Editing interactive novels is a lot of work

Editing interactive novels is a lot of work — way more than I thought it would be. My first one, Weekend Plans, took a while, but this new one, its sequel, is taking way more time than I expected. I just completed a third flowchart of what happens in the book, this time going through each page’s content as I did so, making sure everything worked as it was supposed to.

Three days later, I have this:

(A flowchart of page numbers for the sequel to Weekend Plans.)

As you can see, I had to make a couple of path changes, as evidenced by the black marker lines, but most of what was wrong I was able to fix with little tweaks here and there — changing what page the reader would turn to, removing certain choices, adding in other ones, that sort of thing. The book is still 420 “pages” long, and I’m still on Draft 2, but at least I can be confident that everything is actually going to flow properly.

The last thing I have to do in Draft 2 is a SPAG pass, which includes killing the six words I use too often: that, just, very, which, really, and only. Some of them will be kept because I can’t get rid of every single one of them, but I’m going to be working very hard to remove as many as possible.

After that, the file becomes Draft 3 and is ready for the arduous process of typesetting — dropping in approximately 1000 hyperlinks and almost 450 anchor tags, and then going back through the book one more time to typeset it for the print version as well (which will be, I’m guessing, around 600 pages).

But it’s getting closer to being done. Slowly but surely.

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