Sunday, 15 July 2012

Editing - aarrgghh...

100,000 words. 10,000 sentences. 30 chapters.

The editing process of a novel, particularly mine because it's so bad, is painful. Page after page of text, each needing careful review. Sentences need deleting, combining and constructing. Paragraphs need the same. You tackle each to the best of your ability, trying not to get frustrated with your own ineptitude. There are long pauses as you realise you've got a fatal flaw that needs a page of rewriting - I thought I finished the writing :-)

And then you get advice from one of the great modern writers - Kurt Vonnegut Junior. Have you read Slaughterhouse Five? Read it if you haven't.

Eight writing rules he provides. Number 4 reads: Every sentence must do one of two things - reveal character or advance the action.

Useful advice for the editing author. But bloody-hell, there are a lot of characters in my novel, including Melbourne. Who's to say that a paragraph of description isn't revealing it's character? The advice points out the two most important elements of the book - the characters, and what they do.

10,000 sentences provide a lot of opportunity to reveal character, and more than ample space to move the plot forward.

So, fellow writers, take the test. Do each of your sentences follow the rule?

Meanwhile, I'm going back to editing...


  1. Hi Robert,

    I like your site, you have some interesting posts. My site My Perfect Pitch compliments yours, consisting of interesting articles from a published author, plus a free resource of over 1000 traditional book publishers currently accepting submissions - the largest on the web. Keep up the good work.

    Regards, Brian

    1. Brian, thanks for the comment. I've checked out your site - and there are some interesting opportunities for traditional book publishing - thanks for the leads.