Editing Elemental Affinity

My current ‘big push’ is to get the third in the Cortii series, Elemental Affinity, beta-read ready by the end of April.

This is currently showcasing the Sisyphean ‘one step forwards, three giant steps back’ syndrome. One step forwards: I edit a bit. Three steps back: I realise that the scene that’s been bugging me really needs to be written in right there, and I add a couple of thousand words … that need editing. Of course the little suckers do.

While Elemental Affinity isn’t quite as challenging to edit as Fighting Shadows was – I haven’t yet had to dismantle the entire book into its various storylines and quite literally reassemble it from the ground up – it’s still, at its heart, a story I wrote in my teens, which means that while the plot is sound, there’s a whole lot of clunky dialogue, omniscient POV slipups, etc., etc., that needs dealing with. Twenty years older and at least better-informed, I read that MS and realise that I either get into it up to the armpits, or it’s never going to meet my standards for actual publication.

I’m trying to look on the bright side of this. That being, at least these days I do spot those things in my own work. I know a hell of a lot more about the technical side of writing then I did aged sixteen. (Possibly because, ironically, English Lit classes sent me to sleep.) However, as my general point of view is more based in reality than optimism, looking on a point of view that bright is making my eyes water.

However, the new scenes are awesome. They’re replacing clunkers I wrote by torchlight and in class while sleep-deprived, and they’re helping me get back into that book and the characters at that point in their timeline. This last is occasionally problematic for me as I have a terrible habit of editing one book, but writing the one about five books ‘ahead’ of it in the series timeline.

The carrots I’m holding out to myself are that I have the cover art for Elemental Affinity already, and it’s another awesome job from Joshua Jadon Design, and also, once I edit this book, next up is Elemental Conflict, which brings the drama in a big way and which I haven’t touched in several years. They’re good carrots – and unlike poor old Sisyphus, I know that sufficient hair-tearing later I will have an edited novel.

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