Monday, 27 June 2016

The highs and lows of editing that final draft

Writing is hard. This is known. But coming in a close second is editing.

Editing is hard!

Over the last month or so I've been working on editing the beta draft of my next book. I started with a fire in my belly and passionate enthusiasm. As I began rereading my story (which hadn't been read for months) I experienced bouts of jubilation, 'yes, my best book yet!' moments.

I whizzed through those first few chapters with breezy ease. But, as I got deeper into the book, the old self-doubt monster reared his ugly head. He pointed out the deep lack of credible character motivation, plot holes, and told me, 'this is crap! No one will like it.' I really should give the self-doubt monster a name, that way I can write it on paper, pin it to the wall and throw darts at him. Might help. Maybe something truly menacing like Griffin. Mmmmm.

Griffin the Self-Doubt monster. Once unleashed he's difficult to control!
Add to my doubt the fact that I keep adding things, changing things, deleting things, which means I have to go back and add, change and delete other things. Turns out adding a butterfly in Chapter Two creates a terrifying tsunami in Chapter Thirty One. Damn you Cause and Effect!

Then I do something stupid. Really stupid. And everyone will tell you not to do it. But I did it anyway. I went and fed the monster (Griffin, I hate you Griffin). I went to my one star reviews and read them all (totally ignored the five star ones). Why? Why did I do it? Those negative reviews got into my head and Griffin was having an absolute field day. He was having the time of his life eating candy-covered-insults and fairy-iced-negativity. Editing became slow, hard, impossible. My story sucked big time. This would be my worst book ever. It will only get one star reviews.

A good night's sleep, a walk with the dog, eggs for breakfast (yum), and a good hard look at myself later: I know editing is hard work. I know that Griffin is always going to be there; I need to keep him locked in the basement, and most of the time I do. I also know the little fairies don't come out at night to edit the book for me. Editing must get done, and I have to do it. Chin up. Shoulders back. Let's do this!

And keep editing!

In times like this it's always a good idea to turn to Mr King to see what he has to say on the subject. He's always got something to say:

"To write is human. To edit is divine." 
“Writing fiction, especially a long work of fiction can be difficult, lonely job; it’s like crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a bathtub. There’s plenty of opportunity for self-doubt.”

Not to be outdone by Stevie, I've come up with a couple of quotes of my own:

On editing – "Just do it." 
On self-doubt – "If you're ever tempted to read the one star reviews, first consider the type of person who would actually sit down to write them. Do you really want to listen to anything they have to say?"

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