I’ve said before and I’ll say again: editing is about the least desirable writing task for me that there is. Well, perhaps apart from the drudgery that is writing synopses. Unfortunately, there are times when a writer must go back over their own work and weed out the surplus words, correct the typos and forge the grammer into something that doesn’t make an English teacher whince.
That task is one that has caught up with me. I feel these days that some of my earlier books were not as good as they could have been. This was, in part, down to my hatred of editing. I went back some time ago and re-edited ‘Countdown to Extinction’ and although I would probably give it another pass with the red pen, it’s much better than it was. ‘Daytrippers’ too underwent a similar edit to its benefit. I still want to give another edit for a new edition to ‘The Atlantic Connection’ and ‘Syndicate Dawn’, but in being quite recent works I’m happier that my writing standard is a lot better than it was five or six years ago.
At the moment ‘Orb of Arawaan’ is the editor’s task. And as I am that unlucky editor, I suppose I ought to just get on with it without whinging too much. Actually, aside from the first couple of thousand words, it wasn’t as bad as I had feared. Those initial chapters were written originally, after all, way back in 1997 when the book was first conceived. The rest was written in 2004, and I guess I did rework that beginning then too, but obviously not well enough.
I’m about 33 pages in, out of a total of 294. Still, that’s some progress – it’s a long book I hear myself pleading. I’m afraid though that all the excuses under the sun don’t hide the fact that I would rather do anything than edit. Still it has to be done, and I am rigidly attempting to avoid all work avoidance schemes. It isn’t entirely successful though – I’ve already been spending a lot of the day conte4mplating model trains, playing with the cat and attempting to fix once and for all the curious smell of damp in one corner of the lounge.
And finally, why did my internal monalogue as I wrote this chose to take on the voice of Stephen Fry? It makes the mind boggle just at the thought.