It occurred to me this morning that there was a photo missing from my last post, which illustrated an absolutely critical part of the process. Here it is:
This is a page chosen more or less at random, during the second six month rewrite, after I had signed my deal with Amy. I am hopeless at editing on screen – I need a pen, paper, and lots of time. (And quiet.) And then I do this sort of thing. Whether you call it fine pruning or hacking with a machete is, I suppose, a matter of opinion.
One of the reasons I wanted to post this photo is that this kind of close editing is one of the most enjoyable parts of the process for me. The careful chipping away of unnecessary words, the cleaning up of infelicitous syntax, the hunt for clarity – all these things are immensely rewarding. The only downside to it is that it is a never-ending process. I know that if I were to pick up the book today I would still find things I’d like to change. But I cannot. I am learning to ignore those little voices in my head. My work here is done.