Editing in Moderation

First of all, let me just say thank you to my fellow writers of the world who have already touched on the topic of editing. I’ve included a couple today. Could be because of a lack of originality on my part. Could be because the more I edit the more I realize how painful it must have been for my mother and my helpful beta reader (thank you Jackie). Whatever the reason, I went searching for inspriation this week in the world of would-be writers and editing our creative babies.

I never realized just how much my mom and Jackie must have gone through in those first few books I wrote. And I do not take criticism very well, even if you tell me 100 positive things and one negative thing, I’ll remember the negative far longer. To not only have helped me edit, but to do so in a way that didn’t make me give up in despair is truly a mark of love and friendship I think. Currently, with all the red ink marking the pages of my current project, I’m having to remind myself of all that love and friendship – directed from me to me.

I’m about 3 weeks into editing Prefecture: Beginnings, and I have to tell you, it’ is no easy task. I think before I went back to school and ended up with a 50 hour a week job plus a social life, I wrote more thorough rough drafts. Maybe I’m wrong. But these days, it is cause for celebration when I can complete a rough draft at all. And barring the inspiration to dive in and complete another, I’ve decided my best course of action is to work on putting a fresh coat of polish onto what I’ve already created. And the positive of walking away from a story for five-ish months is that what made perfect sense to me when writing doesn’t necessarily make perfect sense now. Hence editing. And at least buried somewhere deep in my brain are the answers. Other editors, if faced with this draft, wouldn’t be so lucky.

I’m 10 chapters in, have already decided to rip apart one chapter and add anouther, with 8 chapters left to edit. There are plenty of inspirational quotes that say not to edit while writing. As counter intuitive as it may seem, let me also say that it is best not to edit when you’re editing. Now that sounds backwards so let me explain. The first three chapters I edited in my current work were rough. And I mean rough. I’ll post a picture next time of just how much red ink currently marks some of those pages. However, I can’t stop after editing my first three chapters and double back to re-edit them. The point of this editing session is to work on overall story and cohesion. There will be an entire time frame of fresh creative juices when I’ve finished this round as I dive back into the story to add the color and context that was missing on round one. Just because I can see the world in my mind as I read does not mean that any potential readers can. That being said, the mindset that I’ve fallen into is the mindset that needs to be maintained until I am done will all of the eighteen chapters I’m reviewing. Only when I am done will I allow myself to go back and revise. Most important tip, I think, to come from all of this is the very real fact that editing is a process. Just as much as writing is. And to disrupt one is just as rough as to disrupt the other.

My final take away from the last few weeks is that editing is best done in moderation. Even though I can sit down and type/bleed 5 chapters in a day does not mean I can sit down and cover those same pages in the blood red ink of a pen with the same energy. Especially not after being sick with what I have been told to assume is COVID-19. No, the trick now is to continue to take this one step at a time, and to find the positive where I can. Yes, more pages than not are covered in telling red ink, but the core of the story is still strong. And it is our job as would-be writers to offer our creative works the support they need for that same story to shine through.

Until next time.

Published by L.E. Gibler

Writer, rider, and future crazy cat lady

2 thoughts on “Editing in Moderation

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: