Edit, edit, edit & edit again……

Folder containing drafts, much used red pen.

In my last blog, on the dreamynomads site, I mention that I had finished my first draft on my book about our walk around the South West Coast path, and now onto the edit.

I had to think about how I was going to go about this task? I still have amount of research to add. Via the photos I took along the way to remind me of places, or situations I hadn’t added in the journal. Re-read the blogs we posted over the weeks, I know there are bits in them not added to the pink book. I’m also planning a trip back down to some of the places that interested me along the way to find out more about their history, and add to the photographs. I hadn’t planned on writing this experience into a book, although I have always wanted to be a writer, but of fiction.

As long as I can remember I wanted to be three things in my life, writer, fashion designer and ballet dancer. Now with dancing, as anyone that knows me will tell you I’m not exactly Twinkle toes. I did have ballet lessons at primary school, which I loved. For one reason or another I couldn’t go to college from school, but in my late twenties I did for two years’ full time and gain a BTEC in Fashion. But life yet again got in the way to continuing on once I had finished, but like with my writing, now picking up the fashion design again.

My first book & the pink walking journal.

Writing is something I have always done. Sorting out my stuff to move down to Dorset, I find my first book I had written at 11 years old, about a fashion show, surprise, surprise. While working as a model, and film extra I spent many hours on trains and on sets sitting around, where I would often write away, if I wasn’t having a laugh with the crew (we really do have the best film crews in the world in the UK), these pieces ended up in the bin. I didn’t felt that I could do it. Especially from my background, I hadn’t seen any successful authors (by successful I do mean being published, not famous) that came from a council house, secondary modern educated, or not educated. I wouldn’t call my school one that had ambition for their pupils, unless you were in the top tier. You were more likely to be shown how to fill in a UB40, than fill out a Job application form, or sent you to sign up for a YTS at £26 per week. I did get a place at the London College of Fashion subject to my reference from that school, the headmasters reply was I wasn’t worthy of the place.

In my thirties, I started to take creative writing lessons, not only enjoyed them, I had positive feedback on my writing. OK, still an unbelievable amount to learn, and maybe that was the problem. I hadn’t until now realised just how much I did and do need to learn. I also hadn’t taken on board just how many hours you need to put in to even get something worth a glance.

Writing the first draft didn’t take that long. I then had to think about editing. Instead of editing the whole book, I have decided to do around 5,000-6,000 words a time. For two reasons, I think I would at this stage lose my way if trying to edit 50,000 word, and secondly as mention I still have parts I want to add.

Over the last couple of years, I have made a real effort to learn the craft of writing, still in infants’ school of the schooling. One thing I have heard and read is the number of drafts writers do before even thinking about having someone else read it, let alone sending out to agents and/or publishers.

I think in the past I hadn’t fully understood this, until now. I’ve completed four drafts on the first 6,000 words. And that was hard going, but I now know worth it. The other thing I have learnt is it is invaluable to print off the computer, I can’t believe how many mistakes I had missed reading off the screen. The most important lesson I have learned is read it out ALOUD!

The start of the long edit.

I know once I’ve edited a number of times in chunks of 5/6,000 words and added the research, I will then need to edit the book as a whole, and as yet I have no idea how many edits that’s going to be, wish me luck, I’m going to need it……..

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