I used to hate editing, really I did. Oh, I didn’t mind editing everyone else’s work, just my own. Not that I thought the words slathered on the paper were perfect, quite the opposite. I feared that the story I concocted stank of raw sewage. I wanted nothing else to do with it (so says the three novels sitting in the back of my proverbial closet, untouched since completion). With my last novel, though, I’ve slowly opened myself to the power and confindence that comes with editing.
What was different about the last novel edits?
Mostly, I just knew what I was doing and why. See, I’m the kind of person who has to know the reason for what I do. You can’t just tell me to scrub the -ly words, you have to tell me why. Once I understand, I’ll rush through my manuscript, demolishing every -ly word in sight. As I’ve studied over the last couple of years, my mind has expanded and embraced the guidelines. So, with my last edits, I relished in the thoughts and ideas on how I was going to make this better.
With this novel, I even wrote the first draft much faster than I’ve written any other novel. I think it took me about 2 1/2 months of actual writing time (spread over 9 months). I had some hiccups along the way that kept me from writing–an overseas move, depression, and just a fear of writing my first fantasy. Normally, it’s taken me at least a year to write a first draft, if not more. However, this time I wasn’t afraid to write something that wasn’t going to be as close to perfect as possible. Every time I felt the need to go back and fix something, I simply wrote it down in my notebook so I wouldn’t forget.
I finished my novel close to the end of January. Yay!
Over the last 18 days, I’ve hardly thought about my novel–too busy focusing on the move to our new house. The house provided a good distraction, otherwise I’d have been tempted to jump into edits right away, instead of giving myself time away to let the story settle. Tomorrow, I’m taking my novel to Staples and printing out a hard copy, and when writing time comes around, I’ll curl up on the couch with my trusty colored pens and highlighters, ready to dive in and make it shine.
Let the editing commence!