Questions! Questions That Need Answering!
There has been a lot of this sort of thing going on lately.
I am finding that the most useful things in my editing toolbox are questions. Before I start editing a chapter, I ask myself what purpose the chapter serves. Then I read the chapter, without making any corrections (or at least valiantly attempting not to). At the end of the chapter, I determine whether or not the intended points have been made. On one occasion, I found that after reading the chapter, my impression of what the point should be was flat-out wrong. While the chapter did indeed answer every question on my list, that chapter wasn't what the book needed. I ended up transplanting a few chunks of still-usable text, adding some new stuff, and gutting the rest. It was frustrating as hell, and I had to kill off a few things I rather liked, but the chapter fits much better because of it. In the end, it was oddly satisfying.
I'll be going through a similar process next week, because all this question asking has led me to the conclusion that Chapter Four needs a massive overhaul. I am hoping that I can find ways to recycle most of it, but we'll see. I'm foreseeing a lot of rewrites next week, to the point that I've laid down some pretty strict "office hours" for all my other work so that I can stay as focused on this as possible. I should probably stock up on snacks, too.
Honestly, it's a little daunting right now. I know I'll get there, but at the moment, it doesn't feel like it will ever end. However, going back and looking at all your notes and emails always gives me a boost. I don't know how I'd be doing this without you guys.
Live long and prosper,