Monday, January 30, 2012

Editing Nightmares

Wow. They really shouldn't tell me the last time I posted a post on here. 'Cause that makes me all depressed to see it was last year! Wow. Clearly, blog posting is not my forte. But today, I am here to make a point and I am going to slam it home HARD.

I cannot stand to edit. To go back through a manuscript and change sentences, add words, eliminate entire paragraphs. Do you know why? Well, I will tell you. It makes me feel like a terrible writer. I can't tell you the number of times I scratch my head (metaphorically) and say, "Gee. Why did I ever think that was a good idea? How could I have ever thought it'd be great to make her do that?"

And then there are the times my characters run away from me. I'm writing and editing and writing and editing and then all of a sudden, my main character is leaving work and she NEVER EVEN HAD A JOB!! And this is like chapter fifteen. So now I have to edit from the top again and make it clear she had a job all along and didn't just randomly pick one up one day because she felt like it. The whole time this is happening, I am sitting in my dorm room, staring at my computer, and yelling "Why would you do that? Stop doing that! Get back under my control!" That might be why people wonder if I'm nuts. To which I say - yes. I am nuts. I am a writer. How can I be anything but?

Back to editing. I've just now finished editing my YA chick lit novel, Oh Boyfriend, Where Art Thou? for maybe the third time. By editing, I mean going chapter-by-chapter, with Track Changes on, and skewering entire passages with the wrath of Michelle. It was intense. I just finished and the final (revised) product is about 15 pages longer than the original.

Editing stinks. It's hard work and hassle and can be really, truly irritating. Only now, when I look at this final product (that still needs some work to explain why the main character randomly begins doing things mid-book that she hadn't done before) do I realize that editing really has made my book much, much better.

Now I think I'll go edit a fourth time...oh, joy.