The Trials of Editing

Today I finished what I’m calling draft 1 and a quarter of Exile Issues. I’m pleased with the milestone, even though it’s, well, gloriously minor.

The new “draft” added about 12,500 words to the manuscript—it’s up to about 67,500 now—and addressed one of the major loose ends. Specifically, the original manuscript introduced the idea that one of the characters knew some prophecies involving himself and others, and then, ahem, dropped the issue completely.

Draft 1.25 resolves, or at least lays the framework to resolve the issue, showing how two of the prophecies come to pass.

Of course, doing so also introduced roughly 19 new problems. I say “roughly” because there are 19 new entries in a Word document I’ve made up entitled “Things to Fix.” It’s a good-sized document, though, and it’s likely that a couple are duplicates.

Even if solving the one problem did introduce 19 more, it’s still much better than it looks, because each of those 19 problems are tiny relative to the one problem that I solved. For example, one of the “problems” is a note to myself to show public disdain for one of the main characters with a few nasty posters or billboards. Hardly a tough fix.

There’s still plenty of work. My initial goal of having a true second draft done by the end of the year seems ludicrous. Part of the reason is that I’m now thinking that a second draft will resolve all or most of the issues from my “Things to Fix” file, rather than just some of them. Also, October was a pretty bad month for me, effort-wise; I’m back to working steadily, though.

The work is chaotic, much moreso than any other editing project I’ve tried. That’s a natural consequence of the size and the randomness with which the manuscript was written. My approach is going to be to grab a loose strand at a time, tie it up as completely as possible, and move on.

I hope that I can work it around FAWM. I’m not sure that’s possible; FAWM is a pretty time-intensive thing. Which means that I should probably be as far as I want to get by January 31, eh?


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