Editing

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I use a purple pen.

Editing has never been my strong suit. I used to just celebrate if I managed to finish something and basically felt that I was done and eagerly moved on to the next project. As I’ve gotten older, more experienced as a writer, and more serious about getting published the realization that I actually have to edit what I write has weighed heavily on me.

I hated the idea of editing. “I should be done.” “I don’t want to change things,” “I barely want to proofread,” “I just wanted to work on my next great idea.”

The problem is I was constantly chasing after my newest greatest idea and leaving a trail of decrepit stories in my wake that could be made whole with a lot of love and attention.

Over time I’ve slowly learned me lesson. I managed to get to a point where I didn’t hate editing, then almost enjoying it. This year I’ve made it my focus to edit my novel from last November instead of moving on to something else and I’m actually starting to enjoy editing. It seems so overwhelming when I first start and I can’t imagine how I’ll do it. But then I start reading and I start making little notes, which turn into longer notes and suddenly I’m cutting out scenes and putting in new ones and I’m getting excited. Excited that I’m making the story better, that I’m learning to understand my characters and their motivation and what the stories really about.

So I seem to finally be getting the editing thing, which is good, considering I’m hoping to publish this story.

I hope you guys have had a less rocky path to understanding the importance of editing. What are techniques and strategies you use in your editing? (I hope that didn’t sound too much like the teacher at the end of a children’s Bible story.)

~~Lady of the Pen~~

One thought on “Editing

  1. My process trail has been exactly like yours – definitely: “a trail of decrepit stories in my wake” – yep. Too familiar. Then I took a class called “Deep Revision” through the local library. Everyone in the class had to have a draft of a novel to revise. I was really scared. I hadn’t looked at this piece since 2009. Couldn’t even remember half the characters. But after one of the first assignments to take a scene and rewrite it in a completely different setting, I turned a corner. It was so much fun! And I liked the results of my revision way more than the original version. Like fitting puzzle pieces, collage, juggling…and you get to create all the puzzle pieces, the scraps of paper and/or the fire torches winging up in the air. Whee! That’s a lot of power.

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