Confessions of a Choleric Writer

 

Here’s to editing!

Some people hate it.

Some people endure it.

I love it.

The first draft is a horrible, no-good, lump of clay. It’s downright ugly. But perhaps there’s something there worth carving out.

I remove the words “began to” and “started to” and turn them into something that is happening, instead of going to happen. I take a look at “looked at” and tweak those phrases, and every “was” becomes something happening in the moment. I also take out any word not necessary to make a sentence clear. I like a clean sentence. Any bits of dialogue or action that don’t move the plot forward get the ax , even if they read well and I like them. Not necessary? Gone.

I may be a little harsh. I sometimes wonder if I scrub my work too hard. What would the end result feel like if I hadn’t reshaped that scene? Then I remember, I can’t read a blog entry longer than 300 words. Why would anyone else want to read a story with rambling dither? It’s a careful process for me, and every word left deserves to stay. In the end, it makes the story stronger.

Beneath that lump of clay is something worth carving out, maybe even something worth letting others read.

What kinds of things do you edit from your work?

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