My Chaotic Editing

So I’ve come to the editing process now and despite what I’ve heard, it’s not as bad as people say…

It’s worse.

But my problem isn’t a deep emotional attachment to the words I have written on the page. I mean, I like the words, but I’m also ok with cutting them when I need to. As I’ve mentioned before, this is my first time really writing fiction, so I have no idea what I am doing.

No, I have two problems with editing:

1. Word count. From everything I’ve heard, word count matters a TON, especially when dealing with YA fiction. Maybe I’m wrong, but I was told that there are some agents/editors/publishers out there who will auto-reject anything that is outside of the acceptable word count range. Which, in the case of my book, is 50k-90k. When I finished my rough draft, I was just over 89k words. Fine. According to everything I’ve heard, it’s pretty typical to cut a large chunk from the rough draft. But then I started editing, and I asked a few people (two–two is a few right?) to read the unpolished draft. Consensus? It’s good, but add more to this. Or: good, but flesh out this character some more. Or: I want to know more about this. I’ve started taking their suggestions and now I’m just over 90k words. I’m going in the wrong direction for word count. I must be doing something wrong.

2. My style. When writing, I’m not a plotter, but I’m also not entirely a pantser. I have a decent idea of where my destination for a section (or the entire book) is, and then I just start writing to figure out how to get there. That style doesn’t work for editing. Each time I sit down to do some editing of my book, I feel like I’m just starting and stopping and have no real focus or direction in the editing. I’ve started at the beginning a couple of times. I’ve started at random spots throughout the book. I’ve even started at the end (a suggestion from my father-in-law which did give me different perpective, but still didn’t feel right). I have a chaotic nature, which is fine for the writing, but I have no idea how to do the editing. Methodically going through the book just doesn’t seem to work for me.

So now, I’m going to go back through and do some more editing. I’m going to try to use the notes I took from when I discussed it with my wife (one of my alpha [even earlier than beta] editors). But even that leads me to my other problem…when am I done?

When does the editing process finish? I feel like I can always find a word to change, a phrase to expand on, or a scene to cut. When do I move on from this phase.

Can it be soon please? 🙂

Thanks for reading!

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