I’ve done loads more editing tonight (old novel). I’m still to reach the bits which need more substantial rewrites – for now it’s simply choosing what to do with each individual sentence change or deletion, and often putting them in slightly amended again, as well as responding to suggestions in the margins with new or changed lines of dialogue. It’s all a bit fiddly, partly because I have two windows open – one with the original document and one with the amended one with ‘track changes’ on it. This is the way I like to work, so that I physically have to write any changes myself into my original, master file. It makes me read everything over more, rather than blindly hitting accept or decline for each amendment. I’m sure it takes much longer this way, but that doesn’t matter – the end result is the important thing.
One of the changes to a forthcoming section involves writing one character out completely and replacing her with another. This is one of those ‘Mike, you absolute fucking idiot’ amendments that already seems so right and obvious that I can’t believe I never thought of it. One character didn’t work as well as I’d hoped, the other character was underused, and reintroducing the latter gives me plenty of opportunities for conflict and intrigue and general coolness. One of the main advantages of having new eyes looking over things is that nothing’s sacred or left off the table. If something doesn’t work, I have to justify its inclusion.
So I’m pretty pleased with how it’s all going so far. I’m sure I’ll run into a brick wall at some point, as I probably haven’t figured out all the consequences of a couple of the changes, but for now this draft’s coming along great.