Last Friday I reached the next stage in my editing process of book 2. I was so excited to crack on that I did half an hour over the next few evenings before getting back into routine on Monday. I haven’t had a splurge like that for a while and it felt great.
I don’t have a specific editing process, or even a writing process, as yet for my books. I am still finding my feet, figuring out works best for me and each individual book. Because book 2 has been very different to writing and editing book 1. Book 1 I always had a plan. I had left it a long time before writing a second draft that when I came to write it I knew exactly where I wanted it to go. Yes, there was still a hell of a lot of editing but I never doubted myself. When I ‘checked’ it against various plot outlines it flowed in all the right places. Book 2 has always had a life of it’s own.
I wrote book 2 during Camp NaNo last April. I left it a good few months before picking it up again, concentrating on getting book 1 ready for submission. When I did pick it up again I read it through. I have heard people say you should just readthrough and not make any notes or comments, but I can’t do that. My red pen is alive and I am prone to forgetfulness. If I see a typo or read something ridiculously cliche or ‘what on earth did I write that for?’, or find a glaringly obvious contradiction, I need to make a note of it there and then. So that is what I did, having typed out my MS and printed it out, each page is now covered with notes, crossings out, ‘REWRITE THIS SENTENCE/PARAGRAPH/CHAPTER’. There was even a scene I had completely omitted to write in the fast-paced flow of NaNo. This happened when I wrote book 1 too, although I think the scene I did not write then was more because I didn’t think I could do it justice, because it was on my very detailed plan. This one in book 2 was just plain oversight.
However, once I had finished this process I put the MS aside. I didn’t want to, I spent days picking it up and just staring it, willing it to come alive in all it’s true perfection. But obviously, that did not happen. So in the end, I did what it wanted me to do and just ignored it for a few months.
Picking it up again, I tried a different tactic. I plotted it against an outline to see how it fell. At the same time, I plotted book 3 against one too, trying to figure out if they would make more sense as one book. Because my biggest issue at the time was that book 2 ends on something of a cliffhanger. Nothing dramatic. The story has been rounded up, but it leads on to the next one immediately. Despite my doubts about my plot, the flow of the story was good with regard to plot turning points, etc. I felt better about that and set myself the task of writing the synopsis for the book. Never an easy task and nowhere near polished it did identify the key difficulty I am having with this book – multiple POVs and storylines. Actually, the POVs I feel pretty comfortable with, it is the multiple storylines which feel quite disjointed, like there is too much going on. But at this stage, everything is important to the overall story.
The rainbow bridges that unite the realm of Kisan-ru are open once more, but the realm is still not at peace. The answer to peace – or so Selene believes – is to kill Electra and to do this she must return to the realm on the other side of the rainbow.
But things are never this simple when soul-destroying monsters haunt the night, civil war wreaks havoc through one of the kisan, and the guardian of Kisan-ru is searching the realm for the scattered remains of their true enemy and has not told Selene all she needs to know.
Because when Selene kills Electra things do not go to plan. The two girls are connected by more than they could ever know and Electra, unable to die by anything other than natural means, is sent to the guardian of Kisan-ru to be saved, as Selene is hunted down to meet her own punishment.
Selene will not accept that what she did was wrong and she demands answers, learning that Electra’s death is not the only thing that will bring peace. The guardian of Kisan-ru must also be at peace with herself. But this can only happen if the true enemy is put back together again. Any chance of eternal peace could be destroyed in an instance, but it is a risk the guardian must take if Kisan-ru is to exist at all.
As the enemy grows in strength, the guardian falls. She is sent beyond the shadows to the place where it all began. But so long as one true believer exists, she and Kisan-ru can both be saved. In the search for peace, Kisan-ru has entered its final age of darkness.
When I sat down last weekend I felt ready to crack on with editing each chapter in turn. My red pen went wild on chapter 1 and it has been much improved. I have sorted an issue I was having with POV, which was the main problem with this chapter. I also realised, although I don’t feel chapter 1 has this problem, that I have been withholding information – as book 2, I need to provide enough information that the book holds it own, but not too much that the reader (and I) get bored. (I once read a comment of someone who said the first draft of their second book in the series felt like fanfiction of their first – at the moment, book 2 feels something like this.)
As excited as I am about editing each chapter in turn, I am wondering if this is the best tactic right now. I think what I actually need to do is research multiple storylines and POVs, and sequels before I go any further.