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Friday, 4 February 2011

Now to the long-awaited edit

For the past few weeks, I've been threatening to start the editing process on the first volume of my adult fantasy trilogy. Keeping up the blog, updating my website and widening my contacts in the social media circuits, along with the duties, pleasures and disturbances of everyday life have prevented me starting.
This morning, I finally cleared my desk of the gathered clutter and discovered I had no more excuses.
The Seared Sky: Joinings, the first volume of the book currently runs to 68 chapters over 661 pages in 277,000 words. There are 52 named characters roaming a landscape that emerged from my imagination, and living in societies diverse and odd, worshipping sometimes bizarre idols and deities and participating in customs alien to our modern world.
In order to know where everyone is at any given time during the three years of the complete story, I had to develop a comprehensive timeline. Using Excel, I've listed the characters down one side and drawn the dated timeline as the horizontal axis. There are phases of the moon, notes as to which chapter each action occurs in and, in the individual cells, notes about what each character is doing on any given date during the story so far.
I am reading every word aloud, as this is the only real way to spot errors and find clumsy sentences. A glass of water to hand, music playing softly to exclude other external interference, and specs perched on the bridge of my nose, I go through page by page and excise the unnecessary, expunge the pompous, delete the inappropriate and murder my darlings in the hope of producing something readers will actually want to read.
So, if you wish,come with me on this journey. I might, from time to time, elicit your help, opinions, encouragement or comments. But I'll keep you informed of the progress.
I started the exercise this morning and have so far completed 2 chapters. So, another 66 to go. Wish me luck; I'm going to need it!
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