It is a satisfying moment, when you finally key in those two words–“The End.” Especially when your novel has stretched to 120,000 words or more. However, as with most things, the end is not really the end, but rather a beginning of the next phase of writing. I recently finished the third book of my “Song of the Arkafina” cycle, called “Birth of the Dawnmaid.” Before I start editing, I find it very helpful to create a little distance between myself and my work. This usually means working on some other projects for a few weeks. So I intend to begin the fourth book–“Beyond the Gyre,” today, as well as doing some research for another planned cycle of books that will follow “Song of the Arkafina.”

My first book, “Song of the Arkafina: Heart of Hythea” will be coming out before the end of the year, via Mushroom E-books. I spent a lot of time editing that one, because it was my first complete novel and because I didn’t really know what I was doing half the time. I got to the point where I believed it was all complete crap, so I had to put it aside for several months. I like editing, don’t get me wrong, but doing too much of it at a time can destroy your objectivity and make you grumpy as hell. Trust me. Having a writing buddy who is willing to be brutally honest with you is a great boon, because he or she can tell you when you are either too easy or too hard on your own work. I am lucky to have such a person in my life.

Here are my bits of wisdom for this post:

Do your editing in small chunks, with breaks in between to work on new material. This keeps you fresh.

Show your writing to someone you can trust and be prepared to accept criticism gracefully. If you have a writing buddy you can always revenge yourself on him/her when you critique their work.

Never erase edited text all together. Either save a new version or cut and paste chunks of text into a different file. I cannot tell you how many times I have gone back to something I thought I didn’t want.

More about editing next time!