The Agonies of Editing

6:39 PM Anis Widayanti 0 Comments

Ahh noelle, it's not just fledgling authors who feel the dents of editorial comment. I am about to receive edits from my publishers and am getting myself prepared for the sting (as much as you can). "Don't they get it! How dare they say that! But I love that part!" might be among the thoughts you're having. I rant and rave and get all bothered and offended.

I find two things help with the post edit sting (actually three) a/ putting the edits down for a bit and mulling (or brooding -if you like) them over; b/ choosing the best "hills to die on" if you get my meaning - the happy medium between those things you are willing to change and those that must remain as they are, besides which, it is still your story, you do not have to make any of the changes an editor asks of you (though I would not recommend such action, a good editor will me you a better writer - I know that is true for me, God bless you Celia and Tim) c/ the healing balm of time.

Also, remind yourself that the editing stage is a team effort, AND the crucial first sharing with the beginnings of an ever widening audience. Though criticism is hard to bare, the excitement of the improved text gained through it is well worth all the struggle... well I think so, anyway.

My first drafts are L-U-M-P-Y, uneven, turgid and at times self-indulgent - folks don't have to be sad that they get edited down and words cut out; the words that are left are far better than those removed. Just for perspective I excised 25,000 words from the 1st draft of Lamplighter and oh how it improved. If anyone thought say that the journey from Winstermill to Wormstool dragged a bit in the final version of Lamplighter, just know that it went for a whole chapter longer in the 1st draft... even I thought is S-L-O-W when I came to read it over properly for myself. And now here in Book 3, Factotum, I have managed I think to prise 9,000 words (so far) out of the first 10 chapters and it is already a far better book.

So bring on the editing, I say, pain and all, a better book awaits (though ask me again in a week or so's time how I am feeling about it all...)

Alyosha, I really enjoyed your comment and though I have given cursory thought to engineers and masons and the like, I shall now think a little more particularly about such folks who tread the middle path between out and out adventure and staying safe behind walls. Concometrists come to mind a bit here, the measurers and the surveyors - but what of engineers? What should I call them...?

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