Bust of young Alexander, Pella
I'm starting my final round of edits and cutting of my novel "Shadow of the Lion" before handing it over to the professional editor. It's been a long, difficult job going through it starting with all the workshopping and rewrites I did while writing it, followed by the first reader's critique. Then, when I'd gone through editing her suggestions, another reader's critique with more detailed corrections. That editing was strictly focusing on more cuts, spell checks and line edits. Now I'm going through it again to see what more I can cut, as somehow in spite of dropping whole chapters the word count doesn't seem to shrink as much as I thought it would!
This is Where the Story Begins: Babylon
And the Death of Alexander, June 323 BC: Alexander's funeral carriage
Until you get yourself totally absorbed in the editing as I've been, you don't realize what a painstaking job it can be! The writer is finished her work now and this last round of editing was much easier because of it. I am able to detach myself and be more critical, spotting repetitious phrases, unnecessary information etc. One of the problems with historical fiction is that the writer often puts too much of their research into the story when it isn't really necessary.
Because I workshopped it at my Scribbler's critique group all the way through, and worked in 'blocks', by the time it was completed in December 2010, I didn't need to do much rewriting. It has been mainly the cutting and tightening up, disposing of passages that were not really needed -- sort of 'overloads' of information. Although most of those chapters that I dropped were really interesting and I enjoyed writing them, it was a matter of necessity to let them go.
So now I'm almost finished with it other than what the professional editor will have to suggest before I start pitching it out into the big wide world of publishers. The only things I have left to write, are the acknowledgements, afterword and compiling my glossary and cast list (which are mostly done). And then I'll brush up my synopsis at bit more. Then it's done! And I have to say I will be very relieved and happy to have it off my hands so I can focus on my other work-in-progress "Dragons in the Sky" which you'll be hearing more about in my blog soon.
This is Where the Story Ends: The fortress of Amphipolis, Macedonia
The River Strymon, Amphipolis