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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I Hate Editing

I do. I absolutely hate looking at a rough copy of a novel.

Writing is a freeing experience, like free fall, SCUBA diving over the abyssal plains, or flying.

Editing is the nasty shock at the end of free fall, or when you you see a Megalodon screaming up at you from the depths, or your engine cuts out.

Ready to stab my novel to death yesterday I wrote my crit partner about my frustration. Her response, as always, was spot on:

You inevitably hate the book. But you come out the other side, too. There is light. You CAN get to the point where you like it again.
Another friend added:

Usually it's about when you have the manuscript tied down to a bunch of logs and sprinkled with tinder. As you're lighting the match, you'll happen to glance down, and oh my gosh! Magic really does happen. There is gold there, not the sludge you know was there only moments before. I'm convinced this is due to the manuscript's deep rooted survival instinct.

The work is hard and might make you sick to your stomach—it does me—but it will be worth it in the end.
I spent hour yesterday reading through the first 32 pages of my novel and noting errors on a side page.

The system Amy Laurens has created keeps the printed copy clean of editing marks until the end. You start by taking notes on world building, characters (I honestly didn't realize I had so many characters named!), rough spots, and golden moments.

It isn't an original idea. There are several classes, books, and systems of editing that follow this same idea: Identify all your problems before you rewrite and clean.

Fixing spelling is the last thing you do. And oh do I need to fix things! I have lions walking out of laves, soldiers reaching for gnus, and Rona Running everywhere! Either I need to change her name, or she needs to walk.

Another 32 pages are up for dissection today. We'll see how much I cry.


  1. Aw, hugs! I'm in the editing/revising stage right now. And it's truly the first time I've ever gone here. My first novel, well I didn't realize it was a novel. I just wrote it, letting my short story turn into a really long short story. Never revised it. (It would take way too much work to make it believable in any way, shape, or form.)

    Last project I would lose all the heart and soul, all my favorite parts and characters, to make it saleable.

    This one, though, has some true gems. I think your friend is totally right that the manuscript's survival instincts kick into high gear just when you're ready to throw in the towel and move on to the next idea.

  2. Yeah, I think every writer in the world hates editing. I'm doing it right now, and it is my very least favorite thing in the whole world. Good luck to you!

  3. I feel for ya. I just started my first revisions a couple weeks ago. I'm still in the honeymoon phase, but know it'll hit soon.

    Hang in there! AR

  4. Aw! You guys are the best. :o) I'm so glad I'm not the only writer who is stuck in this mud hole and hating every minute of editing!

    It'll be worth it when the books hit the shelves and we all have fans who love our characters as much as we do!

  5. 做好事,不需要給人知道,雖然只是一件微不足道的事,但我相信,這會帶給我快樂。..................................................

  6. I *really* hate editing! With a passion. I'm about to start with my latest WIP and I keep putting it off. I have tons of writer friends who love it, but for me it's pure torture. I force them to keep me going when I feel like the story is pure drivel and I suck.

    Good luck to you! I'll be pulling for you :) *Hugs*