**peeks out from the editing cave**
It feels like I’ve been editing this current book forever (forever ever) (forever ever). The act of creating a book is so short compared to the act of editing it.
The first draft is a fiery, hot summer fling. Editing is marriage, where you’re constantly finding ways to make it work. In editing, like marriage, you have to face all kinds of issues big and small.
I am not one of those three, four draft people. I need a dozen at least (should probably note the marriage metaphor ends here). They bigger the draft number, the more tedious the revisions.
How my first drafts go:
“I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.”
― Shannon Hale
First draft I get the words down. I skip whole scenes. I write scenes I know suck ass just so I can get my story from point A to point B. [I talk to myself in brackets, like this, inserting brilliant observations such as characters have super funny banter here and then there’s a big huge fight].
At the end of the process I have a big, ugly lump of clay in front of me. Maybe, if I’m lucky, somewhere inside is a salvageable story.
So my first round of edits is building. Adding. Rearranging. Rewriting. Big, sweeping changes and additions. Finding all those damn brackets and actually writing out the details I skipped the first time. This is macro editing.
Now the ball of clay looks a little less like a formless blob and a little more like it could be … something. Still not clear.
This stage can be several drafts. When the clay finally starts to become a recognizable, and maybe even potentially pleasing shape, I know I’m ready for the next round of edits.
The next round goes like this:
“When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done.”
I’ve built up the clay just to realize now I have something too big, too messy. So I scale back. Sometimes I’m still adding as well. Cut, add, cut, add. Repeat.
What the second part of editing is like:
This is draft ten-ish.
What the pages I’m editing today look like:
When all of this is done, the blob of clay has been replaced with a decent looking vase.
I have no idea what to call this stage. I just know it drags on forever. It’s the part where I’m most likely to lose steam and decide, you know what, fuck this book, I didn’t really want to finish it anyways. It feels like editing purgatory. Editatory? Purgiting?
By the time I get to the final drafts, editing takes yet another form. I study every word, sentence, and paragraph. Small grammar and word choice changes are made. This is micro editing (I can’t bring myself to call this copy editing, because I know talented copy editors, and I don’t rise to this level). It looks like this:
“I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again.
This is where the vase gets the detailing that makes it unique. Where it goes through the fiery kiln and comes out all shiny and perfect on the other side.
Funny how one word can mean so many different things.
** back into editing cave**