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Surviving Editing Madness

July 1, 2010

Recently, I participated in #teasertuesday. It’s where you post a snippet of your current work for others to read and comment upon.

I’d never done anything like it before, and when I found out about it I only had 2 days to prepare for it…2 days in which to frantically search my novel for an appropriate piece…and then try to make it picture perfect (or at least fill in those research blanks and make sure the dang thing’s spelled correctly!)

I’ll admit it. I came down with a bit of ‘Editing Madness’. You know, where you start examining each sentence, each word, asking yourself: is this the best way to express it? Is there a stronger, better, more specific verb? Am I being too repetitive here? Should I change this character’s hair colour? (My gosh, once again, everyone’s a brunette!)

In a way, this is good. It’s healthy to go over your work every now and then from the perspective of that Anonymous Reader. Put on their viewpoint and see things with ‘fresh eyes’. You can make your writing tighter that way.

But I had to remind myself…

1. Don’t take it too far! Not every word needs to be heavily imbued with meaning.  Not every line needs a fancy-dancy metaphor.

2. And don’t forget to take off those ‘audience eyes’ when you’re done! Its fine to wear them on occasion but if you wear them all the time, you run the risk of blurring your own vision. It’s meant to be an alternate, occasional viewpoint, not your permanent one. Use it to inform your writing; not dictate it!

3. And stay connected to your intuition! Don’t let that ‘critical’ reading morph into an over-urge to people-please, so that your noble intention to improve your writing becomes tainted by self doubt and anxiety… then nothing’s good enough and the next thing you know, you’re eating your own tail, trying to make it be all things to all people…so that when you finally do step away, you do so saying ‘huh? Where did my novel go? Why is it now about good-looking teenage vampires?’.

Stay grounded and confident in your original intent. Know where your interior boundaries are.

Know when to tell your inner editor: Ok, that’s enough!

One comment

  1. […] course, I’ve been editing all along (see Surviving Editing Madness #1) and to call this my ‘first’ draft is inaccurate…it’s more like my […]



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