Editing is hard. This is nothing new to me. So then why am I having such a difficult time slogging through my second book. Everything is written. All I have to do is apply the editing techniques I learned editing my first book.
Easy. Right? RIGHT!?
No. I'm about 50k words into editing now, but it hasn't gotten any easier, in fact, it might be getting harder.
Point of View
An invaluable lesson I learned during my first book's editing phase came directly from my editor. While most of my story was told from Darr's point of view, I had more than a few other characters' POV peppered throughout. My editor reminded me that I'm telling a story, and in this case, I'm telling Darr's story.
That wasn't to say I couldn't switch POVs if I had to, but I found many that were unnecessary, specifically they merely told a side to the story that Darr couldn't see or hear. But that good, right? In my case, and you could argue in all cases of POV change, that you lose the reader when you do this. That's fine if what you have to say is monumental to the story, but if you're just filling in more details, you risk slowing the story to a crawl.
Book two has these same problems. Makes sense since the entire series comes from the same draft. What's really slowing me down in the sheer frequency of POV switches. Book two deals with a war taking place on multiple fronts, shifting from one POV to the next. I'm currently finding my focus and figuring out the story I want to tell, cutting free the detail that will only slow the story. It's tricky work, but an invaluable lesson on writing and storytelling.
Time and Effort
Editing take a lot of time and effort. If I merely had to scan through the pages looking for missing punctuation or words, I could've been done months ago. But the kind of editing I'm doing, much like my first book, involves a lot of rewriting and scrutiny. Do I leave something out? Do I put something in? Do I really have to rewrite this entire chapter?
These types of edits don't flow easily, at least not for me. This isn't the kind of writing where I have a story I want to tell and I can simply make the words appear. I've already written the story. I just have to tell it differently. Between blog posts, marketing, work, family, and editing, I can't remember the last time I wrote "just to tell a story".
My latest hurdle is one of my own making. Many of the decisions I've had to make concerning POV and balancing my time have resulted in paralyzing stress. Some nights I'll stare at the screen, trying to get my bearing while thoughts pour through my head about how I should arrange a chapter or eliminate a paragraph.
But I'm continuing to learn. I'm moving forward (as a certain little boy taught me recently). The stress, I'm sure , is natural. The lesson is to manage it, rather than give in to it.