Okay, I’m going to admit it in public. I love editing. Don’t hate me and please don’t throw things at me. I do. It’s one of my favorite parts of the writing process.

I’m pushing through a first draft at the moment. And when I say pushing, that’s what I mean. I force myself to get up and write the scenes my characters are begging me to put down on paper. I don’t know why it’s not working, but it just isn’t. It’s hard. There is nothing fun about it this particular time around. But I persevere because I know when I get to the end I’ll know exactly what happened and where the villain came from and how my hero and heroine came to their “happy ever after“. 

Once that’s done I can go back and fill in the missing red herrings for the suspense portion of the story and beef up the romance. It’s easy because I know what I want to accomplish. It wasn’t always that way. When I wrote my first books it was the original draft that revved my engine. Plodding back through it seemed like such drudgery. But I think it was because I edited as I went. I don’t do that anymore.

This week I’m expecting edits for “Shadows of Fire“, my May 2009 release from Liquid Silver Books. (Edits for “Divine Deception” are completed and the book is just waiting for release.) I can’t wait. Part of it is that I haven’t really looked at this book since I signed the contract last August. I love these characters. Editing gives me the opportunity to revisit them and fall in love with these vampires all over again.

Of course my editor will ask me to “tighten this” or “add more here”. I don’t mind. It’s a challenge to make my writing the best it can be. I love it. I can’t help it. I do.

Of course it’s probably the thrill of knowing my story is another step closer to publication. And only the thrill of getting emails from my readers beats release day.

So bring on those edits … I’m ready!

0 Responses to Say it’s “Just Riiiiigt”

  • I love editing too however I must say for the viewing public… how many bottles of wine did I go through with Madrigal’s edits?

    Were you keeping count?

  • Not an editing fan.
    It is a necessary part of writing
    and I see the magic that happens with a great editor
    but, for me, it is simply work.
    There’s no mystery left.
    I know the ending.

  • I don’t hate you; I agree with you. 🙂

    It’s nice to hear there’s another author who feels the same way I do. I really enjoy writing the second draft of a novel because at that point I’ve got something to shape. I can see the structure of the whole story and, as you say, I know what I want to accomplish to make the story work. When I know the shape of the main story, I know which subplots I’ve been considering will work, where I can start to weave them in, and so on. First drafts have their fun moments, but they’re like E.L. Doctorow’s description of driving at night–you can only see as far ahead as your headlights illuminate. And sometimes my headlights get so dim I think I need a new battery. 🙂

    For myself, I always thought my preference for the second draft was because I was an editor before I became an author; I was used to shaping existing prose. When I get to work on something I’ve already put down on the page, I finally feel like I know what I’m doing. I think that makes it easier for me to work with editors now, as well. My first novel is coming out in August, so that one’s been through the editing process. My second comes out next January, so we’ve been through the major revisions and are moving into line edits. In both cases, the editors have been a joy to work with. It helps to remember, as you say, that they also want each book to be the best I can make it.

    Anyway, I really enjoyed reading your perspective on this issue!

  • Kimber – I think you’re in the majority and I think it has a lot to do with the whole “been there/done that”

    Nancy – Thanks for sharing. (And you can stand right here next to me and dodge the tomatoes. I think I may need reinforcements. 😉 ) Interesting coming at the process as an editor first. I’m sure it does give you a different perspective.

    Jennifer – I lost count at 3. It’s just not nice to share a critique partner’s dirty laundry in public!

  • Ok here’s the deal – I don’t mind editing the first time ’round. And I don’t mind editing if it’s been six months since the last edit – but what I hate, (and I mean hate), is the third, fourth, fifth – a mentor of mine says a manuscript needs to be edited something like 17 times. If that’s true I’m going to shoot myself!

    Gosh, I wish I could get it right the first two times around, because pretty soon I feel as if I’ve edited out all the stuff I like and left in all the stuff my CP’s like. I WANTED my protagonist to fall down in the mud, Damn it! (I hope I haven’t offended anybody, swearing.) (I took the mud out because someone strenuously objected! – but between you and me – I put it back in again. sneaky huh?)

    So, how do I put this, if you guys like editing so much – how about taking a crack at my mss?

    Happy Writing,

    Kate

  • I’m with you, Nina – and most of the comments are as well – I only tear through the firset draft, ignoring all errors, to get to the fun part – I edited Long Run Home (due 09/18/09 with The Wild Rose Press) 15 times! It ended up being the best, by far, of my books! Lynn romaine

  • Right now, I hate editing. I love writing the first draft…getting the story down on paper that first time is thrilling. I hate the next part where I go back and rewrite paragraphs, cut paragraphs, and add more stuff.

    The next round where it is just tweaking, picking the right words, and adding in the little details is okay. I don’t mind them but for the me the best part is the initial telling of the story.

  • Kate – Oh, that sounds unhappy. 17 times? Ummm … by then I’d throw the thing out the window. *knock on wood* I’ve never had more than two rounds of edits on any book. I have an idea my time will come.

    Lynn – 15 times? Oh, dear, I think by then I’d be ready for my characters to go live somewhere else. But we each have a process that works for us and the things that make our book tight and strong. Sounds like it thrilled you. Thanks so much for taking the time to share your story.

    Beth – That’s how I felt with my first few books. But I think it was because I’d tweaked them so many times without them going to an actual editor. Now with my wonderful editors, it’s a different kind of a process.

  • I don’t mind editing. I have learned so much through the editing process, seeing why some grammatical changes were made, etc. I also like that it gives me a chance to really absorb the details that get overlooked during the first couple of drafts. When there is a sequel coming, that really helps avoid mistakes.

  • Both methods described in the comments from others are right for both types of writers. I admire your own method, Kimber, and it’s the one I advocate in my workshops for writers who are still uncertain about the method that works best for them. I wish I could follow it as faithfully as I believe in it, though. As an editor for more than 40 years, I suffer from the occupational hazard of editing as I go, because that’s how I have to approach the mss I edit for a living. But that method, when I continue using it in writing my own books (even articles) is counterproductive. It’s like taking two steps forward, one step backward.

    For anyone who becomes sick of revising her own work for the 17th time, here’s what I recommend in my books for writers: Start editing the final scene and work backwards, one scene at a time. That not only takes one’s attention off the momentum of the plot, it also lets the writer see other issues as if for the first time.

    Bottom line: Whatever works and feels right to you. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Chris Roerden
    Don’t Sabotage Your Submission
    Don’t Murder Your Mystery

  • Trina – I didn’t even mention that aspect of it. It’s amazing the things my editors have pointed out to me. I have definitely learned a little something from all of them that has hopefully translated into better writing.

    Chris – Wow, 40 years as an editor, I’m sure you’ve seen it all. And I love your suggestion of starting at the end and working backwards. I didn’t mention that when I edit I do scenes in random order. When taken by themselves it’s amazing the mistakes I find. Thanks for stopping by.

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