“As a writer you ask yourself to dream while awake.”
First, a disclaimer: it’s about a zillion degrees in Pennsylvania (okay, ninety-five, but the heat index is over a hundred and that’s close enough to a zillion, right?), I spent so long editing today that my eyeballs feel like they might start bleeding at any moment, and the combination of the two aforementioned things is giving me an oh-so-lovely headache. Therefore, this post may or may not make an iota of sense. Consider yourself warned.
I wanted to talk a little about how SOT’s revisions are going, though. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I find drafting to be infinitely more fun than editing. It’s not that I don’t enjoy polishing a story, tightening it up and removing all the excess, but nothing compares to the pure joy and exhilaration of spinning those first words across the pages. I will always love the writing most. And still, something funny is happening this time around … I’m actually having a blast going through every chapter. I’m devoting a day to each, which feels tedious at times but also lets me really focus on getting out every last deletable piece. My goal has been to cut five hundred words per chapter, and with the exception of three days, I’ve been reaching that. Most times I end up over six hundred. Today? Nine hundred and twenty two. I might have cheered upon checking the word count. Ha.
This draft was much more concise than my others from the get-go. And still, I’m finding lots to cut. Maybe that’s because I’ve had so much practice editing over the years. Maybe it’s because I no longer loathe the ‘delete’ key. Maybe it’s because I’ve learned that while the individual trees are important, so is the forest … and while the forest is important, so are the individual trees. Sometimes less really can be more – and sometimes less means you can actually add to a manuscript during edits instead of only chopping. Can I just tell you guys how EXCITING it is to be able to do that this time? Having the wiggle room to throw in some new quirks, some new ideas, some new passages … it has been absolutely awesome. It might mean that I get distracted looking at pictures of emerald and diamond eternity bands on Google (Charlotte’s getting one that matches her engagement ring from fifty-six years earlier, and I am totally jealous. That’s normal, right, to be envious of fictional characters?), but that’s okay. Fun, fun, fun.
So far I have gone through thirteen chapters (out of thirty-five) and deleted over eight thousand words. That puts me on track to surpass my target word count goal by more than five thousand. Of course that may change as I continue working – there are definitely some chapters that are longer and have less to cut – but still, I’m quite pleased with how things are progressing on the editing front. Completely makes the eye strain worth it. I’ve been so enthusiastic about this book since the very beginning, and I swear, it’s somehow increasing daily. I genuinely love this set of characters and can’t wait for the chance to share their stories.
The only problem? Remi and Eli live in Nantucket. Charlotte and Nolan live in Atlantic City. Hanging out in their worlds every day isn’t exactly aiding my desire to ride out this heat wave at the shore. If only I could win the lottery already and buy that beach house … ;-) In the meantime, I’ll “settle” for dreaming while awake: not only of glistening ocean waves and a sea breeze twisted with salty ribbons, but also of this book. Because, truly … even editing it feels like a dream-come-true.