I’d been doing pretty well on my manuscript until I realized I needed to make a major plot revision. That’s been a tough thing to go back and re-edit for. For a few months I was paralyzed between just rewriting the whole thing or diving into extensive re-edits.
I chose to go back and re-edit. At this point in the year, I’m almost all the way through. It’s not a particularly environmentally friendly process, but here’s what worked for me:
- Print out each chapter in turn
- Read through it on paper
- Make notes on it with a Sharpie
- Go back into Ulysses and make changes
- Re-read it on paper again
- Make any necessary edits that I catch on the second pass
It’s been good. I caught a few other mistakes and inconsistencies this way — and deleted more words than I’ve added, which I don’t think is a bad sign — and I think this is a process that’ll work for me when I come to do my actual edit.
I’d lost a little momentum, but I’m hoping that I can catch up the draft by Christmas, and then re-embark on writing the rest of the story. I think the change strengthens my story considerably, and I’m pretty excited about where it’s going next.
The topics I play with in the novel won’t be a surprise to anyone who’s read my posts for a while, but the ideas and the story hopefully will be. I’m looking forward to sharing it with some beta readers sometime next year, once I’ve completed the draft and gone through the thematic and line-by-line edits.
And then who knows? Finding an agent and courting publishers isn’t a million miles away from raising money as a startup founder, but I’m not allowing myself to consider that stage in proceedings until I have a fully-baked product that I feel like is worth sharing. So for now: on with the work.