Friday, January 15, 2010

Painstaking Process

A great comment was left on one of my other blog posts recently. Good ol' Angie Kate said that editing is much less fun and much more time consuming than writing, but equally necessary.

She's right, of course, but I wish she wasn't. I'm not a big fan of the re-writing, because it seems like it takes gobs and gobs of effort and concentration to produce a couple of ounces of tangible, realized outcome.

However, in the early stages of my editing/re-writing of my work in progress, I've begun to realize the dividends. Polished copy is much (so much) better than that rough, thorny stuff I first threw out there when I was hammering out the first draft.

There are the points where I'm really ticked at myself for writing what I see as a rotten sentence, and it takes me 45 minutes to rehash the mess around it. Like that one rancid sentence infected all the other ones around it, and now I have to send in the clean-up crew for the whole dang paragraph. Sigh.

Sure, the process is painstaking, and I totally (and I mean totally) agree with Angie Kate's assessment, but I'm still going through it with as much zeal as I can. I don't like it as much as the writing, but I know that it's making me a better writer in the long run.

It took me a little bit to warm up to it, and I'm not exactly cozy yet, but I see the importance. So I'm teaching myself to love it. After all, I know I'll be more happy with the overall project when I go back and read it again.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Opening the drawer

The first draft of my first novel is officially out of the drawer now, and going through this first round of edits has brought on some realizations.

First and foremost, there are a lot (and I mean A LOT) of "I wrote this?" moments. And that can be both good and bad. Sometimes it's "Ugh, I can't believe I wrote this!" Other times it's more fulfilling "Hey. Wow. I wrote this."

I haven't decided which one of these I get more out of. While I like the good stuff, and it's good for the confidence, the stuff I don't like probably produces more. It opens up more re-working and (hopefully) improving what I've done.

I haven't decided if I like this process. Re-writing and editing is a completely different animal than writing. It's more pain-staking, and it's a real thinker. I stare at a sentence or two for long periods of time, contemplating better ways to tell the tale. It's tough.

When I write, I just sit down and write. Now I'm being critical of my own work, and I have to make sure that I'm the biggest critic. That usually isn't a problem, but I have to be conscious of everything. When I'm writing, I could pretty much close my eyes and go sometimes. Now I'm sitting a couple inches away from my screen, moving the blocks around.

The thing I'm most proud of is that I was able to leave this thing in the drawer for as long as I did. Eight weeks I stayed away from this thing. I was ultra-proud to have finished the first draft, and I think I've got a good story.

Now I'm making it better.