Friday, November 13, 2009

Cutting Remarks

My fellow blog mates and I often write about the joys/horrors of editing, and for good reason. Next to putting words down, nothing is as important as knowing when to pick them back up. But important doesn’t always mean pleasurable.

I don't care what they say, no author loves editing. Editing someone else's work, sure, but not our own. While we have no problem slashing red lines over a stranger's prose, each word of our own that we cross out cuts deep and I will admit to physically cringing when I realized a line I loved - a well written line at that - had to go. This is nothing new - all authors suffer (more or less) the same pains, and we all know it's part of the writing process and, once we're done, we know that what remains will be better for the drastic pruning.

Like I said, nothing new about that pain. But man, today I feel it.

Regular readers of this blog know that I'm working on my second YA novel. It's not due for months but I think about it all of the time and write whenever I get a chance. I like the way the story is developing and things were moving along well. Until about a month ago. That's when things got just a tad hectic and, as much as I wanted to write, life sortta got in the way. Four full weeks passed before I was able to sit back down and do some serious writing. So the first thing I did was print out all 15,000 words and settle in with a glass of wine and remind myself where I left off.

Two hours and an empty bottle of merlot later, I was left with a manuscript of just under 5,000 words.

And yes, it's better.

But wow, it hurts.

5 comments:

Rick Blechta said...

Well, Charles, not wanting to burst your balloon, I DO like editing -- almost as much as writing the damn words in the first place. I know, I know, call me weird, call me strange. You wouldn't be the first.

Charles benoit said...

Nor the last. Nor the only.

Donis Casey said...

When you do it to your own MS, I'd call it rewriting more than editing. (As opposed to 'copy editing', which is more or less fixing your grammar and spelling.) I consider story editing something someone does to you, rather than your doing it to yourself. Rather like torture.

Charles benoit said...

I guess it's my ad man side coming through - here we tend to say edit for most things when we mean rewrite. Or maybe I just don't listen too well.

Rick Blechta said...

You don't listen too well.