I hit 44k words in edits yesterday, putting me over the halfway point to where I see my book ending up. I got through some major scenes and achieved several plot points that I wanted to hit by this time.
It’s kind of funny, reporting progress like this. I do it to keep myself accountable, to remind myself that I’m moving forward and to give others a sense of how much I’ve done. The thing is, there’s no really good way to measure ‘progress’ when editing. That 44k is an arbitrary number that represents the words in the manuscript that have now gone through an edit pass. It’s the first half of the book, but it’s only what’s left after I take out words and add new ones. I shift scenes around, move paragraphs, rework blocks of text. Sometimes I ‘keep’ a scene but it has to be totally rewritten due to characters receiving different information at different times.
I think of it like redesigning a house. Walls are bumped out, floors replaced, additions put on, stairs rebuilt, railings and fences updated. Changes can be as structural as adding a second floor and as cosmetic as changing the color of the paint. The house may not look anything like it did when you began, but it’s the same house. Editing is exactly like this. You have the same story you had when you started, but it’s been altered. It’s stronger, it’s more complete.
Sometimes I try to keep track of how many words REALLY went into the story, old and new. I stop because that way lies madness. I do know that when this book is done, it won’t just be the 80,000 words or so in the finished manuscript. It’ll be twice that, maybe more. The same thing will happen with the sequel, and with every other book I’ll ever write.