The editing continues

I went back to the book last night and dug in. Considering how I felt when I started, it went well. Overall yesterday, I added 385 words to the book, corrected some issues and left myself in the middle of a mess. :D

It could be worse!

I’m starting early this morning (relatively speaking, after staying up until 2 am). I’ve had breakfast and I’ve gone back into my hosts file and blocked some particularly distracting sites because I’m actually excited to get started again and I do not want to squander that feeling by scrolling through news and forums posts for a hour or more.

I’ll scroll through my document instead. :)

In actuality, I’ll start by reading what I added last night—stuff to tie in the ending better, really, and just some redrafting of a few paragraphs and sections, because just changing the wording around isn’t the goal here. I mean, I could, but it’s a waste of time and wouldn’t help the issues, and could make things a lot worse.

My problems with these chapters aren’t just issues about how I wrote sentences. That stuff is irrelevant at this point. This is something else, something deeper. Right here, in these places, the story just doesn’t feel right to me.

Since I’m my own reader, if it doesn’t feel right to me, it ain’t right. Period.

If I let myself fall into the rabbit hole of making this about the sentences, I’d probably ruin the book. I’ve learned my lesson on that.

It’s very easy to steal all the life from the words by massaging them into “something better.”

I believe that wholeheartedly because it has happened to me a few times, the most notably being when I smoothed out the beginning of the first book in this same series. I read back through it right before I went to publish and realized it was just flat—flat and lifeless even though it was an exciting scene. Or it was supposed to be. It had been. So I pulled up the original beginning, unedited, and plopped it into place. Since the edit of that had been all about the sentences and words, there was nothing to fix to make it work with the rest of the book. I published it like that a few minutes later. (Maybe hours, lol, because I did still have to format the book and that was back when it took me longer than the five minutes it takes now.)

That is still my best selling book and the opening is absolutely fine. I was being hypercritical of myself and the way I sound on the page and I almost messed up the beginning of that book, all because I didn’t trust myself. That was my breakout book. It’s why I’m able to write full time.

This situation is different. I am trusting myself here. The problems with these chapters I’m working my way through aren’t the fevered imaginings of a hypercritical reader. I’ve gotten pretty good at shoving that aside when I’m reading during my edits—sure, I may cringe occasionally over a real clunker, but I tend to recognize that for what it is. Maybe not all the time, but right now, for this, definitely.

There are problems here that need fixed.

So that’s what I’m going to do, get in there and fix them.

I’ll post the log of my reading and editing times when I finish this thing. :)

Here’s where it stands right now.

Screenshot of editing times

I went back to a different book to compare these numbers and for that one my reading speed was very close to 10,000 words per hour. That just goes to show how slow this one is going.

And just for comparison, chapter 4 is not a short chapter. It was just a good one and I was finally getting into a groove with the reading. Then chapter 5 hit.

No writing last night after all

I took the computer up, but instead of writing I just sat with it on my lap and stared at it until I almost dozed sitting up. At that point, I snapped the lid closed and went to sleep. Just too tired.

Being off my sleep schedule and not getting enough sleep have apparently taken their toll. I need to be writing as early in the day as I can right now while I have enough energy to do it so that’s what I’m about to do.

I’m going to finally get through chapters 15 and 16 this morning (it’s 9:32 am) and I’m going to do it within in the next hour.

By 10:30, I want to be ready to start in on the next chapter.

I’ll be back then to update for some accountability. ;) (Yes, you’re my writing accountability group, whether you want to be or not. You’re reading this, aren’t you? Comment if you want me to return the favor and I’ll cheer you on at your own blog.) :)

Postponement of yesterday to today

So yesterday I did not finish with chapter 15 to 16. Life interrupted and I finally gave in and postponed to today what I wanted to accomplish yesterday.

So everything I said yesterday? Applies to today. :)

Not that I didn’t make any progress yesterday, because I did.

I spent 1.517 hours writing (timed writing) and added 280 words after deletions, additions, redrafting, and edits. I’m lucky I got that. The interruptions were fortuitous, because I was ready to start yelling at my screen about this chapter (let me be honest, I did yell at the screen at least once).

I found the thing that I thought was in the book earlier, that I addressed earlier when I fixed up some earlier chapters, and then rediscovered the thing in chapter 15.

Meaning: I addressed something in an earlier chapter that hadn’t even happened yet. UGH!

So yeah. I needed the break.

Revisions are more than just fixing stuff and I’ve fallen into the revision pit, obviously. I hate them and I don’t honestly believe they do anything to make a book better most of the time, and yet, here I am, right in the middle of doing something that’s awfully close to revision. >:{

Now to fix it today. And get on with writing new stuff. Chapter 16 can just stuff it. I’m fixing 15 and skipping right to the end of 16 where I need to delete the last page and just start fresh. I’m not going to try to save any of that last page. It’ll just lead to heartache.

Is it perfectionism stalling me out?

Yes, yes, it is. I’m still working through chapter 15 as of yesterday. It should have been simple to get through chapters 15 and 16 and on to new stuff, but that didn’t happen.

I was fixing a few lines that didn’t feel right for one character now that I’ve eliminated some of the excessive mental wrangling I had him doing because I couldn’t figure out where I was going with him, and I started writing some new stuff for him right there in the middle of the chapter. It was good stuff too so I went with it, but I did agonize over it a little too much because it had to fit in between other stuff, which is always a chore for me.

I’d like to stop going back in my books like this, because as you can see from the multiple days of slow writing but long hours, it isn’t that fun for me!

Today, I’m going to finish these two chapters even if I have to take a hands off approach and jump to the next damn chapter. That’s not the plan but if I find myself getting hung up on stuff just because it could sound better in my head if I wrote it another way, I’m doing it. That’s perfectionism trying to hold me back, and I can’t let it win.

Yesterday’s totals came to 3.65 hours of timed writing and 379 words after new stuff, deletions, and redrafts.

I was very inefficient yesterday, because if I were at a job where time at my desk counted, I would have logged a solid 9+ hours. I was tired when I finished (who wouldn’t be after spending 9 hours at their desk?) but I did start making progress toward going to sleep earlier. Not much, since it was still just about 1 am when I called it a night, but 1 am is better than 2 or 3 am!

Also, I’m just about to do something about the tags on this site. I just had an idea that might—possibly—be a way I can use them that actually makes sense for me. :D