woensdag 12 februari 2014

Editing Blues

Warning! There will be a lot of moaning and sighing in this blog (get your mind out of the gutter, you)

Editing… there are writers who get satisfaction out of the process, and there are writers who will liken the process to Chinese water torture. I –unfortunately- belong to the latter group.
To me editing is a long and arduous process, a necessary evil. Let me paint the picture for you. I’m an impulsive writer, and though I do all the things like ‘plotting’, ‘world building’ and ‘research’, I also spent a large part of writing flying by the seat of my pants. I know what direction I want to go, I have a compass… but I may be a little creative as what route I take, and where my pit stops are.
The process of writing a story is delicious. I am often curious how my own characters will react to the situations I want to put them through (I only know that once I start writing it). Writing can be very much like reading, and I love the journey I get to take when navigating through my own worlds. It’s really the best job ever.
But then, after a few weeks… I’m done with the exciting part… and that’s where I have to ‘find the flaws’. This isn’t fun. It’s like grading papers for a teacher, only it’s your own work and you have to read the same thing ‘over and over’ again. By the end of the ‘editing dance’ I feel a healthy loathing for my own work.
Whenever I say this, there is always one person who will scold me. “If you don’t like your work, how can you expect readers to like it.”
To those of you who think like that, I would like to say the following: Take your favorite book, now read it 30 times in a row. Don’t read other works, just that one. And read it for several hours a day. Don’t just read it either, examine it… find the what works and what doesn't. Then when  you are done… read it again. Sometimes, read it out loud… try to think of each and every sentence and wonder if this sentence could be better. If you still love the book with equal passion right after, you can be as judgmental as you like. *sticks out her tongue*
So… editing sucks when you’re me (or a ton of other writers), especially when it’s your own work. It’s hard to restructure sentences that you made, and it’s even harder not to go overboard with it. Near the end of the process, I doubt EVERYTHING I wrote and wonder if there isn’t a better way to tell the story. Sometimes I get insecure, and then I rewrite the story a lot. Same story… different words. Over and over and over again. Not my favorite pastime… no sir.
The good thing is, that not unlike a pregnancy, by the time I get really fed up with it, is the time I give birth to the project. And that point is very rewarding. Then I get to see my ‘baby’ finished and it’s time to present it to the world. Readers will suddenly make this story I hated feel like a wonderful little miracle again, and the pain of the long edit will be forgotten. So it’s all good… usually. 
Only lately it hasn’t been. This time I’ve been editing and rewriting since November, and my project has been grounded for a while. So when I was done with my ‘Even Hell Has Standards’ project ‘Pride’, I started to rewrite Alleria. That was the worst editing job ever, because I not only changed 1st person POV into 3rd person, but also past tense into present. When that was done, it got put on hold too. It’s with Beta Readers now, so I need to be patient. Since Pride still wasn’t going anywhere, and I was waiting for Alleria, I decided to finish Coyote. But it had been several months since I wrote anything, and I needed to refresh my memory. When I tried to read the piece, I found so many little niggly things, that I decided: Why not edit up to the point where I wrote it. So I did… more editing, and in the end I only spent about a week writing the end to the damn thing. Then… it was back to editing again.
Rather than having my ‘full circle’, I now am stuck up to my eyeballs in editing work, and nothing feels like it’s getting ‘done’. This is childish of me, I know… I’m not saying that nothing *IS* getting done, it just feels that way. Add in there query letters, marketing and agent quests and I’ve been having a bit of a miserable time lately. Not that I won’t enjoy the outcome of it all… because I will. But I’m shallow… and I’m addicted to the writing part. I love that point where a project is ‘done’ and it’s time to move on to the next story that’s whispering in my ear.
So between that and some nice personal issues, I’ve been a little grumpy. But I know the time where I get to write new things again is in my future. It might still be quite far away… but I’ll get there. Light… end of a tunnel… all that jazz.

 Until that time… I got me the editing blues.

1 opmerking:

  1. I've been thinking about addressing the topic of editing but I think you took the words out of my mouth as the saying goes. I'm about to start the 4th read of a book in two weeks -- this being the final galley -- and I'm sick of it, even though I love this book, there wasn't 'really' much wrong with it, and even though I think it may be one of my best. AND I've had a long break from it because it got bumped in the schedule so I'd not seen it for months, but there was all the time I read it my lonesome self before I even subbed it, so I know it by heart. Also, the more you draw down to release the more particular the writer has to be. Instead of examining a story as a whole you whittle down until you examine every line and even word choice. I'm often sick of my books by the time they come out, even though I love them, too.