I spent some time yesterday editing Ketha’s Daughter, instead of getting started on Book IV, which will be called Beyond the Gyre. I always have trouble with the first chapter of a book, just because it is the beginning of such a huge time investment. Not that I don’t enjoy writing, I do! But editing is something that can be done in little chunks, whereas writing, at least for me, is best accomplished in marathon sessions. Usually six to eight hours a day when doing the first draft. My family gets heartily sick of it, I can tell you.
But all this procrastinating won’t get me anywhere.
I did want to mention one of the best editing tools out there though–the human voice. When I finished Heart of Hythea, and I wanted to find out what people thought of it, I put it out chapter by chapter as a podcast on I tunes. It was a lot of fun to do, and it was downloaded by a few thousand people, some of whom did indeed leave helpful comments.
But the main advantage was that as I was recording the text and listening to the playback I found it was much easier to pick out awkward sentences and find places where the narrative did not flow well. Reading out loud works too, but not as well as listening to playback.
I continue to read my work and record it, but I haven’t done another podcast. Yet.
In case any of you are wondering how I manage to write when there is the chaos of a full household going on all around me, then I will give you the answer–headphones and music. Sometimes classical; right now I am listening to Bedrich Smetana’s String Quartet #1 in E minor. More often I listen to popular music sung in languages other than English. That way it provides a nice background, without me being distracted by words I know, and wanting to sing along. My favorites at the moment are Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Morten Harket.
Music however does not prevent me from being distracted by the cat–a large fluffy Maine Coon called Edmund. He keeps stepping on the keyboard and trying to bite me so I had better get him something to eat!