Just When You Think The Book is Done…

The euphoria of finishing a novel, which for me is generally a yearlong process, fades quickly when the editing starts. I thought I’d overcome the perils of being a panster (rather than a plotter) by working with a developmental editor.

I appreciate the help of my critique partners, which have resulted in a need for major reworkings of my new Contemporary Western/Women’s Fiction. But even an Urban Fantasy completed and heavily edited multiple times since 2017 needs more before being submitted, which lead me to believe there will always be room for changes.

Market trends certainly play a part, since what readers want, and as a result what editors are looking for are moving targets. But the bottom line always seems to be cutting scenes that are not helping to build tension and conflict, and those that don’t advance the storyline.

For the urban fantasy, what is probably the fifth major edit resulted in re-ordering the opening chapters and cutting scenes that only involved the protagonist’s internal struggles. But for the Contemporary, the third major edit will require removing most of the first chapter, and then re working the next five or six to accommodate those changes.

That will ramp up the tension and conflict, but my own personal tension and conflict about the process have been so high it’s been paralyzing. The complexity of the task is also colliding with the writing on the next book in the series. Keeping track of how all the plot threads change will require a time consuming methodical process of tracing from Book One through Book Two.

I wonder if full time writers struggle same distractions that part time writers face that have prevented me from just doing it. Then again, considering the stress, the losses, the distractions and the difficulties we all have been experiencing over the past year makes a bit of writer’s block seem far to trivial to worry about.

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About caroleannmoleti

Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Midwife, Mother. Writes fantasy because walking through walls is easier than running into them. Writes political commentary, memoir and creative nonfiction because....I am not a well behaved woman.
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8 Responses to Just When You Think The Book is Done…

  1. pamelagibson says:

    I’m a pantser and I have found it more difficult to write this year. I’m lucky to have a development editor in the house. My husband has educated himself by reading all the craft books I should have read and usually breaks down my first drafts for me with comments. Then the hard work starts. Excellent post. I’m glad I’m not alone.

  2. sueberger3 says:

    I was told a long time ago that you usually find out that your novel really begins on page 30. I found it to be depressingly true. It’s weird but we think we put on the page, and what is still in our heads that we forgot to say that the reader needs to know. Good luck with your edits.

    • Thanks for reading and commiserating. That is just about how much I need to re work on the novel. Not too bad for a 100K novel that needs to be much shorter anyway. But I’ll have to suck it up and get to it.

  3. Cindy Tomamichel says:

    Scrivener offers a corkboard type setup that I find useful if i need to rearrange scenes. You write the scene points of ‘cards’ and can colour code and rearrange on screen.

    • I’ve heard good things about Scrivener. I’ve also used the Snowflake software that helps with keeping track of pertinent character information and timelines. Trouble is by the time I get to step 3, which is setting out scenes, the panster roars and I just need to write. I’ll take another look at Scrivener.


  4. viola62 says:

    This year has been especially challenging, and the full-time job isn’t helping.

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