As I’ve mentioned before, February is my big Editing Month. I’m not overly familiar with editing – I have a rather limited attention span, and once I finish the first draft of any story, my mind is already on my next project. Resisting temptation is not my forte, to put it mildly. Now that I’ve done NaNoWriMo for so many years, the tendency is even stronger. Because of that, I misjudged completely just how much time I really need. I doubled the time I would estimate for a first draft, and should be at chapter ten or eleven by now. I’m at chapter four.
Editing is much harder than I thought it would be. In comparison first drafts are easy. You’re just getting it written and don’t need to worry about mistakes, if you manage not to get overly self-critical. Revising the plot (finding and filling plot holes, mostly, and fixing the “oops, I changed my mind” parts of the story) is harder. But the second draft is hard. How do I write that long period of time in which nothing exciting really happens, but which is important, without infodumping or leaving out crucial parts? How much do you show, and how much can you tell? My biggest challenge is that I easily visualize settings and scenes, but I find it hard to “see” how characters behave when it comes to those little things.
My favourite out of all my writing flaws is the glances. My characters always exchange glances and send very significant looks towards someone, or their eyes are <insert adjective here>. The looks are long, meaningful, quick, blank, confused, threatening and a whole heap of other things, but I doubt you could ever distinguish all that in real life, particularly if you don’t know the person. I can tell when my friends think I’m stupid or unreasonable (it’s not a very subtle look), or when someone is surprised, very happy, sad or angry, but that’s about it. And even then, eyes never act on their own. I’m not particularly good at reading people, especially those little things that people do (except if they are annoying things), so perhaps it makes sense that I struggle with writing people. (You should really think that a person who draws people so often would find those things easy, but alas)
Another problem area of mine is transitioning from one scene to another, particularly when they sort of belong together. I also struggle with not overexplaining things, or not repeating myself too much. I try to vary, both in sentence structure and dialogue and descriptions, but so far it doesn’t go too well. I struggle with making my character sound distinct from each other too.
At this point it’s probably smart to remind myself that it IS only a second draft, the first second draft I’ve written in nearly ten years. Of course it’s going to be hard. But it’ll be all the more satisfying afterwards. I hope.