The Nightmare and Belligerence of Editing
Let's talk editing for a moment, and see how long it takes before my eyes burst out of my skull. But first, let's start with a list.
Things I would rather do than edit my novel:
- Shove MYSELF in a locker
- Punch an oak tree
- Do a 500 piece puzzle that ends up being a 3D image of dog crap
- Stick my hand up a cow’s rectum. Gloveless.
- Burn my own money.
- Key my own car.
- Twerk on social media.
- Throw my back out from twerking on social media
- Run upstairs without holding my chest
- Give myself 10,000 paper cuts and dunk my body in alcohol
There. Not quite a complete list. If I said everything I would actually rather do, my FBI agent might be more inclined to make a personal visit and it’s a bad time for me.
Seriously though. Editing? EDITING? What kind of sick process is it? Do you have tips? I’ll take ‘em. I’ll eat them, stick them under my pillow, tattoo them on my legs, sing to them at night, throw them in a salad. Probably do anything but actually follow them. Don’t worry my heart’s in the right place.
A wise woman might actually google “How to edit” and see if there’s any kind of reprieve from the torture. Still, I think we’ve established before that I might NOT be the wisest woman alive. Remember how I said you might end up screaming MY GOD THIS WOMAN IS AN IDIOT at the screen? Well, honey here’s your chance.
Editing is the worst. Not only do I have to read the crap I’ve written, but I have to make it better. WHO TRUSTS THE MORON WHO SCREWED IT UP IN THE FIRST PLACE TO FIX IT?? Not me.
In the words of the wise Emily Gilmore, “When someone gives birth to a crack baby, you do not buy them a puppy.”
Well editing is the puppy.
Maybe I should hire an editor. Yeah, an editor sounds good, let me google that real quick.
*Two minute break of disillusionment*
$1400?? Fine, never mind.
*Back to our regularly scheduled programming.*
Here was my process for editing the first draft.
- Print book at Staples
- Read through printed copy and makes notes about:
- Needed Tone changes -
- Character development issues -
- Plot holes -
- Total idiocy -
- Positive parts -
- Stupid parts -
- My Lord I should just quit parts -
- The occasional hey, i know what I’m doing parts -
3. Edit changes on computer
4. Read through for active/passive voice and change accordingly
5. And now you have a second-ish draft. Kind of a third. Kind of a second. Call it 2.5 and take a chill pill.
Now, it’s pretty much the same, except I don’t feel the need to print out my book at Staples. I should probably read more books on editing though . . . maybe Staples is a vital part.
Notice during my print editing, I make notes about all the things I did do RIGHT. Now, I’m not saying I know what I’m doing, but you should be making notes about what you did right too. A 90k manuscript of just awful, condescending red marks? No, No, No. Reward yourself for the parts you did right. It might only be ten (or one or two) positivisms but hey. They were REALLY GOOD positivsms. Yes, it’s a word move on.
Whew, now that’s out of the way. Editing sucks. And if you’re one the daisy do-gooders that believe editing the BEST part of the writing process . . . you TERRIFY me. You could rob me with just that statement. I’d hand over cash, keys, my only copy of my dissertation, and my cat. Don’t worry, I’d at least get my cat back. She’s a hoe, but I love her.
The important part of editing is self care. Leave room in the editing process for mistakes. Leave room for mental health days. Leave room for the I’D RATHER LET MY CAT LICK MY TONGUE THAN EDIT days. They all come around. Now, did I do any of this? Absolutely not.
Looking at my schedule, I had less than five weeks to edit my last novel. And I did it . . . and yes I was very, very tired.
Aight, stay saucy my friends. Reap what you can from this, and know once I get editing down, you'll be the first people I shout my wisdom to. . . well, it might not be wisdom. It might just be shouting. Oh well.
XOXO - Kate