Guest Post: Five Ways Editing is Like Dragon-Slaying11:00
Today, I am very excited to say, we have a guest poster on the blog. Heather, from the blog Sometimes I'm a Story, has kindly stopped by to talk all this editing. Heather is one of my favourite bloggers, and her blog is filled with thought provoking, entertaining posts on writing, music, books, characters, and other interesting subject. If you have a moment, please stop by her blog and say hi. And if you'd like to guest post on my blog, feel free to send me a message!
Editing. It’s not hard to imagine it as a vile, green beast towering above we writers, and honestly, we’d probably be better off sleeping late than trying to battle it. But we’re writers. Knights. Sleeping isn’t in our job description.
That being said, even if you don’t own a sword or can’t stand the thought of horses, dragon-slayers and writers have a few things in common. Think about it.
1. You’re on a Quest
The dragon is never your next door neighbor—the slaying comes after miles of uncomfortable journeying and unpleasant backtracking. Things you never even realized were problems challenge you: plot holes, underdeveloped characterization, interfering magicians.
You, however, are at an advantage: you know you’re going questing and can prepare. Buy chocolate to reward yourself, cups of tea or coffee to sustain you through three-hour editing sessions. Look for mentors who’ve slain a few dragons of their own and set goals so you don’t charge into your project blind. Yes, it will still be difficult—but if it wasn’t, would you still be able to call it a quest?
2. You Need Help
Have you ever heard of a knight who braved dragon fire alone and lived? No, there’s got to be someone else: teams of critique partners, beta readers, and perhaps a kindly monk (or someone) with an available shoulder to cry on. We wouldn’t get very far without people to break us down and build us up again.
Friends and family are often willing to support us, but out in the wild, we need each another to trade, if we can. There are a lot of sites out there dedicated to connecting writers (dunno about dragon-slayers) and plenty writing communities centralize around blogs, just like this one!
3. You Are Your Own Best Resource
It is important to have a sword when dragon-slaying, but without YOU to wield it, it’s little more than a sharp, shiny stick. Hundreds of tools are at your disposal, but unless you keep practicing, and take the initiative to use them, they’re never going to be more than good intentions.
So hone yourself into the weapon you want to be. Study up on your dragon, think of the best way to attack him, and work hard to make that attack plan possible. Unlike with a real dragon, it’s okay if you fail the first time when writing. You aren’t made of metal, and have plenty of room to grow!
4. The Dragon Wants to Live
Editing is hard, and so is killing dragons (surprise, surprise). If you don’t hone your craft or persevere through the hard parts, that dragon will remain not-dead. Likewise, if you get all the way to the dragon’s cave and you don’t have your weapon ready, then you’ll probably scream “Run away!” like King Arthur and his knights.
Dragons are invariably intelligent, and they’ll distract you at all costs. Pinterest, Facebook, video games, friends, taverns, peril—anything! Anything to keep the status quo and your blade away from its neck. It’s our job as knights and writers to overcome temptation and push on—as my dad reminds me: “It will still be there in the morning.”
5. You’ll Come Home Again
Whether it be the next draft, the next novel, or the next great project, there’s always going to be “one more dragon.” That’s the thing about quests: you end up back where you started—and the same is true here.
What can you do? Get really, really good at questing. The more you practice, the more you improve. It doesn’t get easier, but it gets more familiar, and when you know more than the dragon you’re well on your way to success!
One more thing: when you go on a quest, you change in one way or another. Every draft will teach you, and you’ll improve with every dragon you hack away. The best part? When you’re all done, you have the head of a dragon to tack on your wall—which is something to be proud of.
Go forth, dragon slayers! Your quest awaits.
Have you slain any dragons lately? What are your tips to slay tricky drafts?
Heather is first and foremost a velociraptor, but when she’s not wreaking her revenge on the world, she blogs at SometimesI’m a Story and Wandering in a Blur. She also loves to beta read, watch movies, and sleep. For excessive blog promotions and the occasional original tweet, you can find her on Twitter.