March 12, 2014
Dreading the Editing
That moment hits you when you have finally finished the novel. The first draft of one, anyway. Blood, sweat, and tears labored over this piece of art. This is the calm before the storm. The editing process is the hardest part for me. As they say, we are our own worst critics. I hate picking apart something I fell in love with, but it is true as Stephen King said we must “kill your darlings.”
I have a process I go through, a ritual perhaps, as I enter the world of editing. I assume most writers do this kind of thing too. There is always method to the madness.
Phase one-You did it
You’ve finished your novel, you feel euphoria. Now, take your manuscript and print it out hardcopy. Hide it. That’s right, out of sight out of mind, put it away and don’t think about it for a week. Once the week is up, prepare to spend many nights alone focused solely on the book. It will be like a time capsule. And many cool ideas come to mind as you get deeper into the story.
Invest in Post-its. These little babies make your life so much easier. You can color code them, mark off a note in a chapter, good for note taking, green for dialogue, and of course, my favorite, the storyboard. Writings, pictures, chapters, anything goes.
I have a special red pen I use on the hard marks editing. This is where you write in the columns of the printed manuscript. I do all my hard editing first, and then I like to tackle it chapter by chapter on the computer. Everybody has their own way.
Quiet time is essential to your success as a writer. This proves to be difficult in a house of five, so I have been working the Vampire Hours to get a good chunk of me time. I like writing when it’s dark and quiet. I have a pretty eclectic playlist for this project. Music makes creating art so much more intimate.
Phase two- the Rewrite
Tackle this write chapter by chapter and stay true to your red pen editing. As you start to flow, keep in mind that sometimes the characters call the shots in your journey.
That’s about as far as I’ve got. I am still in the rewrite process. But writing is a journey and it is a spectacular ride.