I’m almost a third of the way through the first major edit of ‘The Streets and The Skies.’ At my current progress it will take another 2 - 3 months of full time work to get this first revision done.
When I talk to people they’re always amazed that it takes (for me anyway) so long to fully edit and revise a book. In fact it takes me as long to revise as it does to write. There are many reasons for this but the main issues are the type of novel I write and the way I write. Let’s look at that in more detail:
- The type of novel: Long, intricate Sci Fi murder mysteries. A murder mystery requires, well, a mystery and sci-fi requires world building.
- The way I write: I make it up as I go along.
To massively over simplify there are two ways people write. The first is to plot the book out then write it. The second is to write what happens one page at a time and see where it goes. There is no right or wrong to this but I find the second approach is more fun for me. If I don’t know what’s going to happen then it’s going to be a surprise for the characters as well.
What that means, though, is that to keep the final novel tightly plotted I have to go back in and edit the initial draft hard, pull it apart and put it back together to make sure the mystery works from start to finish (and add in hints that the sharp eyed reader can follow to crack the case, no ghost in the machine here, I say thankya)
The plot revisions don’t even touch the sci-fi world building requirements which are another huge part of the first edit. I’m far more interested in the effect technology has on people than the technology itself but if you’re writing about a future world you need to have that as well. So as I explore the world I have to go back and add new technologies and implications to the book that weren’t there in the first draft.
That’s why it takes frikin forever to edit. Oh, and that’s just the first revision. Then I have to go back and review every single page for tightness, grammar, repetition etc ….
So when I initially said 2016, then 2017 I should have said 2018. I think.