How not to write a novel part 5 – forget writer’s block, what about Editor’s Apathy

3, May,2007

I will blather about writer’s block and mutter about muses in another post, but for now, just know that I’m not a believer in either. But Editor’s Apathy, this I know about.

At some point you will reach a stage when the deed is done, you have completed the story, the word count shows the magic 100,000. Victory!

Ok, that’s the fun part over. Now you have to sit down and edit it – I’m not talking about fixing some punctuation, I’m talking, brain swelling, soul crushing rewriting.

I will guarentee the bits you found most frustrating the first time around are the bits that need the most work, and the bits you thought were gold, are now looking a bit brassy. It’s quite acceptable at this point to indulge in short period of pouting and foot stamping (Mums and Dads, keep the study door closed, the children don’t need to see this).

I don’t really have any suggestions for making this process easier but here are some things that don’t help.

  • I know, I’ll take a 5 minute break to play this highly addictive computer game that nearly broke up my marriage 3 years ago.
    I have Drizzt’s armour and my thief is up to level 5, but how do I get the Celestial Telescope from the Hall of Wonders – is that the sun coming up?)
  • I need to look at some examples from other writers. Mmm, lets see George RR Martin’s, Song of Fire and Ice series (7 x 180,000 words) or Stephen King’s, Dark Tower (5 x 100,000).
  • Gee, the back door is sticking a bit, I’ll go and get my plane, and that cornice could do with a touch of paint. Is that light fitting loose?  My wife quite liked this phase, she just wished it kept going until the paving was finished.
  • This is my first novel so it’s not going to get published anyway. Why not just put it away and start the next one.

This is what helped me.
I need to do it because this is part of the job of writing a novel. I can’t even lay claim to having a novel in my bottom draw until I have at least edited it to a competant standard. It doesn’t count as part of the millionwords if it hasn’t been reviewed and revised. It’s like calling yourself marathon runner because you are pretty quick over 10km.  Now pull your finger out.


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