I’m happy to say I finished the second Tabard Cain novel, THE SEER AND THE MADMAN, today. I think it’s a fairly good movement within the greater story, if not for anything other than the fact that Tabard gets some friends to pal around with.
First, there are a couple of fixes I need to do either tonight or tomorrow. A new opening to Chapter 1, and a layering in of some material in a later chapter. But nothing too big or difficult.
Then, a break. I’m not the kind of writer who likes to leave my stories sitting around for several weeks. It makes me itchy knowing I have an unfinished project I need to get back to. So after I put in those changes tomorrow, I’ll take a few days off.
Finally, the edit. With the previous novel, THE KINGLESS WARRIOR, I decided to try a three-stage editing process. 1) A computer read-through during which I focus on the words. 2) A paper read-through in which I focus on content. 3) A final proofread.
That worked well enough. There were some kinks along the way, but that’s to be expected, since it was my first time editing a novel (or story) in such a manner. This time around, my goal is to be more efficient.
So, the first pass isn’t really about words. Rather it’s about fixing clunky sentences. For the most part, clunky sentences are the result of excessive words. So instead of reading the novel, this time I’m going to use Ken Rand’s 10% Solution to help me focus on those words that typically generate bad sentences. Words like was and of, and words ending with -ing and -ion. This doesn’t mean all those words are bad. But those words might indicate lazy writing. The goal isn’t to necessarily cut 10% of the draft, nor is it to fix sentences that work. Rather, the goal is to quickly identify those areas where improvement is needed. Gotta love the search/find feature!
For my second pass, I’m going to skip the paper read-through and instead just read it on the Kindle. The problem with a paper read-through is that I can spend a whole lot of time scribbling on the page, and then when I go back to put in those changes, I’m not really sure what my scribbles mean — or, worse still, I find those changes aren’t necessary. Remember, the goal of an edit is to fix the story, not change it for change sake. So this time, it’ll be me and my Kindle. I’ll highlight mistakes and make notes in a spiral notebook. I’m hoping this method keeps me from nitpicking, as well as force me to be a little more thoughtful with my notes.
For the proofread, my MacBook will read aloud the story to me. It worked great last time, and I’m confident it’ll work great this time. Yes, it’s tedious, and yes, and you can’t go on for long without taking a break. But you do catch tons of mistakes.
After that, it’ll be off to a reader to catch anything I missed.