I didn’t think I would be doing another series of The Editing Diaries. Fool that I was, I thought I had learned so much the first time round that I wouldn’t have that much to share. (This is just one of many examples of my not-so-youthful hubris.) So when I settled down to edit part I of my Morgawse, Queen of the North trilogy, The Empty Throne, I thought, dear readers, that I knew it all.
Spoiler: I knew it only some.
Working closely with an editor the first time was great, and I felt like I learned so much about my own writing process. Not necessarily what to write, but how what I had written could be reshaped into something better. That it was OK to cut (and that cutting is the most important part of editing), and that sometimes it just helps to have someone confirm what you know. It’s easy to become self-indulgent when you’re writing for yourself (which is how I started out) and sometimes you just need to kill those darlings! (Sorry darlings.)
The lessons learned this time were very different, and I’ll come to them properly one by one. But overall, without being too lifelong-learning-y about it, my first experience of it was that realisation that there is always more to do. I thought that I had learned so much from editing the Morgan trilogy that I would have this down in a cinch. I worked through my early draft of The Empty Throne, and I thought to myself, I thought: Oh, ho, ho. Joe will be so impressed with me; he will have almost nothing to change. Ho, ho. (Joe is the name of my editor. Hello, if you’re reading this – and thank you.) Well, dear readers, I’m afraid I was rather wrong. Because, you see, what good is an editor who thinks that everything you have written is fine? I’m a big fan of taking a critical view of my own habits (most of which are awful – life habits, I mean, like only doing the washing every two weeks when I run out of clothes), but that doesn’t make it the most pleasant process. An editor’s job is to point out when you can be better, so when you think you’ve taken on the lessons from the first one, you’re giving them the chance to make the next one (hopefully) even better.
And that’s what’s been so great about the second phase of this, I think. I’m certainly getting different comments and advice from what I had for Morgan. And these are worth sharing again, and I am going to share them with you. I hope you’re going to enjoy them!
Love from Lav xxx
Morgawse I, The Empty Throne, out now!