Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Editing: 3 tips on throat slitting depression.

I thought as most of you were probably doing Nina Kajagoogoo or whatever that thing's called that happens in November every year, I'd talk about something completely different.


Yes, for those of you dancing to Kajagoogoo this month, you get to edit in December.

Worse. Re-writes. Throat slitting depression as you realize how much work is still to be done. Most of us (whether you Nano-Nano or not) know this well. It's called finishing something.

A short story, novel, poem... they all need it.

I find it incredibly hard. In fact the more drafts something goes through the harder it becomes.

The more depressing.

The more anxiety.

The hatred for the piece grows.

Then the denial.


Burn the manuscript! Burn it!

Then acceptance.

Then more hatred.

I also find myself holding my breath sometimes while I'm doing it. To the point of nearly passing out.

I have come to the conclusion that I concentrate so hard on it, that I forget to continue to sustain life. My life. And that's really, really, important to me. It's like, the reason I get up in the morning.

So anyway, enough rant. Something meaningful:

1) Don't destroy your original manuscript when editing.

Back that shit up. I've said it before and I'll say it again. If you're dumping a scene/doing massive re-writes don't just delete it. Keep a backup of each major draft and re-write. You'll never know when you'll suddenly remember that thing you did in that novel that wasn't right there so you deleted it but it's perfect now. Crap.

2) Slow and steady gets you there, hopefully with your sanity in tact.

Dear God don't sit down and re-write your first draft in one sitting. A little by a little. Keep some time each day to edit, and some to write. (Even if it is inane blog posts about editing) If you run at it head first you'll end up with a headache and a manuscript you hate...really hate.

3) Don't give up when you really  hate your manuscript.

Take a break. Eat a snickers. Whatever. If it takes a couple of days so be it. You liked it enough to write it, therefore it doesn't suck. Well, it won't after you've finished editing it.

So, follow these tips three and a happy editor you will be.

Or not.

What do I care, I've got to go back to editing now...

1 comment:

  1. Good post. Editing is the least enjoyable part of the process. I learned a long time ago to print out my drafts, to avoid being hasty. But I liken editing to diamond cutting. Sure, it's nerve-wracking, but the final product is a thing of beauty...