Sunday, May 16, 2010

Editing Progress Report #3

Many writers talk about being in the zone while they write, especially when creating new work. I’ve experienced this somewhat over the years, but a long immersion in my work is a rare event. On average, my focus lasts twenty or thirty minutes a couple of times a day. My mind’s always pulled away by my kids, errands, day jobs, housework, driving, cooking and so on. Certainly, my thoughts drift to writing projects now and then, especially while washing dishes, but those thoughts don't last more than a few moments.

For the first time, though, I think I understand what it means to really be in the zone. Since I began the editing process five weeks ago, I’ve rarely stopped thinking about this book. New ideas and improvements are popping up all the time.

Five weeks ago, I never dreamed of the changes I’ve come up with over the past two weeks. My editor says I’m making great progress and she’s pleased with my suggestions so far. Over the past four days, I’ve edited chapters 7, 8 and 9 and will begin chapter ten later today. Chapter 7 took two full days of work because I was cutting a character whose purpose can be transferred to another character. It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. Once I started incorporating my ideas with my editor’s and tried to simplify the chapter, I quickly realized it was going to take a lot of concentration and several run-throughs in places.

This week, I’ll be sending my editor the first eleven chapters to read through to see how the edited version reads. It’s a third of the book and if the changes are good, the next eleven should go by fairly smoothly. On the other hand, who knows how many new ideas will pop up the next time I’m washing dishes?

As always, my amateur sleuth, Vancouver-based, Alex Bellamy mysteries can be purchased at


Frank Zubek said...

I was surfing around the kindleboards and was exploring the webpages and found yours. It looks interesting so I'll tag it as a favorite for now.

I am editing my work as well and I thought I might suggest a tip for interested writers.

I have been making hardcopies of each chapter and then going line by line with a pen

It really helps and you can see any and all mistakes that way . (reading your work out loud is also a good way to spot clunky material)

Just saying....

Anyway, good luck with all your individual works

Frank Zubek

Debra Purdy Kong said...

Thanks for your comments, Frank, I also print out copies of every draft, especially the ones with lots of changes, then go over it with pencil in hand. Reading your work on paper and reading it on a computer screen are two very different things. And I still love working with a pen and paper.