Some Things To Remember When Editing19:00
January was the month of editing, it seems. Everywhere I looked, writers were feverishly polishing up or piecing back together their books, including me of course. In many ways, editing is amazing. Well, not the actual act of editing. That is a gruelling task of Herculean difficulty. But the results of editing are so worth it. Seeing those plot wrinkles smooth out, the characters spring to life, and the prose sparkle with wit and humour is an amazing thing. If only the journey there was slightly easier. Because editing is HARD. Anyone who says otherwise has obviously never tried it. And when you’re stuck deep in edits, it’s important to remember some things.
It Can Actually Be Fixed
I know it looks bad right now. You probably think that no one has ever written a draft as bad as this one. Maybe your plot is in fragments, or all your characters are one dimensional. Maybe your prose looks like a three year old scribbled it with a purple crayon. But the writing is there. And if it’s on the page, then it can be fixed. It’s a difficult task yes, but it is certainly not impossible.
Your Subconscious Is A Clever Clogs
Trust your gut instinct. Planning your edits, making an outline of your book and going into the battle with a solid game plan is sound editing strategy. But there often comes a point where your gut is telling you that something’s not working, that a plot point you slaved over doesn’t fit right, or that this scene needs to be cut. It hurt, but listen to your subconscious. A lot of the time, it actually knows what it’s talking about.
Venting to Friends Is A Good Thing
Editing is HARD. And some days you are going to feel like everything’s against you, you’re never going to be a writer and that you should take yourself off to a desolate place and grow lettuces for the rest of your life. When you start getting such botanical urged, find a friend and vent to them. It’s ok, your writing friends have been there too. They’ll pat you on the back, offer virtual chocolate and encouraging GIFs and get you back on your feet in no time.
Sharing Your Problems Can Actually Fix Them
Talking to a friend about the issues you’re having with your book is sometimes the best thing you can do when you’re stuck. Even if they can’t suggest anything to fix the problem (and writer friends are the best at coming up with awesome fixes) just talking through the problem with another human being can be enough to get the ideas churning and a solution brewing in your brain. Often, the answer to the problem shows up while you’re still describing the problem!
When All Else Fails, Eat Cake
Bad editing day? Plot not behaving? Characters on strike? Feeling unmotivated? Eat cake. It’ll make you feel better. Also it tastes good. And doing something nice for yourself can also help you get back into a frame of mind where you can work through your issues. Or you can just have cake and relax. It’s your call. And your cake.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and rewrite half the beginning of my book again because my gut is telling me there are unresolved issues with a major plot point. *sigh* I may need some of that cake…
Have you been editing in this past month? If so, how are you getting on? If you’re not, where are you in the writing process? And tell me, what would is the number one thing you thing writers need to remember while editing?