Editing Your Work

Some people argue that a book is formed in the editing. Before the chaos of life temporarily derailed my writing, I thought nay. They didn’t know what the hell they were talking about. Writing is about taking your ideas and fancies and churning words out like a production line wrench monkey. Well writing for the sake of your own enjoyment, this is true. Writing for to become a published writer and have a fan base that dangles on your every cliffhanger, put your steel undies on and get the edit plunger ready.

Having taken about a month and a half from writing, I can tell you there is an over abundance of truth in that editing IS where the magic happens. Just admitting that kind of chaps my ass. I have a novel, about 120,000 words, that is in the middle of being edited for the 20th time. I’ve spent some time revisiting my manuscript recently and I noticed something, I have something that looks like a book but isn’t. It is more akin to a glass box with a hyper-active gnome inside waving and grinning at me like an idiot.  I have to polish/edit the piss out of my book to get it to that vision, to latch onto that mythical creature and tan its little ass into something comprehensible and engaging.

Today one of my favorite writers put up a little advice on editing, you can read it here. As I read his words, the echoes of his wisdom rang levels of truthiness in the cockles of my heart.

Here is a little excerpt from Brent Weeks:

 

First, if you want to be a pro, act like a pro. If your friends can’t be honest with you because you fall to pieces when they don’t love everything about your book, they’ll lie to you. Yes, we’re artists; we want everyone to love everything we’ve ever done and tell us we’re brilliant. If anyone ever tells you they love everything you’ve ever done, they’re either lying or a moron.

If you’ve written the first draft, you’ve done something that thousands of people who say they want to be writers will never do. Congratulations. Crack a Sprite, pat yourself on the back, howl at the moon twice, and go to bed late, dreaming improbable dreams.

Done? Good, now get your butt out of bed. It’s time to work.

Before, you had nothing. Nothing is hard to shape. Now you have marble, Michelangelo. Thing about marble? It’s tough. Bring your hammers and chisels.

 

Editing is my least favorite part. Not because I have a large nutritional deficiency in grammar and hate killing my darling, but because my creative juices run wild and rampant like naked heathens in a field. Creatively writing and editing are two separate processes that utilizes two separate areas of the brain.

Guess who has two thumbs and a need to get over it? This guy right here. I need to do more editing then rolling my face across the keyboard, turns out it isn’t enough.

I have a little snippet from my book that has moved places and contexts several times. It is a fluid piece with lots of potential, but I cannot for the life of me get it where I think it needs to be relative to the rest of the book.

The next post is going to be the snippet.

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2 thoughts on “Editing Your Work

  1. Hi Frank, thought I’d put my two bob’s worth in. If you have a big novel and you’ve done umpteenth drafts and it still feels wrong, it’s worth doing a scene breakdown. In case you haven’t done one before, you buy a bunch of catalogue cards, then you work your way through the ms online, writing each new scene on one card and just 1 or 2 lines to help you identify it, plus the number of words. You end up with something you can shuffle about, and also sometimes you’re surprised at how many words you took to convey something that was pretty simple. A scene breakdown gives you the skeleton of the book, what bones are too heavy, etc.
    Hope this helps,
    Danielle de Valera

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