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Picking at the Editing Scab

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Addison, Aug 27, 2013.

  1. Addison

    Addison Auror

    After months of avoiding/brewing and having the first read by two fantasy fans (my brother and sister), I know how to fix my beginning so everything is tight. I know that nothing is perfect, whether it's writing, cooking, sewing or police procedure as you can account for everything, but this version feels better.

    The problem? I can't bring myself to change the existing draft. Personally I think it's because I've edited and edited and edited and edited and edited...you get the idea. I've donned the editor's smock and mask and gone into the beginning with so many pairs of rubber gloves and scalpels I have a membership at the Editor's Surplus Store. I'm just tired of picking and slicing away at it. The last version has just scabbed over and now I have to scrape that off (and we all know how painful it is to peel off a scab) and fix it again.

    Any tips or advice to get through it is much appreciated. Oh, and any advice relating to the term "Just bear down and do it", does not count. That has been my philosophy and right now it's gone out on vacation, it's return date read "Whenever you're done with the beginning." If I sound dramatic or obnoxious it's because I've been trying to force it back and get it done for the last week with no luck. And college just started back up, a half whoop and half "WAAAA!"
  2. C Hollis

    C Hollis Troubadour

    I don't like to force it. Honestly, if it were me, and I didn't have a deadline, I'd let it stew. Work on something else for a while, and I'll leave "while" as a general-all-encompassing term that can only be realized when all of the sudden you wake up and feel the day is right.

    Make some record of how you think you can patch up the beginning and stuff it all in a drawer for a bit. When you come back to it, you'll have a somewhat fresh look at it and you may just find yourself wondering how you're going to step away from it. On the other hand, you may pick it up and wonder why the heck you wanted to change anything in the first place.

    Sometimes stepping back is the thing to do.
  3. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Forum Mom Leadership

    Hollis is right. You've burned out - now it the time to drawer the project and let your mind percolate on it for however long it takes. Make good, detailed notes about how you think it can be tightened, and make sure to note that those ideas are optional. Then sink into your new semester, drink too many lattes, read great books, and play with new ideas.

    The day will come when you'll wake up and know in you're heart that it's time to work on this story again. Today is not that day. Tomorrow isn't looking good, either. But someday. No rush. There is a whole wonderful world of new ideas out there to discover and luxuriate in. Who knows, maybe one is the one you're looking for? Go out there and explore!
  4. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

    First, I must say that thread title was giving me horrible images. :)

    I'm going to agree with others. Letting it sit for a while or even turning it over to a beta reader may help get some new eyes on it. When I finished my first ever first draft I let it sit for about two months and when I came back to it, I felt ill. But I think I just wasn't ready to edit at that point. Take as much time as you need. I don't suggest editing something into oblivion though. There comes a point when you just have to say "It's done" and move on to the next thing. As long as you feel confident you're putting out your best work, then that's all that matters. It's up to your editor (or readers if you're self-publishing) to determine if you did a good job or not.

    I know there's a fear of "you only get one chance for a first impression," but if you keep "picking the scab" so to speak, your novel is never going to clot. :)
  5. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

    Why have you edited this beginning so much? What kinds of changes are you making? Are you planning to do this to the whole novel or is it just one scene you can't get quite right? By how you described your process, I think you're over-editing. Ine thing I do, when I go about editing a scene, is first detail my goals. Then I make sure the scene meets those goals, first and foremost. WHy is this scene causing so much trouble?
  6. jeracoo

    jeracoo Acolyte

    I find it's great to get someone else to do some editing, up to my 6th draft now
  7. Addison

    Addison Auror

    Sorry Phil. :p

    meep :( Now I have scary images in my head.

    Lots of questions, good questions, just lots. I've edited the beginning because all the others were chaotic. The very word several readers used. Too much at once. I got smoothed out the chaos, they enjoyed it more. But they felt it didn't carry as much momentum and the end of the first act was a bit strange, a questions that shouldn't have existed. One of them even said "a baby Deus Ex Machina". So this final edit fixes both problems. I'm in the last (hopefully) stage of revising/editing of my story so there's some more to come but those changes will be easy. They're mostly deleting and replacing scenes. Not face lifting entire chapters.

    Thank you all for the replies and support. And I have let the story stew in the back of a dark drawer for three months. It has quite a tang and I am ready to dive in. It just hurts, I had an entire summer of next to zero writing. I'm a little rusty. And reluctant as this is a big change which could prepare it for publication, which is a HUGE step!

    Thanks again everyone! :D
  8. Addison

    Addison Auror

    So really you could look at this editing as....I actually don't have an analogy for this. I have the first chapters, I have the places that need editing marked and highlighted and noted as to what goes where. The problem is making my brain reach to my fingers so I can make the changes. Like there's a kink in the Writing hose somewhere.

    I have the who, what, where, when, why and how of the editing. I just have this sign hanging down from my brain that says "Can't!"
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2013
  9. C Hollis

    C Hollis Troubadour

    So, I wonder is this reluctance to edit, or just not being in the writing mode?

    I mean, you mentioned you really hadn't done much writing over the summer. I know there are days when I'm just not in the mood to work on my book, or whatever project is on my list. I have found if I work on another project, often the mood kicks back in.

    Maybe you just need to work on something else for a bit, kind of like warming up before a good work out at the gym. Pick a character in your book and write a short story with them in it.

    I don't know, just throwin ideas out.
  10. Homicida

    Homicida Dreamer

    I wish I could offer some advice. I've always just asked my brother to help me with revisions and editing. Once he gets through with a chapter, I'll take it back and we skype and see if everything still fits. It usually ends up being bounced back and forth between three and five times. Now that I think about our process, it may just be the reason I don't get too frustrated anymore. Takes a bit longer though.

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