Tuesday, April 12, 2011

And on to Editing...

How do you get through editing?

It's a pretty simple question that has many answers. But I don't know the answers and so I'm asking for help. With the exception of a few chunks, I'm solidly in the editing process for The Enemy Within. And I'm hating every minute of it. For one thing, after ten years of working off and on, I'm tired of tweaking. It is probably because I write a section and then I edit it. As a result my grammar and spelling is locked up, but now I'm finding out about my quirks--those things that first time writers succomb to. Filtering is my crutch apparently. And so I've been working on each chapter looking for those instances. But it is so hard. And I can barely find the interest to crack open my laptop and do it. I probably need to do a chapter a day and be done with it. Of course, my schedule of working extra hours at my job so that I can spend long weekends with my husband (who lives an hour and half away) is draining. Oh and then there's that pesky exercise thing too. I suppose I should be grateful that I don't have children in the mix because that would be disasterous.

I worry sometimes that I'm not hungry enough. I've done all the research, I have my query, I know who I want to query, but the bloody manuscript is just not ready. I should be burning up the keyboard, but I'm not. I cannot help but be disappointed in myself as a result. And maybe it is that disappointment keeping me back.

So folks--fire away. Please tell me how you are getting through your writing (or editing) doldrums?


  1. I am not a fan of editing, but I know it's necessary. Some people live it. I dread it. I'd rather keep writing, venture into the next story. I get a lot of help from my partner. She reads each chapter after I complete it and gives me a rough correction. Then I will go back and review it all together. I'll probably go through it one chapter at a time.

  2. I actually enjoyed the last editing I did, but that was only because my editor kept giving helpful suggestions and ideas. I hate self-editing. It's a painful and painstaking process, particularly when you have read it so much you can recite it in your sleep. I recommend good music, a jug of iced tea, and pyjamas!

  3. All I can do is sympathise! And empathise :)
    Good luck with the horrible, horrible editing...

  4. It's no fun - you're right. The left-brain/right-brain explanation helped me a lot. I forget which is which, but one half of our brains is the creative side, the other the analytical side. Editing is where the analytical brain gets to do its job. It's important to put the analyst half-brain to sleep when writing and vice versa when editing. Ken Rand's little book, The 10% Solution helped me a lot.

    Also, there are so many types of editing, copy, line, etc. Plotting is my major bugbear, and like you, I line edit as I go.

    What is "filtering"?

  5. Great questions...I think everyone is different, so it's hard to know what works well for one person vs another. I have a really hard time editing on the computer, as though seeing the same thing over and over just puts a mental block between me and the words. But if I print it and go crazy with the colored pens--then I get something done! Have you taken a break from the work to get some distance and perspective...and recharge yourself? It sounds like you're really drained! Taking a break--or several--really is a necessary part of the process.

    Good luck! If you ever need a beta reader for a section or a sounding board--or just someone to talk to!--drop me a line :)

  6. Euclid--"filtering" is basically viewing other character's actions through the eyes of the main character(s).
    For example:
    "She saw the man frown."
    It is more efficient to write: "The man frowned."

    It doesn't sound bad but I've had a few beta readers say that they feel that the main character knows too much about the feelings of other charcaters. Oops.

  7. Re Filtering. In Ken Rand's little book (mentioned in my earlier comment) he has a list of words that he searches for. Some of these distance the reader from the character/action: saw/see, felt/feel, hear, smell, touch, taste. (thought is another one, of course) As in: "He saw the man frown". I tend to write "He could see..." a lot.