The real work started this week. I'm over half-way through the first edit of The Cinder Girl and it's time to go back to chapter one to start a hard edit.
Creating is fun; you're rambling along with the story and finding where it takes you. Every chapter is a new discovery. As an author, I believe it's the closest you can come to experiencing your novel in the same way your reader will. You're navigating a new country without a map (at least if you write like I do) and the only way to find out what's on the opposite side of that next mountain is to climb it.
Editing, on the other hand, is a bit like farming the ground you've discovered. Lewis and Clark might have mapped the Northwest Passage but they didn't build the roads and bridges, carve out the settlements, pull stumps from the fields, and plant the crops to sustain the townsfolk. To edit a novel is to work its soil, to improve its fertility and harvest every bit of creative fruit possible. It's hard work. In one week I've managed (along with writing two chapters) to edit just seven five pages of printed manuscript. In the process it grew to seven pages of (I hope) better constructed story. I'm telling you, it's tilling the soil!
The best things aren't the always the easiest, I guess. When the work is done I feel good about it, I'm proud of what I've achieved. Sitting in my office on a Saturday afternoon, hammering out paragraphs, it seems like it'd sure be nice to nail it the first time through, though!