Editing notes: Six Hours Remaining

I wrote the first half, and first draft, of a story called Six Hours Remaining back in July 2013. I did it as part of CampNaNoWriMo and had a goal of about 25,000 words. The end result was somewhere around 19,000 (and I must have written other things during that timeframe because the website says I met my goal). http://campnanowrimo.org/campers/blood_gate_key/projects/six-hours-remaining

Summer just started, I’ve read one young adult book (The Black Unicorn by Tanith Lee), I have plans to read a few more, and am itching to do something writing-related. As usual, I am struck with this intense self-doubt, and I’m not looking to start a new story, but I also feel inept at revision and editing. Isn’t it great being an author!? However, a dear friend had once expressed that this may be her favorite story of mine to date, and that’s high praise for me. So I thought I’d dig it up and see what I could do with it.

And I’m really happy to say that I think it is written well enough that I can finish it and go somewhere with it. I don’t know where yet, and it’s only half way done, but it feels good. I wanted to share some of my editing experiences along the way:

The story was originally written without copyright issues in mind—based on real-life places, real-life super heroes, things like that. I’ve been going through and re-naming cities and street names.

Coeur d’Alene has been renamed to Awl City—a name derivative of the definition of Coeur d’Alene which is Heart of the Awl. I removed any reference to Post Falls, changed Missoula to Zootown, Victor to Cow Puck and the Lolo National Forest to Lulu. I have a story I want to set in Cow Puck eventually (a rural fantasy setting) so it felt right to start setting the base for it now.

I also have a reference to my story Earth Borne via a video game title in the beginning.

This screenshot shows that I’ve changed some actions in the story that I, at one point, felt were “in character”. Reading back over it now, I decided that it wasn’t necessary, and I could still make their relationship believable without being crude.

This also forced me to take a close look at the interior of the vehicle I had written them into. I had to do some research and make sure an El Camino from the 1980’s was, in fact, a manual transmission and had room enough for all of them. Turns out, um, barely. So I had plans to put all of their items in the cab with them—not happening.

I had to shuffle around some characters to make the trip work.

I had to edit Doctor Who to be Doctor Whom and take out my favorite dirty joke.

And my favorite scene from Chapter 6 remained intact!

I have about 4,500 words left between Chapter 7 onward, and then the other half to write. I know my biggest problem is that I get neck-deep in a editing or revising a story and just never return from it. I struggle with first drafts, there's no hiding that. I struggle with second, and probably the twenty-seventh if I ever make it that far. I really like this story, though. I want to finish it. Dawn needs to be rescued! More likely, she'll end up rescuing them. I remember my step-dad had suggested that they lose their truck at some point and have to ride to Montana on horse and donkey-back (because you know Gabe would get stuck with the bony-assed donkey).

Anyways, I'm really here asking for confidence and the ability for me to work through this story until it is finished, and then work on it again. I like where it's going, I like the voice, I like the characters, I feel good about it, even after a few years of sitting on the shelf. I'm hoping this can be my summer writing project--going back and forth between reading and writing.