On Editing

Those that know me know that I am a prolific writer and a procrastinatory (hey new word) editor, although I’ve recently found that I do better in the latter regard than a lot of other writers.  Still, it’s definitely the slowest part of my process, made slower by the nature of my latest work, The Vengeance Series.

When checking for grammar or other simple mistakes, I can run through several pages in a day.  In this case, the boredom holds me back, but it’s easy to combat.  Where I get most hung up is when a story falls into the void between being good enough to keep most of the text, and being poor enough to need entire sections to be rewritten.

This sort of back and forth between modifying a word or two in a sentence, and scrapping and rewriting entire paragraphs is difficult for me, I think because it forces me to flip back and forth between two different mindsets.  It’s especially problematic since the newly written sections need to then be edited again for the aforementioned wonky sentences and grammar mistakes and as I’ve previously outlined, I am not particularly fond of editing.

The Vengeance Series was written several years ago.  As with most of my earlier work,  several of the ideas were pretty good, but the execution, due to inexperience, was lacking.  There is a frame there that I really like, but almost everything around it needs to be changed out, if not deleted entirely.  I have already gone from around 90,000 words to around 70,000 because when you’re writing chapter by chapter, it is difficult to see when things are getting overdone or redundant.

One of the best ways to keep work from getting stale (which will happen when you’re going through it for the eighth time) is to let it sit for a while after you’ve finished writing it.  Not only does it keep things more interesting, but it allows you to catch more because you don’t quite remember what’s coming and you’re forced to read, not skim.  I have a love/hate relationship with this method, as I feel it’s made me a better writer, but it’s frustrating to talk about working on something and then “hey, it’s at least three months from ever seeing the light of day.”


About Alex

I am awesome.

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