In the last 10 days since I posted on here, I’ve edited the entirety of the Pen boys, and let me tell you, I’m freaking tired. When I started out, the first draft of Pen boys–and I’m really talking the first draft; I kind of edited it along the way, but like, not really at all–was 65 chapters and 188k words. Like. Who do I think I am? There was so much unnecessary nonsense in there. So much pure fan service to myself. It was also 640 pages double spaced when I printed it out, which is just obnoxious.
When I set out 10 days ago, I had three main goals in mind–cut words, fix pronouns, and what the hell with the plot. The pronouns were easy. Anytime I was even remotely unsure of who was talking, the pronoun got changed to a name. And this really doesn’t sound like something that should be one of my goals, but wow, it was so bad. I don’t know what happened to me in this novel, but I was a name-hater for some reason, and I just would not use my character’s names ever. Patrick probably had some of my favorite comments regarding this matter–WHO ARE THE HES?????? all over the place. It was something I made sure to pay attention to in Saints, and though it may still need some work, I’m confident that the second draft of Pen boys actually makes sense when you read it now.
The “what the hell with the plot” bit was kind of easy, too. In the end, a lot of fixing the plot tied into cutting words, but my number one thing that I needed to fix was the villain, Quinn. He starts out as basically Draco Malfoy, and then turns into a really bizarre version of Horace Slughorn, and then sporadically flip-flops between the two throughout about 80% of the novel until he just straight up Tom Riddle’s the shit out of everything at the end. So, I knew that, first, I needed to stop making HP references in the novel, and second, I needed to figure out what the hell Quinn was up to. I decided on one version of who I wanted him to be–turns out, he was none of the three–and really focused on making him make sense. Seems like a simple task, I know, but no one, including myself, knew what Quinn was up to in the first draft.
There were other, smaller things that needed to be reworked, too, or just deleted altogether. In the end, though, it was the cutting of words that turned out to be the most challenging. I axed a ton, and it’s still probably not enough. Pen boys started at 188k, and ten days later, I’ve cut 37k words, bringing me down to roughly 150k. But 37,000 words! That’s a lot! It really is. My biggest chapter, I honestly cut in half. It went from 8k to 4k, I’m not kidding. A lot of the overdone fluff between James and Oliver was taken out, the autumn equinox section was completely revamped, and, when I wrapped up, I’d gotten rid of six chapters in total. But still, my goal was 50k, and I’m short that, so I’m hoping that as Patrick and Chelsea continue to edit, they’ll point out some more places that can be tightened up, and eventually, this book will become a reasonable length.
At some point, I would like to talk about the editing process and what it looks like, but I only finished editing yesterday, and I’m exhausted. I haven’t been reading or watching my shows a lot, which usually gives me a lot of inspiration and get-up-and-go to write. I did do a lot of yoga this week, but even still–phew. I survived. I honestly didn’t intend to edit the entire thing in ten days. I gave myself a goal of three weeks, and then just got wrapped up in the magic. But now that it’s done, I’m going to celebrate by reading a heck ton of books and catching up on all my shows.
Until next time!