Last week my editor gave me back the copy edit for Little Paradise plus pages of notes. This is the Chan Buddhist – Chan means Zen in Chinese – stage in the evolution of a book where every word in every sentence is considered for its value to the story.
I love this part of the writing process. I love the fact that I have a collaborator, an outsider who is reading the story with fresh eyes. I’ve been working on this novel for 2 years and my eyes have grown old and tired. Editors are an author’s best friend. They work wonders, whipping your story into shape. I have now re-edited half the book and have sliced 5,000 words, including one whole chapter off the weight of the novel. Sometimes it hurts. But getting rid of unnecessary fat means that you end up with a leaner, healthier story.
There are also places where there are gaps so that more writing is required, and that’s what I did today – took myself off to my favourite cafe to write.