The longhand, hard-copy edit of DIVIDE THE SKY‘s most recent draft is done. This was an in-depth edit of an 80,000 word manuscript, focussing on everything from typos to major structure issues. DIVIDE’s been through a few rewrites already, I had clear plans for this revision and could afford to set a fast pace.
I set myself a tight timescale to get this done, and I had to learn a lot about my process. I’m going ramble on indulgently about this now, because I love breaking down my own process so I can figure out what I did right and see how my process changes between projects.
- That my editing times aren’t as terrible as I thought.
- That a hard-copy, longhand edit is necessary to stop me getting distracted by the magical world of the Internet.
- That percentages and fractions are extremely motivating. It’s fine to say ‘I’ve done 50 pages’, but it be able to say ‘I’m a fifth of the way through’ or ‘I’m 30% done’ was so much more satisfying. I kept a spreadsheet up so I could motivate myself with the numbers. Maths was my friend, for once!
- Having time off from work is super useful for these tight deadlines. I took a few days off from editing, such as the 12th, where real life just took priority over edits, but having time off from the day job through the 10th – 15th July really helped me keep motivated to get this done.
- That I still had time to goof off and watch far too much anime, though my reading, gaming and social time suffered.
- When it came to adding in scenes, it worked better if I just jotted down a quick scene outline and moved on rather than focussing on writing new sections. Those scenes will get polished during the electronic edit.
To break the timescale down:
- Edit started on the 24th of June. Finished the chapter one edits by the end of that day, and hoped that I could maintain a steady chapter-a-day editing rate to get through all 42 chapters.
- That was wishful thinking. The first three chapters were hands-down the hardest to edit and they dragged on.
- Hit 50 pages done on the 4th July. Up until this point, I was trying to type up my edits as I went, but this was too distracting so I started focussing entirely on the written edit.
- By the 9th, I was 100 pages in and more than a third of the way through. I wasn’t looking forward to editing the ending, though…
- By the 11th, 655 done. Under a hundred pages to go.
- Hit 81% on the 18th and powered through to the ending, which was surprisingly easy to edit. Victory at 1am!
- About three different red pens died for the cause. Rest in Peace, red pens. Your sacrifice will be remembered.
Looks like I did manage that chapter-a-day rate, though as usual with writing-related tactics I did it in bursts instead of a steady daily rate.
Now, I wonder if I can meet my one-month deadline and get the electronic edit done by the 24th… only one way to find out. In the morning, it’ll be straight back to work!