Recently I got book 2 of Little Somerby back from my lovely editor at Aria, and I’m currently embarking on putting her feedback into action. It’s been bit of a journey back into the book, as I got totally wrapped up in writing the early sections of book 3 at the end of June, but I’ve whacked on the book 2 playlist, cracked my knuckles (and my neck, which is suffering a bit with all the desk work at the moment) and gone in.
This got me thinking about my approach to edits and rewrites. And I’ve realised that I do have a process, of sorts. Firstly, I read through my editor’s comments, and then I skim through the manuscript, look at the marginalia that she’s written and do the odd tweak here and there. It’s nice to start with the easy stuff! If there are repeated words, light inconsistencies or a misplaced phrase, I pretty much action those on the first read.
Then the real work starts. At the moment, after a really useful brainstorm with my agent, I’m writing the new bits for the book. Since I write my novels out of sequence anyway (hey, I can say ‘novels’ now – that’s cool!), I like to write the scenes as they occur to me, and then slip them into the MS at a later stage. This also helps me to get a feel for where things need to be developed (some positive character development needs to occur, so I’m working on that at the moment). These scenes are all rather disparate at they’re written, but I know I’ll find a place for them when I go back to the whole MS. I also write them back in Scrivener, as it’s far too overwhelming for me to work on the Word document of the MS at this stage – I can never see the wood for the trees!
After this, I’ll go back to the MS and think about threading through some lines and paragraphs for plot development. One thing I’ve learned a lot about over the time I’ve been writing novels (yay, there it is again!), is that you need to do a little bit of shadowing and signposting, and this can often be sprinkled in later, if the major plot developments are already there. I know already what needs to go in, it’s just a case of finding exactly the right spots to use it.
From there it’s read, read, read, until I’m sure it all makes sense. It’s hard to do this on the same screen I edit on, so I tend to export to Kindle and pick up errors that way. When I’m happy with the amended MS, I then ping it back out to readers (often, those who’ve read the first version) and wait for feedback.
So that’s my process – would love to know yours!