Swoon Author Chani Lynn Feener's Editing Update: Closing Out a Chapter
Some people really love the editing process, but if you know me at all, or read one of my previous posts, you know I’m not one of them. Rewrites are great! They’re fun and I get to explore the world and my characters more, which is always fantastic. But editing… going through and working on sentence structure and whether or not this word works here or another would be better… not so fun for me.
What made doing the edits for Within Ash and Stardust even more difficult was knowing that it was the final book in the trilogy. On the one hand, I wanted to make sure it was perfect, which meant overthinking every detail, big or small. On the other, I knew once I was done… I was done. For good. These characters would have their ending and I’d be moving onto new ones—which is also really great and exciting, but I’m going to miss the old, you know?
Editing, like writing a first draft, works differently for everyone. Some people need to sit down and go through the whole thing, while others pick away at it. Personally, I edit it waves, and I give myself a strict schedule.
I start with adding new scenes, and/or moving old ones around. The first draft is almost never written exactly how it’ll end up in the final. Usually, I’ve got more to write to help flesh the story out as a whole, which is the fun part. After that, I like to do an entire read through, where I clean up some of the details and sentences and try to make sure it all flows better. This is also where I see if those new scenes work, or if I missed some important connecting detail. I’ve always got a check list to help me with this along the way. As I go through, I make sure everything I wanted to fix initially is, and that everything I wasn’t sure of was properly looked at.
Depending on the length of the book, I usually give myself 2-3 days for a read-through. And then once I’m done with it… I read through it again. I miss a lot of obvious small details during the first read-through, because I’m so focused on the plot and whether or not that works. By the end of this whole process, I hate my writing, and never want to see my book again. For Within Ash and Stardust, that kind of helped with letting go and moving on, at least.
I’m going to really miss this world and these characters, and I worked really hard to do them justice in this final installment. I really hope that once you guys get a chance to read it, you’ll think so too!