Editing Was Supposed to Make It Smaller

Alright, so I’m pleased to say that I’ve recently finished another whole edit on a Legacy of Ash manuscript.  It’s a full novel here, or at least that’s what I am working towards.  This is also about the third or fourth solid, straight read-through edit I’ve done.

It was, before this last edit, sitting around 180 000 words.  I know, I know, you’re gonna say that’s too big for a first time, unpublished author.  Even for epic fantasy.  Too big for an unknown, no agent is gonna touch it with a ten foot pole.  You might be right, I might be crazy.  But this is the story in my head, and the way it’s coming out.  So imagine my surprise when I finished the latest edit, which I believed was trimming a lot of extra crap out, and find the manuscript is now just over 200 000 words.  Damn.  What have I done?

So what did I do in this edit?  Well, I took out a few background characters that didn’t do much.  I changed some genders around.  This step was pretty important, and maybe the most difficult.  I also tried to narrow down some military titles.  A bunch of the characters are soldiers, so I spent some time clarifying their ranks.

Tyrant, City of Masks
Tyrant, City of Masks

Editing is the Long Con

I want to be a bit honest here, and talk about the length of time I’ve been working on this project.  I guess it’s been seven years since I first started writing this manuscript.  Seven long years.  That seems like too many.  I should be done, right?  Well, maybe.  But life has interjected a lot during the last five years, a couple of big moves, getting married, some trips, changing my day job.  Life stuff.  It slows down the writing, but what’s the point in writing at all if I’m not out living life, right?

It was probably four or five years ago when I finished the first draft.  Still slow, but it’s my first, give me some slack.  Then I started reworking scenes, changing things, getting it right.  Life happened, and I put it away for a bit.  I worked on some other pieces, some short stories and a novella.  I started planning out book 2.  My brain tried to get me to plan out book 3.  Life happened again.

Now, I don’t say these things as if they’re excuses.  I’m still writing.  I’ve a handful of shorts waiting in the wings.  The time has been good for my brain, and hopefully for my developing skill as a writer.  This latest edit has been the most productive and quickest one yet.  And, I’m pleased with it.  Actually, I really happy with where the manuscript is right now.

So, What Now?

Well, now I get some beta readers to give it a read through.  As they do that, I’m going to pick up what I’ve started on book 2.  And research some agents.  After some fresh eyes have passed over this thing I’m sure I’ll have another surge of changes, but I’m willing to see where it takes me.

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2 thoughts on “Editing Was Supposed to Make It Smaller

  1. It sounds like a lot of hard work and love has gone into your book! But it’s vital to write what you love, otherwise what’s the point? 🙂

    I’ve written my own epic fantasy book (it’s 160,000 words, so not quite as big as yours), which I self-published, since I knew no editor would ever consider publishing it. Over a year later, I’ve sold about 10 copies (mostly to people I know, only one of whom has actually read it!), but I’m still writing, because I love the world I’ve created, and I love my characters, and this is the story I want to tell.

    Like

    1. Thanks Louisa. Yes, a ton of love and hard work has gone into this so far. We might be working against all odds, but when it’s the story you want to tell, and characters you want to write about, I say go for it. Good luck with your own writing!

      Like

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