Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Editing with Giants

I have a love/hate relationship with edits and rewrites. When I get into it, I enjoy the whole juicy mish-mash that is the editing process, which is just as well as I'm in the thick of the juice at the moment for The Manx Giant.

I also believe that editing is just about the most important tool in helping you develop as a writer, particularly if you're editing, or critiquing, other people's writing; assessing the work of other writers has taught me more about my own work than other people's edits of my writing, if that makes sense. Hey, it's late.

Having been shunted out of my office to make way for my darling daughter's gigantic cot and army of cuddly toys, which have confined my not-quite-as-gigantic-but-still-huge writing desk to the garage, I'm stuck in a corner of the master bedroom with a small (but cool, despite the lack of leg room) replacement desk, although I'm relying on memory that it's a desk, because at the moment it is nothing more than a vaguely organised mess of random piles of notes and research. Non-fiction books will do this to you.

The edits are going well and the additional info that needs slotting in has, so far, found itself a natural home. The word count has risen slightly, which is not a problem as it's a fairly short book. Meanwhile, bearing down on me is this Sunday's deadline, when the revised draft will be fired over to the publisher, marking the first time he will have set eyes on it. Always a scary time. After that, it's wait and see until he gets back to me.

Thankfully, the deadline is not only focusing the mind on the job in hand, it's easing the frustration that editing brings with it - namely, the curious sensation of going back over old ground when there are a hundred and one other projects screaming for attention, demanding to be worked on, a fact made even more frustrating because I know full well that I won't be able to focus properly on the shiny new stuff until the editing is finished.

Alongside the editing and rewriting, I'm finalising the pictures I'm suggesting to illustrate the book, which includes wading through a few I've taken (assuming they are halfway decent) and mixing them with old drawings and photographs of the Giant. That, too, is a slow and laborious process.

But I'm on countdown now. A few more days, and it will be time to move on, at least until the revised draft comes back from the publisher and I have to tackle his red pen. Then the circle starts again.

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