The trip was truly fantastic and I picked up a lot of gritty fodder for the sensory details for Hatshepsut. I'm still kind of bummed that I didn't get to go to Luxor, but just being in Egypt reminded me of so much of the little stuff- the trees, the heat (110 or so when we were there), and even the bugs. Granted, I'm not going to ramble about any of those in the novel, but it's nice to be able to include a sentence here and there that you know is truly authentic. It's one thing to research another country, but it's another to experience it.
So my goal while I was gone was to edit the paper manuscript- all 115,000 words of it. And did that happen?
When I sit down to edit on my computer I tend to look at just one thing- dialogue, grammar, sensory details, etc. But having the book in front of me on paper sent me into full-on teacher grading mode. When I hand back my students' papers they're dripping in blood.
Okay, it's really red ink, but whatever.
There were points where I got really discouraged, realizing that what I'd written was total rubbish or so full of mechanical errors I was appalled to realize that I'd written it. But then there were some sections where I just couldn't stop reading, barely taking the time to scribble myself a note. And that felt really, really good.
So I got about halfway done. The last half of the book hasn't been edited at all- I just wrote and didn't look back. I'm also coming up on the middle of my plot sandwich which is a little scary. I knew when I sat down to write this book that the beginning and the end had specific high points that had to be hit, very dramatic and sure to pull in the reader. But the middle was squishy and gooey. There's a whole chapter of squishy gooeyness that I think needs deleted or at least condensed into the preceding chapter. That's going to be a little painful.
So I'm off to edit- wish me luck!