We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat

Labor Day weekend was awesome. I spent most of each day editing: reading through the novel and hacking away at anything that didn’t need to be there. I’ve trimmed a few thousand words off the draft already, and it feels great.

Except that every time I read it, I find more things wrong.

On my way to cut down a stray paragraph, I noticed one of the characters’ dialog sounded like a really bad imitation of an accent. Had to stop and fix that.

Trimming a different chapter, another character had somehow developed a verbal tick, repeating the same phrase with every sentence, like some sort of crazed parrot. I had to stop and fix that, too.

Each round of edits is revealing more edits that are needed. I’ve had to stop changing things as I notice them, because it ends up derailing the edits I originally went in to make. Instead I’m jotting each one down in a notebook, so I can go back through later and fix them.

What I thought would be a series of nice, orderly editing rounds has become a game of whack-a-mole, where three more problems rear up with every one I knock down. At this rate, my internal deadline (Oct 1) for finishing the edits won’t be a deadline so much as the day I put down the mallet in defeat.

Until then, I’ll keep hammering away.