Notes from editville: How do you eat an elephant?

[ photo: Elephant by Cmiper CC ]

Things are still going slowly, but they’re going. I’m 20 chapters deep into the first round of edits for a 34 chapter long novel. I’m over half-way there, but it really doesn’t feel like it. This is the part where I run out of steam (always) because there still is a lot of work ahead.

Right now I’m focusing on fleshing out character motivations, and fixing plot issues. So far I’ve had to write one new chapter and rearrange the second half of the book. It’s going to be a bumpy ride from here on out because major details had to be shifted to fit in the real historical timeline. I’m not sure if the pacing still works with these changes, so I’m keeping an eye on it. The most exciting bit so far has been figuring out the emotional character arc of the protagonist. She’s so flawed I’m not sure if she’ll come across as sympathetic, but that’s one of the best things about writing this book too.

You know how people say “The only way to eat an elephant is one spoon at a time.” Well, I’m a little tired of elephant by now. A little chicken or fish would be a nice change, but looking at all the stuff still left to get through really kills the appetite. But don’t worry, because this always happens somewhere along the line and it’s just par the course. Mostly I’m just getting impatient with myself.*

So, how goes it in your neck of the woods?

*No actual elephants were harmed in the creation of this novel, but metaphor was badly abused.

12 Comments to “Notes from editville: How do you eat an elephant?”

  1. I’m slowly, slowly, slowly reconnecting with my writing. Late January and early February saw some work on the short story that I last worked on after finishing the first draft. I started doing some notes to improve the plotting and focus in on characterization. Then the Olympics happened. I can’t write with the TV on, so those couple weeks were mostly lost, writing-wise. (I can, however, read with the TV on, so toward the end of the Olympics I basically finished the book I was reading.)

  2. I no longer hate every syllable of what I write. It’s only every third syllable or so. So…progress? 🙂

    I have most of a novel in my head, but the problem with mine is that nothing that threatens the stability of our dimension happens (as it does in most urban fantasy novels), and I worry that no one will want to read it.

    1. T. S. Bazelli Author

      Yeah I’d say so! I really don’t like reading my writing after its done, so I usually put of edits as long as I can… really doesn’t help any. You’re not alone with that!

      I think that’s a-okay. Not all books have to have world destroying stakes, or what would you do in a sequel? hehe

  3. Well, if I can abuse your metaphor a bit more, I would imagine the main thing about eating an elephant is making sure it doesn’t eat you (or at least stomp on you) first. As long as you’re doing the eating, you’ll get there.

    A guy walks into a deli and asks for a whale tongue sandwich. The man behind the counter says they’re out. “You’re out of whale tongue?” the customer demands. “No, we’re out of those really big rolls.”

    (I’ve always liked that joke — but I’m sick right now so I take no responsibility.)

  4. I’m often the same way when it comes to edits — so excited and energized at the beginning, and then just wanting to be finished once it hits the midway point. It sounds like you’re doing great work, though, so keep reminding yourself of that! 🙂

  5. Oh elephant. The whole publishing industry is like a giant wooly mammoth that you have to eat, with one of those taster spoons from an ice cream shop.

    Guess we better learn to like the taste. 😉

  6. You’re making some headway, that’s all that counts. You’re going about it the right way too. It gets daunting when you look at all 34 chapters. I’m the same way. It’s so easy to just step away because you run out of energy.

Comments are closed.