Thursday, April 5, 2012

Edit! The Ever Changing Story

This may seem like a contradiction coming in right on the tail of my post on drafts and my reluctance to "re-do" one. But while I refuse to waste a perfectly good effort by completely starting it over from scratch, I am in fact a big fan of reworking it.

Okay, maybe not a big fan. Editing is hard work. It takes a critical and objective eye which is usually beyond difficult to cultivate in reference to your own writing. But I love the process, just the same. I love the head banging frustration, the tears, the coffee guzzling, cussing and hair pulling. And that's just the round I do by myself. Fun stuff, that.

Sounds a bit like torture doesn't it? So why the affection?

Well, I went to art school. You can look at that two ways. #1 I've been programmed to enjoy a good critical beating :) and #2 I can really get into the so called "process" of creating. And let me tell ya, editing is where the process is at.

Don't get me wrong, writing that draft is art. But it's art in the pure, oozing form. At least for me it is. I liken it to mixing the paint, spinning the yarn, kneading the clay... pick a metaphor. But the editing stage, is really where you get to dig your hands in and get messy. It's the crafting stage, the tactile part. The part where I usually splatter black oil paint all over the ceiling. When I fully dive into editing/revising/reworking it feels a great deal to me like I'm weaving again. It feels like I've rolled up my sleeves and gotten my hands dirty.

I was a very messy artist.
I also do a little of the head banging and hair pulling when I paint.

Thankfully, rather than making things messier (which is good in painting, really) editing "process" tends to clean things up a bit. It's still a very visceral, engaged dancing with your creation, and I suspect that it fills that need for me now that I rarely pick up a paint brush. At least now the ceiling is safe. So far. I have yet to fling any plot up there...and the stains are so much easier to get out.

~ Frances


Anonymous said...

I know what you mean - for some reason, I find editing a really enjoyable part of writing. For me, I think it has something to do with my writing style. I usually write a full handwritten draft of a story, then type it all up later. I usually do my editing while I'm typing it, which makes the transcribing part seem a lot less tedious.

KarenG said...

Ha! I posted on editing today too. I love editing actually, more than writing the first draft.

Nice to meet you and I hope you're enjoying the Challenge!

A to Z Challenge Host

Frances Pauli said...

Thanks to everyone who has been stopping by. I'm popping around on the hop as well and there are so many great bloggers out there!

I appreciate those who comment ;) and I'll try to get to all your blogs as well.

Nicole said...

You've got a great perspective in this post. I also really enjoy editing - it's an opportunity to make the story, characters and writing shine!

Cherstin Holtzman said...

Hello, Frances! On the one hand, I can't wait to begin the editing process, for no other reason than the sheer satisfaction of finally having something workable down on paper! My question to you, to all of you, is this:

How do you know when the editing is complete? Have you ever published something and, years later, thought, "Ohhh, I wish I would've taken her in another direction"? Or once you've completed your edits and had that sense of completion, does your story stay "put to bed" forever?

I am thinking of the April 24, 2012 release date for Stephen King's "Wind Through the Keyhole," Dark Tower 4.5. I guess some stories never rest, do they??!

Thank you for blogging about edits! Happy A to Z'ing, all!

Frances Pauli said...

That is an excellent question! I can't speak for everyone, but there comes a point in a manuscript where I've been over it so many times that I feel like I can't see it anymore. Usually, I've had at least a few beta readers or outside eyes on it as well, and I've done at least three or four passes.
By then, I'll get the sense that I'm just mucking with things if I go any further. That's about the time I send it in. At least then I have a few months away from it before the house editors have a go at it. :) Hopefully, I have fresh eyes when their edits come in.
And it helps that I have an editor that I trust to catch what I miss too. Having a rocking editor that you trust is mandatory. :)