Taking Out The Editing Chainsaw

original photo by juhansonin

I’m working on a novella for self-publishing experimentation. My working title thus far is Three Days of Night. No, it’s not about vampires. Or the devil. It’s a science-fiction romp on a distant planet taken over by a cult. It’s about women and power and rebellion. It’s also a huge mess.

The work naturally lends itself to be broken up into three parts. On Monday, I finished the first part. Well, the draft anyway. And I’ve started editing. Which a lot of people would call crazy.

There’s a whole school of thought surrounding messy drafts, and telling yourself the story first, and crying out the word-tears until you can cry them out no more.

This approach has its merits. It’s also not what I’m doing right now. I’ve been doing this long enough to know that if my beginning isn’t right, no amount of work is going to get me to a satisfactory ending.

This seems to be a genre-specific thing, however. In college, I worked on the beginning of my big, plotty sci-fi screenplay for almost three months. Then I banged the rest of it out in that many days. No kidding.

For me, it definitely has a lot to do with world building. Looking at my editing notes on my rough draft, most of my notes have to do with questions about my world. And that very likely has to do with why I need to get my beginning down: how can I tell an effective story if I don’t know the rules I’m playing by yet?

Also I realized something neat I did by accident. My heroine has something funky going on with celestial beings. Like stars and shit. And now that I know that, I can use that in the next 2/3rds of my draft.

I’ll share some excerpts later. Promise.

Share your thoughts. Go on, do it.

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