Torture at its finest, the slow edit is by far my least favorite stage of writing a book. In happier news, starting in January, I will begin querying literary agents. It’s an exciting time, but necessarily accompanied by the most grueling edit I’ve done yet: the slow edit. The slow edit only becomes necessary in the final stages before submissions. There’s no point doing one if you still have major content changes to make. However, at my current stage of development, it’s all I have left.
The slow edit is, in essence, the final edit where every single word must be studied for any typos, grammar or sentence structure problems. It’s the last time, so it becomes extra important. In the early stages, you can edit faster because you’re more focused on the story than the individual words.
Most of the literary agents that I am submitting to only want between 5 and 25 pages with the query, and some want no pages at all. Yet, I am carefully doing a slow edit on the whole book BEFORE submissions, hoping that someone will LOVE what I send them and immediately request the whole book. Because I’ve read many, many, many articles on what literary agents are looking for in a query, I know that if someone’s whole book isn’t ready when they request it, they will drop your query immediately.
Some people, like Veronica Roth, enjoy editing. I think they’re crazy. Editing is a rough heap of questions like: how did I miss that until now? And: why did I think that was a good idea? No fun, but quite necessary.
NaNoWriMo is over, and with it went my motivation. December 1st was supposed to mark the end of working on my intermediary Space Cowboy project and the first day back editing my Epic Fantasy project for the third round of revisions. Here’s the catch: 50,000 words does not a book make. My NaNo book needs at least another 30,000 words before it is complete, and I don’t want to stop yet. I am on a roll! The first draft isn’t really done. And that is why I felt NO sense of accomplishment after winning NaNoWriMo. It’s really unfortunate, actually.
In truth, I should have foreseen this. Projects are always more fun when they’re new, and I’ve been working on my Epic Fantasy for several years. I’m not ready to go back, but I know I have to. In December, I will have several weeks off of work and want to use that time to make any final revisions on my Epic Fantasy story. This is because I really want to start querying agents in January (February at the very latest).
Although, I will be honest- now that I put that down in writing, I begin to wonder: what’s the rush? I obviously want my book to be perfect, that’s no surprise, but probably, in the back of my head, I know I’ll always want to tweak it and at some point, I should just get it out there! I will definitely start editing this month, but I think it will be good to stay flexible and know that it will be ready when it’s ready.
And perhaps, while I’m editing Book A, I can keep writing chapters and snippets of Book B. The only one saying ‘no’ to me is me!