Over the last few weeks I’ve been editing Perfects for a second draft. I finished it over two years ago and it has sat in the metaphorical drawer waiting until I had time between uni courses to focus on it and apply what I learned from A215 to it.
As a re-cap, Perfects is an evolution of Exodus, which was my multi-threaded NaNoWriMo 2012 story of a mid twenty first century exodus of people from Earth into space as space travel became an order of magnitude cheaper. I decided when I re-looked at it that there was an interesting world there, but that the strands needed loads of work to knit together. One of the strands became the novella Crisis Point, which I released in 2013. Perfects followed a group of genetically engineered teenagers and twentysomethings living mainly in Cambridge. Their world is one where their creation was unlawful and their existence is stigmatised. I worked it up into a much longer story in 2013 and then parked it when I signed up for the Open University undergrad creative writing course (A215 – there’s a lot of material from that elsewhere on the blog).
With a couple of years worth of hindsight applied I can see from my editing process that it is very much a rough diamond. It’s a good story but there’s quite a bit of polishing to be done before I give it to anyone else to read, let alone pay for a professional editor. I’ve knocked over twenty thousand words off the original first draft and put all the remaining scenes in a sensible order. I’ve also made some notes on a paper version about things I want to amend for narrative consistency. Lastly I’ve identified the need for a couple more scenes to ensure there is a coherence to the plot.
On top of all, that I will also be going back through each scene to ensure that it comes from the most appropriate point of view, the perspective is right, there is a good balance of show vs. tell and that it either drives the plot along or adds to the story. I’ve marked a couple of the ranty internal monologues either to convert to conversations or simply remove them to my personal character background notes.
My original intention had been to serialise the novel, and I released a couple of parts as novellas not long after I’d written them. This version is longer and complete, it also has an earlier start point that explains the situation better. The first scene also starts with a bang (actually it ends with the bang, but it starts with the high jacking of an orbital science facility).
One consequence of all this activity editing perfects is that I’ve not been writing as much for the blog as normal on the train to and from work. So I’m low on blog posts. There might be the odd gap over the summer holiday period as time is spent on more editing and, more importantly, having fun with my family.
I was looking forward to the finished product but I agree with your reflection. Look forward to discussing it next week when I see you.