The Editing Update For Which No One Asked

Normally, my first (and, let’s be honest, usually only) post of the month is devoted to my goals for that month, but as my goals currently all revolve around my editing efforts (or lack thereof…), I’m just going to talk about that instead.

So…consider yourselves warned, I guess.

This is your last chance to cut bait and run.

I mean it. I’m going to talk about editing soon.

Like, right now.

So…here goes…

Okay, so as I mentioned in my last post, last month I broke out the red pens and blue highlighters and started reading through the first draft of Full Circle, the third book in my epic-ish fantasy series, The Coileáin Chronicles.

This is the first step in my revision process. I print out a hard copy of the manuscript and start reading it, making notes (many, many notes) about any mistakes I come across or anything at all I don’t like. It can be a sentence’s awkward phrasing, a weird word choice, out-of-order events that screw with the story’s flow, continuity issues, some stupid thing my characters do, some stupid thing my characters don’t do, characters who were somehow lost somewhere along the way and have to be found and worked back into the story, whatever.

One of the big things I’ve found myself dealing with in this particular story is that somewhere along the way, my plans for the overall arc of the story shifted, but not all of the narrative shifted with it. The first part of this book was especially guilty of this, so now the margins are littered with notes like, “BRING THIS SCENE UP TO CODE!” which I have apparently decided is my new phrase for ‘update your narrative’ because why write that when you can write ‘BRING THIS SCENE UP TO CODE!’?

But overall, it’s been…disheartening. I knew it was a first draft and would have all the problems that come along with a first draft, but even the stuff I thought might be kind of okay has been more…not okay. Which has been discouraging. So much so that the other night, I was getting ready to start reading a new chapter, read the first line, remembered what scene it was, and decided instead to make a list of my Top Ten Roy Kent moments.

So…yeah. The going has been slow thus far. But I am working on it, and I will (hopefully) be able to make things better in the next go-around. (I mean, it’s hard to imagine I could make them worse, but I probably just jinxed myself…)

The goal for February is to complete this first-round read through by the end of the month. Then comes the part where I have to start actually coming up with solutions.


Here’s hoping that February manages to last as long as January seemed to (seriously—did anyone else feel like January was, like, 9000 days long, or was it just me?) because I am afraid I shall need every day I can get. I’m gonna have to read the end of this book eventually, and I already know I wasn’t happy with that three or four months ago.

And on that happy note, here are the stats as they currently stand…

Editing Stats:

Total pages: 755

Pages read thus far: 410

Pages left to go: 345

Number of heavy sighs over stupid mistakes: Too many to count

But what all this means is that there’s still time (lots of time, really) to enter my super cool giveaway. And, really, who wouldn’t want to read this book after reading this post?

That’s going to do it for me today. Thanks for stopping by, all. It’s always appreciated.

Stay safe & well!

20 Commentsto The Editing Update For Which No One Asked

  1. Jemi Fraser says:

    I love hearing how other people write/edit.
    I’m currently reworking my first chapter – which for me means opening a new file and writing a new version
    Good luck with the edits!! I’m sure things aren’t anywhere near as dire as they feel at the moment!

    • M.J. Fifield says:

      I’m sure I’ll be rewriting a lot of scenes from scratch. I know ultimately the story will be better for it, but I am not looking forward to actually having to do it.

  2. I think I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, good luck!

  3. Ah, your pain sounds so much like mine. I wish you a whole lot of luck to get through it and I hope things start looking brighter for you!

  4. Considering I’ve forgotten what I wrote at the beginning by the time I reach the end, I can see your narrative going off kilter as well. You can fix it!

  5. Here’s my best to you on this editing process. It’s quite a chore, but when you’ve finished, you can pat yourself on the back!

  6. Liz A. says:

    Well, progress? At least that first draft is done? The solutions are there. You’ll find them eventually.

    So glad you’ve joined the Ted Lasso train. I was beginning to feel all alone out here. We totally need Roy Kent to balance Ted Lasso.

    • M.J. Fifield says:

      Oh, I am so on the Ted Lasso train. I really can’t wait for next season. I am dying to find out what will happen next.

  7. J E Oneil says:

    Up to code… I like it. I have a feeling I’ll use it a lot.

  8. Well, you’re over halfway there!

    • M.J. Fifield says:

      That was a surprise. Here’s hoping I can take advantage of that fact to finish the read-through this month.

  9. Kate says:

    You can do it! You’re already over halfway.

  10. mshatch says:

    Love it, and I can relate, having decided to remove a character and kill someone else off all of which resulted in 20k additional changes going back to the very beginning. Who knew there was a ricochet effect?
    Good luck!

  11. I also do a big print-up and red line edit in the early stages. I think it’s easier to catch mistakes that way. Good luck with bringing everything up to code!

  12. You got this!!
    Good luck with the writing/editing!

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