I’ve been working through the novel I wrote during National Novel Writing Month last year. Attempting to edit the beast. At 100,153 words it is massive – easily 40,000 words longer than anything else I’ve written.
40,000 words is almost a novel in itself.
I’ve read through it all once, and I’m relieved to say that I’m mostly happy with the story. There are a few scenes that will be deleted entirely, some that are on a ‘maybe’ list, and obviously many that need editing. But there are also large sections that flow well, scenes in which I miraculously managed to write what seems (to me at least) like perfect prose; great word choices, sentence structure, paragraphing. But now I’m onto the actual work.
I’m using Scrivener. It’s a great program – it allows you to break the novel down into scenes, allowing you to view them on a virtual cork board. This makes it much easier when it comes to moving scenes around, and seeing how the story flows from one scene to the next. My problem is that I have around 130 scenes. It feels too big. It’s overwhelming.
I’m trying to focus on the little bits. How each scene works in itself, whether it is necessary to the story, or whether it is one that I should let go. But I still find myself wondering how on earth I’ll fit it all together, how the big picture will look.
I remember this feeling well. The first time I managed a novel, just over 50,000 words, I looked back at it to edit. It seemed too big, too hard, and I’m sad to say I gave up. I have since edited another novel, around the 60,000 word mark, and it doesn’t seem so daunting anymore. I think about that first novel sometimes, and wonder… maybe I’ll get back to it one day.
I wonder if a time will come when editing 100,000 words no longer seems daunting, but I just can’t picture it.
But I’ll get back to it now… focusing on the little bits… and maybe by the end it won’t have been so bad after all.