I have been delving into that thing called editing again. Every time I think I've accomplished the feat of finally FINISHING my book, I realize I haven't. That's always depressing. And then I run out of time to actually look at my book because life gets in the way. Ah, if only I could JUST be a writer for once in my life and nothing else!
Well, sadly, that won't happen for a while, so until then...I'll just push time and life aside at points to edit my books...and drink lots of coffee...hence the picture. (Speaking of that picture--it's called 'Coffee Art' isn't that cool!?)
Now, I am going to list what I've found to be true of my editing process.
1. It really is never over.
I know. I still can't come to terms with this one. At points I really believed there would be no retouching of the book, but it's obsessive and I can't stop myself. It's like...a really shiny object. You just have to mess with it.
2. You can over-edit.
Yep...I've done this...I've over-edited relationships, over-simplified scenes. The hard part is realizing you've done this, especially if your word count (as you might recall mine was) wayyyy too high! Of course, this is a simple fix...you just write more in the places where you deleted it, BUT don't forget to reread what you just wrote...chances are you left out a word. ;)
3. Grammar really isn't everything.
For me, anyways and I'll tell you why--I am an English Major and a writer, so everyone expects greatness when I write a novel. But I'm not amazing at editing and I know that. I really am not a great speller. I'm not always sure why I put commas in random places (really, I don't know), sometimes I really hope I can use a semi-colon there and a colon here. In other words, I'm not great with the rules of grammar. For me what matters is the plot, the development of the characters...is your story really there? If it isn't...well, you have a different problem. Now, I'm not saying ignore it! Please don't ignore it, but don't let it get you down--if all else fails, ask someone else to check your grammar, especially if you (like me) aren't great at rules. lol.
4. If you feel like something isn't working then it isn't.
I felt this way about my first 5 chapters for a long time, but I had a problem: I just didn't know how to fix it! So, instead...I just waited this out and figured sooner or later, I'd come up with something I felt great about and it happened. Which leads me too....
5. Editing takes time.
I complained once that I had sat before my computer for TWO HOURS and had only edited about 2 pages or so...but editing takes time. It isn't going to be finished overnight (no matter how much we wish). Thing about it is, to be good editors, we have to take breaks. If we stare at manuscript forever...well, we're going to stop seeing the mistakes. And if it takes us a few hours to get through a couple of pages, well, I bet those are some pretty polished pages. Wow...all that alliteration!
So....I have learned these things. I don't think I'll ever be a GOOD editor. I'm very impatient...and I tend to forget things take times. Also, I'm editing a novel I wrote in the ninth grade (High School). It has changed so much. A part of me wants to open a new document completely and just redo everything, but then...I love what I have too much, and I don't think it's in need of a rewrite that huge. It's not really in need of a rewrite, but definitely tweaking. lol.