Progress, Progress...

>> Monday, January 21, 2008

Well, this evening I gave my rough draft for the story I'm working on its first edit. Had I used a red pen, it would look much like it had been dipped in blood. As it was, I used a pink pen since it was closest to hand, and as a result the rough draft looks like someone's bubble gum popped all over the pages. I found a lot of things I want to add, change, or expand upon, in addition to fixing the minor errors such as misspellings or repetitious use of certain words.

I know it sounds weird, and I don't know if it's just me, or if writers tend to be like this in general, but I'm quite pleased by how messy the draft looks right now. The messier a draft starts out in its initial editings, the better the finished result usually is, I've noticed. But perhaps that's just me. I don't know. I take editing pretty seriously. Editing is something I have mixed feelings about. While part of me enjoys editing, another part of me loathes the whole process, since it gives me a headache.

And I mean that quite literally. Sometimes editing actually gives me a splitting headache. But that usually happens when I pull out the BIG editing guns, so to speak. I have, somehow, developed a technique of editing that I can do in "desperate" circumstances, such as when I'm waaaaay over my word limit on a paper or something, and I really have to trim it down to size (it's always been my theory that it's better to have too much to say than too little!). It's very slow-paced, time-consuming, and ultra-anal. But it works, and it gets the job done.

I doubt I'll have to use that particular technique with this story, though, since I've still got some room for leeway, in terms of word count. But, we'll see. I'll reserve the final verdict for whenever I get some of the new description added and stuff.

I have some other editing techniques, one of which is very unusual, but it's the perfect thing for trying to see how the different pieces of your story fit together and whether you've left out important plot details, or whether certain things should go in a different order. In other words, it's a great technique for checking the structure of your story, or for correcting any structure problems you might have. Plus, it helps you to catch a lot of details and little mistakes that you might miss otherwise. I'd describe it here, but this entry is getting long already. Perhaps I'll devote another post to editing some time, and I'll go over the various techniques I use then. I'd be interested to know the different techniques other writers use to edit, and why. To me, different types of editing are necessary for different situations. You use the appropriate tool for the situation, much like a writer often agonizes over just the right word to convey a very specific meaning. After all, despite what my husband thinks, all words are not equivalent in meaning. There are subtle shades of meaning, nuances that can tip the balance and cast a whole different meaning on something, when used in combination with certain other words. My husband just doesn't get that. I suppose a lot of people wouldn't. It drives me up the wall. I could write a whole post just on this subject alone. But I digress, as I usually do...

Anyway, I accomplished a decent amount of work tonight, and I'm fairly happy. I celebrated with a carmel ice cream sundae with everything on it (mmm!) that my husband bought me, and a new book that I've really been wanting to read--which my husband also bought me. I used them as bribes to get myself to buckle down and work tonight, so I was really (over)excited to reward myself with them afterwards.

Now if I can just tear myself away from my new book and go to bed so that I'm not too tired to write or take care of some other things I want to accomplish tomorrow...