Friday, August 3, 2007

Either way it's cleaning out the muck

Can I just say that I hate editing?

Don’t get me wrong, I love the way my story looks after the edit is done. There’s a certain sense of satisfaction that comes from knowing you took your work—that you once thought was wonderful—and made it even better. I’m not talking about shifting around a sentence, correcting spelling or adding half a dozen semi-colons. I’m talking about major scene changes, cutting the fat and rerouting plots gone awry.

I’m talking about staring at that three-hundred double-spaced pages of manuscript that is bleeding ink from a critique and facing down the fact that my baby has some serious problems. Even worse is doing it after facing that same situation on this book through four critiques and an editor, and now I’m doing it again.

There are times when I’d rather be mucking out my chicken coop or scrubbing down the duck pond (Eeewww!) than face two thousand places where someone (even me) found problems with my story.

It’s a good thing I love the story so much more when it’s done.

And that I can look at the pile of pages I’ve finished as I go along and remind myself that I’m making progress.

Still, there are times I would much rather just start a new story and shelf the old one—if only the first one would stop nudging my mind that I’ve been procrastinating the edit. Besides, if the story is as good as everyone keeps telling me it is (despite the copious amounts of red ink they’ve left on the manuscript) then don’t I owe it to myself to get the editing done?

I suppose the coop will survive one more day. Back to editing for me.


Tristi Pinkston said...

Think of it this way -- they mark it up in red because they believe in it and want it to be the best it can be. It's a compliment, it really is. :)

Heather Justesen said...

I love my critiquers, though I hate the fact that they are almost always right about the problems in my manuscript. I just hate sitting down and facing that long pile of corrections--even though my story is always much better for it. Tonight I'll finish up my corrections and send it out for another set of critiques. Then I get to turn my attention toward the next story--now that is going to be a massive edit, but this one I'm actually looking forward to. lol

Danyelle said...


Here's a tip I for editing that I use. After the last Storymakers conference I attended - I had tons of feedback on my ms from book camp. And since there were 10 copies of my ms, I just took all the copies & sorted them by page and compiled it into one really big ms. It was really interesting to see the ms page by page and to see where people made the same comments and where there were just random comments. In fact, I actually ended up throwing away all the ms pages that didn't have any marks on them & keeping the edited ones together for future reference.

Just thought you might find that helpful the next time you have multiple people edit for you. But I totally agree with you. I love to edit other people's ms - but I hate looking at my ms, seeing the weaknesses, and then coming up with how to fix them. As much as I love writing - sometimes it's really the pits. And the really awful thing about that statement is that it's all my fault since it's my writing! :)