Archive for October 15th, 2008
A few words about editing…
Writing is the easy part – it is the act of getting the idea onto paper, and any words or ideas are fine. Things don’t need to anywhere near making 100% sense, and “missing details” can be annotated if research may be needed (something like “[look up New England specialties/seasons]” – an item I actually wrote in my current story). When the story is the focus, the writer gets to use the “don’t sweat the small stuff” excuse, if needed, so the words of the moment can make it to the page. Why stop in the middle of bleeding onto a page to check and see what kind of fish may actually be available for a setting. Hell, even the spelling and verbage don’t really matter that much in the initial draft.
Editing, though, that is where things really start getting fun. That is when the spelling matters, and the minutia that was previously skipped becomes important items. It is during the editing process that the manuscript is reread (and later re-reread, etc.) to start cutting text, tweaking the style and flow of the work, maintain tense [usu. past v. present] and point of view.
The writing may be the fun part, and the really fast part (I know there have been moments that I have churned out a few pages in an hour, in a flurry of motivation), but the editing can be frustrating and brutally slow.
I printed out the existing text for my current story, double spaced for ease in reading and editing. All told, it weighed in at about sixteen and one-half pages [and there is still a little more of the story to be written, but that’s another thing*]. The raw document was about nine and one-half pages when I started editing. The work has now grown to a full ten pages (about to spill onto the eleventh), and I have gotten through the first five pages [about seven and two-thirds pages of the double spaced copy]. I have been working on the editing side since Monday, and today is Wednesday. [Granted, I have been doing this while at work, and only while at work, which by that very nature will slow the process a bit.]
* Okay, the other thing: I knew the front of the story was a disaster – tense shifts and a lot of extra words that I have since dropped to help tighten the text up [a verb lift… ha!]. I have a very good idea for the “Epilogue” portion of the story [and I don’t see it being much more than a page, if that], and realized the editing of the whole work would be time consuming, so I decided to start the revisions before finishing the story (read, I know what I want to do, I just didn’t really want to go there yet). Then, it will be an issue of writing and editing the last segement… Probably a bit of flawed logic, but it’s what I’m running with at the moment…