I am editing.
No! I lie! I am tearing my hair out and weeping and despairing of ever stringing words together in a way that deserves to be called a novel.
This draft (of my first book, entitled BLOOD) is nearing completion. Yes, this means, when I am finished, I’ll sign a pledge not to rewrite it yet again (I won’t even start counting how many times I’ve rewritten it…since I started at 14). At least, I won’t rewrite it again…yet.
Yet is a marvelous word.
In fact, there are many marvelous words out there. It just so happens that I can’t find any of them when I’m writing (what’s supposed to be) an epic manuscript.
Word Count: 72
I think they’re dreams, but I don’t know. Back on the island,
when the dreams came, I saw them, like someone flashing a picture in my face. This time it’s different. (It’s already implied.) Maybe it’s because I’m cold, or I’m alone, or maybe it’s because of this place we’ve fallen into – this place that I’m not sure is real. (Repeated myself) Or safe (unneeded). I think it’s going to eat me. This time, I’m inside the dream.
After a malicious moment with the battle axe, I came up with this.
Word Count: 50
I think they’re visions, but they feel different. Back on the island, I saw them like someone flicking a film on and off. Maybe it’s the cold, or because I’m alone, or maybe it’s this place – but I’m inside the vision. I feel, smell, hear, everything. I am the vision.
Get rid of needless words!
No, no, nooo, to this…
Did I mention opening lines?
I have precious few moments to hook my reader in. And, if that’s not hard enough, I also need to set the style, voice, scene and feeling. Yep, no brainer, right?
Back in my epic days of simple writing and unreigned joy of the craft (all of 4 years ago), I started with this:
On the recent finishing of my manuscript, it ended up like this:
And, yesterday, I changed it to this:
Passive! Get rid of passive phrases!
Butcher knife — atten-tion!
Power. In the single beheading swipe of a simple passive verb such as: IS.
scrapping instead of scraping
losing the letter S (but that’s my laptop’s fault, because the S key is partly broken)
the mystery of vanishing and reappearing objects
using “that”. everywhere
repeating myself by repeating myself
Editing isn’t such a horror when the right way is clear. Passive? Change it. Uncharacteristic? Tweak it. Too wordy? Tighten it.
But what happens when you’re not sure, you don’t know, when it sounded good five seconds ago but staring at it again, my goodness, it’s floppy and barbaric and amateur?
Keep trying. Keep rereading. Keep chocolate on hand. Get fresh eyes to read it. Don’t be afraid to cut (I keep my axed preciouses in a seperate file, just in case).
Because at the end of the day (no matter how much I scream and rant)…
What do you do when you’re editing? Is it fun and invigorating? Or depressing and…where did I put that writers’-revision-towel so I can scream?
Good news is…I’m half way through!
(My baby has also slimmed from 92k to 86k. Ah, that is a lot of excess wording.)