Singing the editing blues…

As an author that is not even remotely attempting to join in, what I consider to be, the insanity that is NaNoWriMo I find myself procrastinating.  That should probably mean I would benefit greatly from joining up with aforementioned craziness, however, I am trying to edit about 380 more (yes, I said more- I’ve already done about 40) pages of my completed manuscript so I can enter into The Golden Heart.  Perhaps I should also mention that I have already done a massive rewrite and two light edits?

Of course the next question I would be asking, should I have been the unfortunate soul to have read the above paragraph, is this:  So why are you revising again?

Now, since I apparently am asking that question to myself I can answer most concisely:  Because I got great feedback from a competition I entered into (and did I mention all three judges liked the story and thought my writing was accomplished and the story a “real gem”?  Yeah, I didn’t think so.).  Of course that doesn’t mean it didn’t need some tweaking as there is still plenty to be fleshed into more “show” paragraphs than “tell” ones.

This presents a variety of issues:  First: I am sick to death of my completed manuscript.  No matter how many times I go through it I can always find something to change, make better or, very possibly, worse (although that last is not intentional, I assure you).  Second:  If I’m sick of it how on Earth am I going to get through the edit without getting absurdly lazy?  Third:  Unlike the previous competitions I’ve entered this one wants the whole manuscript.  Yep, not 20 pages, nor even 50 (like the last one)- but all 419 flippin’ pages.  *bangs head into keyboard*

Would I like to work on the new manuscript which truly has more literary qualities in it than the completed one?  Of course (well, kind of- that piece of work scares the crap out of me… but that’s a subject for another blog)!  Instead I find myself hip deep in the mire of my “completed” (anyone else think that word is a bit mocking?  I do too.) work with my eyes crossing as they fixate upon that white screen before me.  Sure, it’s kind of less intimidating than working on a whole new manuscript- but the attention it requires is wholly different.

A new manuscript affords me the luxury of errors.  That might not seem like a big deal but I assure you it is.  It’s like watching a child learn to walk- you know they’ll fall, scrape their knees, get other various bumps and bruises, all on the way to learning to be efficient and coordinated walkers.  Rough drafts are kind of like that- you expect to have to go back through, re-read, delete, add, cut, paste and any other numerous things to make it good.  It’s uneven, stilted steps will hopefully become a smooth and elegant gait upon completion.

Editing the hell out of something that is already pretty close could make the difference between eloquent language use to what might as well be someone falling off their tricycle, onto a whoopie cushion and rolling into a kiddie pool filled with jello.

How do you know when you’re done editing?  Will my eyes ever stop bleeding?  I suppose I should have asked a doctor about that…


2 responses to “Singing the editing blues…

  • cassandrajade

    I am very much with you. I started one MS when I was seventeen – in handwritten form. Four years later, and many MS attempts later, I found the notebook and typed it out. Now 24 and several rewrites, edits, friends opinions, and multiple rejections later I’m once again editing, though this time I’m editing for it to published and I have actual feedback from an editor to work with. So all of the editing that I did before hand was just enough to get it to the stage where someone could tell me how much work still needed doing. I loved this story, I still love the premise and the ideas of the characters but I am finding it increasingly difficult to focus on that story when I have so many others that want some attention. What keeps me going is knowing that I want it to be the best that I can make it and until it is, well, back to editing we go.
    Thanks for sharing this and I wish you luck with your current round of edits.

    • kimberlyloomis

      Thanks for sharing, Cassandra! I’ve been told the editing process can pretty much go on eternally-well, at least until it’s in print. How do you balance edits and working on new manuscripts?

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