Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Back to the Editing Board

It’s that time again…time to edit a first draft.  But do you know what this means?  I’ve completed the first draft of my second book! 
It is an exciting time but I’ll likely be pulling my hair out again as I wander through some of the least likable aspects of editing.  I love to write and I love to create and I really enjoy myself as I bury myself in the story.  But once the story is written, it must be reviewed, edited and made whole with revisions we can only hope will make it complete and that much better.

During the editing process, we come to the intersection of Creation and Control…which is what it takes to make sure the story is complete, the words make sense, the characters aren’t flat and the plot twists and turns enough to give readers true delight.    
Editing is a different form of the craft and wasn’t my favorite to begin with but as I continue to write books, I’m sure it will get easier with time.

However, there is one part of the editing process I thoroughly enjoy.  What I enjoy is finally being able to read the first draft of my book.  Imagine pouring your heart and soul onto paper for a few months straight.  You just write and write and you stop yourself every time you want to go back and read what has been written.  You stop yourself because you know if you begin to edit your work too soon, you’ll be pulled away from creativity as you are drawn into tending to the construction. 
Some authors may enjoy editing as they write but I discovered what fun it is not to do so.  When you’ve written a book over a period of months, you have the story in your head, you know your characters and your scenes and you feel you know the book from beginning to end.  But you only know it in your head.  You haven’t actually read the written version of what your imagination has produced.

Reading the first draft of a book I’ve written is a very unique and rewarding experience.  I had this same experience the first time and I figured it was just because it was my first book.  But now that I’ve finished my second book, I can say without a doubt that the experience is still very fulfilling.  It is very enjoyable to read a book I’ve written as if I were someone who is reading it for the first time.
While you know your story very well, you tend to forget the little things you’ve added to the story to bring warmth, humor, tension, fear or surprise.  As I read through my first draft, I love it when I laugh at something I’ve written or I can’t help myself from feeling sorry for a character, worrying for them or becoming upset at something they say or do.  If I’m striking a chord with myself (and I should know what’s coming), I can only believe that my story will strike a similar chord in those who read it as well.

I must get back to reading, and to editing, so that this book can soon be made available to those of you who are…what was it one of my readers said?  Oh, yes.  She said she was going to go through withdrawals as she waited for my second book.  If only I could write books as quickly as some people read…then we’d all be happy!


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