Friday, July 11, 2014

The Joys and Woes of Editing

by Marsha Ward

You would think the biggest hurdle in writing had been conquered once you have typed The End at the end of the first draft of the manuscript.

You'd be right.

And you'd be wrong.

Depending on how a particular writer's process works, the post-writing period can be a breeze or a tempest. Of course there are the usual items to check: spelling, correct word usage, plot holes, character growth, satisfactory ending.

There is also the matter of deciding whether or not a scene fills a purpose, which character's point of view is most important for carrying a scene, and how the sentence structure should be composed for best effect. Do I place the strongest item at the beginning of the sentence, or finish with it? Should that parenthetical phrase go here or there?

Some writers decide these issues in the first draft, because they edit each scene to polish it to perfection before they go on to the next. Other writers look on The End as the Holy Grail and rush toward it so they can bag it. They worry about polishing it later.

I'm in the "Hurry toward the Holy Grail" camp, with a toe in the "Polish until it shines" camp. Actually, I've discovered that my mind does a lot of the prep work before I ever put my fingers on the keys. Some scenes don't get the bleeding ink treatment.

Unfortunately, I can't say every scene is pristine at the beginning of the editing phase. Thus, my editing goes a little like this:

"Yes!" [fist pump]

"Sheesh!" [groan]

"Aha!" [drag and drop phrases]

"Ah..." [big sigh]

"How did I miss that?" [hair pulling]

I'm almost two-thirds of the way toward the end of the first edit. Wish me more joys than woes, please!

3 comments:

  1. Marsha, I know - right!?! It doesn't seem to matter for me how many times I edit my work - I still have those same thoughts and groans! I find new flaws or great phrases with each reading! To self I say, "Hurry up and finish with this already!!!" :O) I envy you and your stick-to- it-iveness! :O)

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  2. Wishing you much joy and speedy editing! I can't wait to read your next book. Congratulations! hugs~

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  3. It's tougher to me to be the editor pointing all this out. LOL

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