Like grains of rice in the carpet

I can’t even remember now how the rice got in the carpet. All I remember is that as hard as I tried to pick it up, it refused to gather together so I could get it all. I grew more and more frustrated, until I reached the point where I realised the only way I would ever succeed is not to try to get it all up at once, but to pick it up one grain at a time. By slowing down and doing it carefully like that, I achieved much more much faster than when I was trying to do it all at once.

It’s struck me that editing my novel is like that. I’m growing frustrated with trying to rearrange my messy, inconsistent draft into a coherent, logical whole, whereas what I should be doing is working on one area at a time. There’s no point in worrying what should happen at the end when I haven’t sorted out the beginning yet. My nano draft helped me to see my project in more depth than when I started, and the time I spend pondering different aspects (swimming is brilliant for this) brings in a deeper understanding of what I’m trying to do. Now I need to narrow my focus and start editing the opening scenes, to add the extra layers that are needed. Once that is straight (or at least straight enough for now), I can worry about the next, but not before.

Scrivener means that I can easily work on each episode/scene as I go through, considering what’s gone before and what needs to come next. I can make notes for myself on what needs to be done, and I can snapshot what I’ve got and decide whether it needs editing or completely rewriting. Once that scene is done, I can work on the next in line. That way, one episode at a time, I’ll get on much better than waiting until I’m completely happy with the overall structure – after all, the basics of that are already in, all that remains is to work out the details as I go through.

Unlike other projects, this one refuses to let me go. I’m starting to feel fond of the characters, and of their world. I’m trying to figure out the issues and implications. I’m constantly coming across news stories that feed into the topic of my novel. This one has a firm grip of me and it won’t let go.

So I guess it’s time I finished writing this and got on with editing instead.



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