Monday, 14 November 2011

Five things I've noticed in editing my book

This is at least my fourth complete edit of my book, In the shade of the Mulberry Tree, which tells the first year of my family's adventures living in Zambia. Every time I finish I think, 'Great! It's ready!' Then I find more things to correct and re-write. Is an author's work ever truly complete? Here are some things that have astonished me about my writing this time.
  1. Though I pride myself in my correct use of grammar (I blame years of repetitive practice at primary school), there was a run of chapters where I repeatedly used its incorrectly. Its = belongs to it; It's = It is or it has. I know this...but there are gaps between knowledge and application...
  2. I have a propensity to write sentences without verbs. So, not really sentences at all, I suppose.
  3. Certain words repeat many times. I removed a lot of 'somewhat's before this edit; now I have replaced a lot of showing with revealing. Sadly, I don't think I've managed to squeeze the word indubitably in anywhere.
  4. I write a lot of lists with no 'and' to hold them together. Lovely commas, no conjunctive.
  5. There is no room for sentimentality. I cut 1000 words by just hitting the delete button, but I'd really enjoyed writing that chapter! I would just like the Broccoli family to know that if any James Bond film hits our screens which is set in Zambia, my husband and I retain the copyright. (Or at least the bottle of wine that created such a fantastic film!)

And so, to end. My final chapter ought to be an epilogue. But then my penultimate chapter would be my final chapter and it has a really miserable ending. My final edit stage is to split the final chapter into two: a new final chapter and an epilogue. I hope it works!

Then edits done, all I need to do is send it off to publishers or agents. As a meerkat might say, 'Simples!'

(Oh, the irony: blogger spellcheck wants to correct meerkat to market...!)

1 comment:

Mark said...

I love editing. I edit everything time and again, blog posts included - some of my essays are on V60.

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