Editing takes me a long time. That’s not because I find it particularly difficult (a few aspects, but not so much), it’s simply a big job to do well, and I don’t have so many hours to devote to it.
So why am I here, writing on my blog instead of editing the book?
Firstly, because I’m up in the Scottish Highlands, and when I fly up it’s easier to bring the small netbook, rather than the big laptop, and I just don’t find it as easy to write with the smaller keyboard – too many mistakes, too much time spent going back to correct things. Small excuse, I know, but I have better…
I’ve just worked 4 days of 12 – 14 hours teaching and judging, (not to mention over 400 miles of driving), plus the migraine that went with the lack of sleep, and frankly I don’t trust my brain to be coherent enough to do a good job. I’ll be back to the south on Thursday and (almost) normal service will resume.
So in the meantime, I’ve been thinking about editing, and comparing it to a description of cutting a gemstone – first you slice away the rough outside to expose the pristine story lines (structural editing), then you make precise cuts to create the beautifully faceted shape you desire (copy editing), and finally you polish the surface to make it gleam with life (proof reading).
It is through this series of processes that the awesome book fighting to escape from the excessive verbiage that originally went down on the page will emerge – and this is the stage when I finally fall in love with my novel, and am eventually proud enough of it to think – hey, this is actually GOOD!
I’m still in the earlier cutting phase, but I’m delighted to have fallen for the story already. Now I have to hope that my readers feel the same.
How about you? Do you have a mental image of the editing process? I’ve been surprised to see how many authors declare they hate it, and find it hard. My problem is knowing when to cease editing, because I enjoy it too much!