Yes, editing a book is like giving scissors to a monkey. Things are going to be cut. The cuts will be totally random. And then you need to paste if all back together yourself and try to make sense of it all again while cussing the damned monkey under your breath so that the monkey doesn’t hear it… unless on this project you are your own monkey.
I have now spent about five years taking my first published novel, the crappiest thing I ever wrote, published by the worst piratical publisher ever to board the sailing ship of my writer’s imagination, and expand it by rewriting and adding story elements that I never reached in the original.
It has been a terrible, blood-boiling effort to turn nonsense, corny jokes, numerous real science fiction ideas, and an overly-excited imagination into a coherent story that is intentionally a cross between Frank Herbert’s Dune and Douglas Adama’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
One of the main flaws of the book is the typical imitation-Dune problem of way too many characters to keep track of. Not just characters… too many planets, alien creatures, robots, alien cultures, star-born weirdnesses, and plot curlicues. My solution to this; add in lots of illustrations (I had originally sold the idea to the publishing pirates with illustrations included… which they cut down to five… and then eliminated completely,) and create an extensive set of appendixes that allow confused readers to look up the weird names and nouns that confronted them on every page.
The plot is overly complex and Dune-like specifically because of how it came to be. I was playing a space-based role-playing game called Traveller with three to eight middle school and high school students who were mostly former students of mine in the 1980’s. They created the player characters who become the lead characters in the book. Both the Aero Brothers, Trav Dalgoda, Tron Blastarrr, and many others were created by the boys. They then went on adventures that began in my imagination, but then took their many twists and turns through where the players wanted to go, what they wanted to build, buy, or steal, and what they chose to do about their many life-and-death encounters.
Book 4 is the manuscript, now finished, that I am editing and will soon publish.
I have reached the fun part of the story where critical things begin to happen that make life-and-death changes to the lives of the most important characters.
The end of the original story will occur in the next book of the series. Book 5 has about fifty percent of its content already written. I will have to write and paste in the extended content for the other fifty percent.
It will end up being not the worst novel I have ever written. It will be the worst five novels. Unless the monkey with the scissors works a miracle or two.