Wednesday, 21 August 2013

August 21st – 705,563

3,542 words today on a different story, picking up the unusual concept I had a quick 5,000 word start on about a fortnight ago. I had intended to just get close to the target, not try and go past it, so I could concentrate on my large edit task for the rest of the day, but the words just kept flowing, and I needed to get the scene complete, so I could move onto the next one, tomorrow – that one will set the tone for the rest of the book and as such will need a clear run at it.

That editing task is a major one, switching an 80,000 word book from this person to first person (as I’ve already explained, the first two books in the trilogy are first person, and writing this one in third person was a mistake – one I bitterly regret) is a huge undertaking.

If it’s not something you’ve ever thought about let me explain some, and only some of the steps. Since my viewpoint character is a woman, I have to look for every occurrence of both she and her name used to refer to herself – changing them to I. This results in a preponderance of I which means I’ll have to restructure some sentences to remove the pronoun. Since there are other women in the story, and she is often address by her name in dialogue, I can’t use a find and replace all mechanism.

Then once I’ve done that, I need to find every relevant reference to her, and change that to my or me, depending on context, again making sure I’m only changing references to the viewpoint character. There are several similar, albeit less used ones to change as well. Of course, don’t forget all the times I’ll have to change them to us too.

Finally I have to check the structure of every narrative sentence I change – there are subtle, and some not so subtle word changes required where the pronoun is first person rather than third person – especially with the more irregular verbs, and even some of the nouns used need to change as well.

Obviously I’ll be working on all of these simultaneously as I work through the manuscript, but at least most of the dialogue will be untouched, and this book is heavy on dialogue.

I’m not sure how quickly I’ll manage this – I’ve never had to do an 80k novel this way before, not in its entirety, but I suspect I need to focus on at least a couple of chapters a day, and hopefully as I get into the swing of it, even more than that. Given it’s 23 chapters long, that would take me close to 10 days, and hopefully less than that.

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