I'm turning 3 full-length (92k+ words each) novels into 6 YA-length (50-60k+ words) books. And, to put this into perspective, here's the present status update:

I began with the following:

Book One - "The Morrow Stone" - 92k words, 277 pages, 7x9 format
Book Two - "Reaper's Flight" - 126k words, 285 pages (much smaller font), 7x9 format
Book Three - (working title) - 60% complete with 72k words

And this will be converted into 6 books, thus:

Book 1 - 60k words, 280 pages, YA paperback format
Book 2 - 55k words, 270 pages, YA paperback format
Book 3 - TBD
Book 4 - TBD
Book 5 - TBD
Book 6 - TBD

In terms of drafts, I'm almost done with reconverting what is now going to be book 2, and following a weighty review of Reapers Flight will then break it down into 2 books following the design formatting I've done so far with Morrow Stone. Then I'll be wrapping the first draft of what WAS book 3 into what will be books 5 and 6, also following the similar format. Follow me so far? If so, that might just make one of us.

The thing is, the books have made thus far for a fairly simple transition from one to two books. It's also given me the chance to expand on the narrative in ways I truncated in the original versions because of the constraints of space. When I look at them now, I already have 5 completely new chapters that weren't in the original books, and that's not even including the "director's cut expanded scenes" that are getting filtered in throughout the entirety of the books thus far.

As I wrap the expanded cuts of Reapers Flight and start back into the last half of the original 3rd book, though, I expect to see little additional expansion; I'm just going to write the books as the stories need to be told, and not worry about cutting for size or space.

Very liberating.

The biggest challenge so far has been on expanding the scenes; I've had to retain a coherent sense of where the characters are way back at the beginning of the books and ensure that I don't let them behave as they do much later, or that they don't know something they didn't learn until later, etc. I thought I knew my own books before, but the truth is that I know them now so much better.

That realization should probably frighten me.

But all the same.... "editing hell"? I don't know, I really just don't feel it. Yet.

Maybe that's the whole punch line of hell, really. Maybe it's one of those things that just slowly sucks you in, and you don't realize you're in it until it's much, much too late.


Okay, now I'm a little worried.

1 comment:

Toni said...

Love this post. :) I love editing; it is anything but hell to me. Good luck with your books... keep us informed when they are ready. My kids are always looking for a new series. :)