Tuesday, June 23, 2020

What I'm Doing

Someone asked me about the editing process for The Man You Trust.

I'm not sure how other people do it, but for me, there are two levels. The first is a factual level. Timeline details that need to be verified. Details that have to be checked (someone can't be drinking from a glass of water that they haven't been given). Checking for the frequency of phrases or body language to make sure that they haven't been overused. Checking descriptions to make sure they don't sound too similar.

The factual level is very list driven. I have a long, long list of things that need to be checked, established, or emphasized. It's relatively straightforward.

The other level is much more difficult (at least for me). I read through a chapter and feel the rhythm. The narrative should flow at a particular speed, unless there's a specific reason I want it to speed up or slow down.

What I do sometimes is try to get from Point A to Point B as a transition between two areas, but all I'm thinking about is the transition, not what the characters would actually be doing. When I write this way, the transition always feels incomplete and reads too fast.

In other words, it's wrong.

When I find one of these passages, it has to be fixed, and that can be surprisingly time consuming. It's like manually adjusting the speed of a record player while also writing the music that's playing. That's the best way I can describe it.

I've allocated 500 hours to do this. I think I spent about 1,000 on each draft. We'll see.

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