Editing on the Edge
This post gets to serve two purposes (porpoises?). It is day 5 of the A to Z blogging challenge (the letter E), and it is the first Wednesday of the month, which is the day the Insecure Writer’s Support Group gets together for our epic blog hop.
Check us out. Play along. We get to talk about our writing struggles and successes. You also get to meet some really great people who always have your best writing interest at heart.
I believe the most important part of the writing process is editing. Reading a badly edited piece (one that is presented as a finished work) is difficult for me. Nothing takes me out of a text quite as fast as typos and content errors. I do believe that no writing, especially a longer work, is ever perfect, but it is painfully obvious when someone has not taken the time or effort to even proofread. It is lazy, and shows a lack of respect for the reader.
There it is, my rant for the day, and my invaluable advice for any writer- Edit. Then when you are done, edit some more, then some more. Sleep a bit, then edit again.
I just finished editing the second draft of my third novel. It finally feels ready for sharing (at least with some beta readers and family). It is miraculous that this story isn’t in the garbage bin. I struggled mightily with this one, always unsure of its quality, convinced I was writing the most un-suspenseful book of all time. Every twist and turn seemed utterly predictable. The only reason I finished was a commitment I made to myself to never throw a story away until the first draft was complete.
I usually wait one full week after finishing the draft before I begin to edit.
This time, I waited three.
This photo has nothing to do with editing, but it is a lovely image of blossoms on the campus of the University of Washington. Let’s call it- an artistic pause.
When I finally found the courage to start the edit, I was ready to rewrite complete sections, perhaps entire chapters. In my worst scenario, the entire book had to be redone. I was on edge with every page, my fingers ready to cut and slice at a moments notice.
It wasn’t all that bad. In fact, the more I read, the less I cut and the more I liked what I had created. I finished that first crucial edit, then sent it to my wife for reading. She loved the book. My next reader (my mother) finished in two days and declared it her favorite of my three. I was shocked.
I’m still not completely sure it is a winner, and as usual (does any writer NOT have this issue?), have no idea how to query it, but I am more confident that it has potential. I like writing with potential. I also like writing that is edited. So edit what you write, for me, please.