Several years ago while at Delia Sherman and Ellen Kushner’s house Delia showed me a manuscript of her novel marked up with her editor’s comments. She said, “Just in case you were curious what such a thing looks like.” I saw page after page of line edits marked in colored pencil. I recall suggesting that it didn’t look like too much work, and she said, “Oh, no, dear. It’s a whole lot of work.”
Boy was she right.
I recently received the edits for my first novel, KING OF SHARDS, coming in October from Arche Press. And while Darin Bradley opted to send me the edits via Word’s Track Changes feature, they were no less daunting than what Delia had suggested. The actual number of edits that Darin had were few. But it had been almost two years since I had looked at the manuscript in any kind of detail. Suddenly things jumped out at me that I wished to change. I have also recently started writing the second novel, and have developed my universes’s mythology to the point where I had to edit things in the first book to sync with the second. As I told Darin, while writing the first book I was in a sense finding my way through the mythology. And now that I have developed it significantly, a lot of those expositional passages can be trimmed if not cut. I killed my darlings, streamlined prose, and in general worked as hard as possible to make KING OF SHARDS as good as it can possibly be.
For the past three weeks, morning and night, with afternoons spent on the day job, I’ve gone through the book line by line, word by word. And now I’m on a much needed vacation. It’s been intense and exhilarating in all the good ways I imagined when I first thought I would like to write a book. I’m giving the book one more read through before sending it off to Darin. I imagine the adventure gets only more intense from here, but I’m looking forward to every minute of it.