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The Pains of Editing

September 27, 2010

Editing. The bane of my existence. I hate doing it. Hate it with a passion.

Still, it’s one of the most important things to do. I don’t tend to consciously self-edit. In fact, I write it once and that’s it, unless a rewrite is called for later. I don’t like editing myself, mainly because I’ve found myself in a vicious editing cycle where nothing is ever good enough. Now, I write it and leave it.

Once I’ve written the novel, it goes to my husband. He’s pretty vicious about his editing style. He’ll cut whole scenes if they bog down the flow of the story. After he’s finished with it, I reread the novel and see if there’s anything more I want to add or remove before it’s finally sent off to the actual editor.

Then, the editor has it in their hands for several weeks. When I get those edits back, I don’t actually do the editing. My husband does. If I did it, I’d argue with every change made. I’m not one of those authors who’s distanced from her own writing, and I don’t particularly want to be. This is why I have a co-author and husband who are not as married to the words as written as I am, and so they can make the necessary decisions regarding changes to the manuscript. If something BIG needs to be changed, I am consulted, it tends to include a bit of a tizzy, and then I give in and make the necessary changes to make the story stronger.

I recognize that editing is a vitally important part of writing. My books tend to go several edit rounds before they are finished and ready for publication. It doesn’t mean I do editing gracefully, and I do admit that about myself. Editing my own work is not my strong suit, and so I try very hard to never do it. Editing other people, on the other hand, I do very well. I’m blunt and vicious with my red pen because, when it’s someone else’s work, it’s far easier to see what works and doesn’t work for a story. I’m a good editor for other people, but shit for myself. šŸ™‚ Which, honestly, tends to be the way for writers.

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