Being an author isn’t always easy and it’s not always writing, either. I’d say I spend as much time editing as I do writing. Possibly more. On average – if left alone, with no writer’s block – it takes me about 2 months to write a book. I did once write an entire first draft in one week, which is my quickest, and the second quickest is a month. Both were YA novels and I already had the main plot idea well developed in notes.
However, editing gets harder, the more you learn about it. For example:
When I first started, editing was about reading the story 3-4 times and trying to spot all the grammar, spelling mistakes. I got irritated because once you make changes, you then have to read it again, to make sure your changes make sense and haven’t just added in more mistakes. Back then, I barely had to do any promoting/social networking, because I was still figuring it all out. I had plenty of free time.
A while ago, about 3-4 books ago, I started implementing ‘repeat words’ into my editing schedule. You can see the post I wrote about that here. I now have a list of over 100 words that are unnecessarily used/repeated far too often in my work. It’s all part of the learning curve, so I keep it in a spreadsheet and refer to it only after the entire book has been written. Then I do a ‘search’ and ‘replace all’ – I check each use of the word individually and, if I don’t need it, replace it with an empty ‘replace’ box, to add an extra space. Then the fix is simple – when I’m done, I replace all double spaces with single spaces. Voila! Sorted.
Now, I’ve also learned to remove the unnecessary gaps between scenes. It was part of my OCD-writing style. I generally write one doc page, have a gap, then continue. No idea why, but that’s what I did. And each chapter had to be no less than 4 pages and no more than 6. I’ve broken both those habits just recently. Now I also spot plot gaps/character name issue and such much more easily, as I read the story. I’ve also learned to use the right capitalisation for the ‘he said’ parts. It took me a while, because I don’t retain that sort of language information easily, due to my conditions.
So this year, I’m focusing on implementing my new editing changes into my work. Already I’ve done 2 short novellas and a novel. I now need to go through all finished stories and fix them too, so I have a lot of work to do. I also have around 6 books coming out in the next 6 months, and twice as many to write.
So here’s my current schedule for this year (very hopeful, but it gives you an idea of what’s waiting for me) These are all the completed books that don’t need any major rewrites. I probably won’t get it all done this year, and there are more on top of this list, but these are the ones that I really want to focus on.
Editing (in order of importance):
- An Unpredictable Life
- The Secrets of Avelina Chronicles, books 3-6
- The Belesone Pack, book 3 “The Beta and His Angel”
- A Royal Craving
- Decadent, book 3 “Right Kind of Wrong”
- Following Orders
- Evanders, book 1 “Blood In, Blood Out”
- Go Hard or Go Home
- The Trade
- Surrender to Love
- Esthim, book 1 “Esthim”
- Esthim, book 2 “The 1st Six Months”
- Cacodemon, book 1 “Deal With the Devil”
Writing (in order of most work needed):
- The Devereaux CaseFiles, books 1-11
- Between Darkness and Dawn
- The Burden of Secrets
- Sold, books 1-3
- Losing Her Wings, books 1-3
- FTM, books 1-2
- The One Who Got Away
- The Underground
- Decadent, book 4 “Underneath It All”
- Cacodemon, book 2 “Endless Hunger”
- Evanders, books 2-3
- The Triple Threat Trilogy, books 2-3