Thoughts on Editing

Editing feels like making backwards progress.

You start with a complete story, with a rather large number of pages.

You then proceed to pick that story apart, cutting out whole sections, so that the manuscript no longer functions as a narrative.  You harden your heart to the desperate pleading of beautifully written scenes that just have no place in your story anymore, and try not to compare cutting characters completely to murdering your own children.

Once this butchery is performed, you start rewriting.  Or you perform both at the same time, so that your word count has no idea what to do with itself, and your story becomes a teetering Jenga tower of old and new writing.  You can only hope the whole thing doesn’t fall apart when you cut out the next scene, or add a new bit of dialogue.  because if it does, there goes a year or more of your life with it, and you just don’t have the will or energy to try and salvage the remains.

Then, when  you’re not even halfway through editing your work, a revelation falls from the sky, scattering the remnants of your story to the winds.  Yes, if you change the location of the climax the entire narrative flows better, but it means that, after a certain point, you either have to cut or rewrite EVERYTHING.

Gah.

So you let the new ideas stew in your brain, trying to comprehend the ramifications of your latest brainchild, and decide to write a blog post about the process instead.  You also obsessively check your email and phone, and vainly tell yourself that it’s bedtime.

And then you go back to editing, because your Spotify playlist is ON POINT and writing is your life.

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