I’ve been editing my manuscript lately, and it’s been a lot of work. That said, I don’t dislike editing. I actually really enjoy those moments of breakthrough when I know I’ve just made my story infinitely better. And I’ve found that when editing (as many people have said before), it’s best to not try to fix everything at once. Rather, it helps a lot focus on fixing certain things at a time.
Most of the things I’ve been fixing lately concern timing. My plot is there, and it’s pretty solid. And my characters are there, which is also good. I know there’s still some areas of grammar and structure that I need to work on, but I’ll focus on that later. Right now, it’s all about the timing.
Should this scene go here, or should it happen in the next chapter? Should my character realize this now, or is it better if she has that thought on the next day? Or should she have thought of that that three days ago? Most of the time, these scenes I’m looking at are short, small moments that don’t disrupt the larger story but make all the difference in my character’s relationships. That’s why they’re so important to get right. But it can be difficult to figure out details like this. And sometimes the only way to do it is just trial-and-error.
Sometimes I read a scene or a paragraph that doesn’t totally fit, and I have an instant vision of where it should be moved (these are good times). But sometimes I have to play around with the scene and think through moving it to a couple different places to see if it gets better (these are good times, too, they just feel less fun). And sometimes I need to delete something altogether, because it disrupts the flow of a chapter (sometimes this hurts, but again, still good).
I think timing is such a big deal, though, because without the right pacing, the story won’t come across the way I’m trying to tell it. We’ve all read those books from time to time that had good plots or good characters, but they just didn’t flow well. They either rushed to the point or kept you confused for too long. I’m trying not to fall into that hole, and that’s why I’ve been focusing on the timing and order of scenes/moments lately. Not always easy, but definitely necessary. So I’ll keep going…