I always dreaded the editing process. Not that I’d ever actually gone through it with a full-length project. In ways, I was right to fear it. The editing process is scary because I know I’m going to have to take crap and make it coherent. Not to mention, it involves much more critical thinking than just the creative flow that the first draft involves. I dread the massive amounts of time consuming editing involves, in order to be thorough. That is hard as a college student! (Tests, papers, short stories, reading, studying, presentations, blah, blah, blah… How do you sit down to edit a novel in the midst of that?!)
But, now that I’m sitting down to focus on it, I don’t get why so many people complain about it! Or why I ever was so afraid!
Editing has been so thrilling. I’m effectively hacking it to bits: cutting the crap, keeping the gems, and making it work.
I can see my novel getting smoother before my eyes. I can sense the flow of the story improving. The characters are establishing themselves more. The scenes aren’t needlessly wordy. The puzzle pieces of plot are fitting perfectly into place one at a time. It’s such a relief to know that, once I’ve finished, I won’t be ashamed to let other people read my work.
It’s like pruning a plant. I’m slowly and carefully picking off the crumpled dead leaves so that the flowers can live, thrive, and grow. The more dead leaves I pull away, the lovelier the plant becomes. It’s a delicate process. I’m picking off the inconsistencies, the extra words, the typos, the wrong words.
Not like I’m taking a blade to it or anything. But I am hacking a lot of stuff. Some doesn’t fit, some is unnecessary, and some just isn’t right. Like right now there is a weed entwined with my flower and I’m completely destroying it. It’s choking out my flower right now. And what good does pruning the dead leaves do if the weed is still there killing the plant?
And it feels good. Seeing the progress I’ve made so far, looking at how much better it is (and I’m only 1/20 of the way done). Pruning (and hacking) is such a rewarding experience. Honestly, I don’t think I’ll find myself dreading editing again. I’ll just be really excited to prune and hack away to the final product.