Thursday, October 16, 2014

Pain, pleasure, and editing

Editing is painful.

Cutting words, trying to find just the right word choice, making sure there are no errant commas, and also that there are commas in all the right places. And that's just copy editing.

Then there's content editing: examining and second guessing the choices of your characters, ensuring that their decisions are both consistent with their nature and with the world and rules that they exist in. Looking at the flow of the piece and trying to figure out if you should start earlier, later, scrap and rewrite.

Despite how painful it is, despite how hard it can be to ensure things are just right, it's actually something I've learned to love over time. In the very beginning of my writing journey, back when I wrote my very first novel, the idea of having to read it over and over just seemed so horrid and such a waste of time. My thoughts were along the line of, "What more am I going to come up with that I haven't already done?"

I can now look back and laugh at my naivety. The truth is, there is a lot that a good edit can bring out or polish in a story that is impossible on first draft. Each pass over makes the writing tighter, cleaner, clearer. Will there still be some errors? Yes, without doubt. It's impossible to catch everything, even with multiple sets of eyes, but there will be fewer of them. And double bonus, the story will be stronger

So, I am declaring my love for red pen. Yes it hurts, but it's a damn pleasurable pain when you see the end result.

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