The Writing Life: Bandaid Ripped Off

So I finished all the primary adjustments to The Killer and The Dead today. Then I accepted all on every other change in the document made by my editor. (I have read them all in passing, but not focused on them as it is just too deep a rabbithole for me to fall down.) I’m trusting myself to spot any alterations so made that do not align with my sense of how the writing and its subjects should be presented.

Now begins the long dark of reads and re-reads, tweaks and adjustments, Don McNair’s advice echoing in my head, threatening to overwhelm me with the number of things to stay alive to, to notice and adjust. I had hoped after laboriously going through the twenty one steps during the writing of The Thief and The Demon that those lessons would be solidly ingrained, and some have been, but there’s nothing like being systematic to show you how much you missed when you thought you were being careful.

This phase is where I may start actively hating the search function.

I already have an excuse to let it slide: jumping from instance to instance robs me of a sense of context, I shouldn’t make changes like that in isolation. (So maybe I should just leave well alone, is the hint.) Well, that’s why I’m reading it through first, live and in the vocal raw. Red marks and notes will sprout across the newly virgin pages. Then those shall be gone through and tidied away. Most changes I hope will be done in context, as I advance with the book held fresh in my mind. We shall see.

Then it will be time for the search function game, to let it highlight the recurrences my eye has refused to notice. Not everything will be changed, but it behooves me to check, and be sure.

The final completion date of the book keeps scrolling away. This is okay. I can reel it back with some solid work. I have hopes for this weekend, when not finally taking down the Christmas trees! The writing needs to be tightened up, made ready for the sea trials of last proofing reads. What leaks can be plugged now, should be.

Okay, I’d like to start reading now. An hour in before bed. Editing, like so much else in writing, is a marathon, not a sprint. I have to cut the clichés out too, dammit.

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