WTCB September: On Editing

I’ve finished the new round of edits. Next, I’m going to take a short, weekend break to rewrite chapter three of Of Jackets and Phones for a waiting beta. I need some time just to splurge, just to write inconsequently, too. This is one of the reasons blogging is so therapeutic for the writer – it changes the pace and refreshes the mind.

I’m pretty proud of my edits, as this task was tackling the flow and those lines one gets that simply do not make sense to anyone but one’s self – you know, “half lost in the faith of his muse” (even in context, that doesn’t make sense) and “his mind captured by the possibility”. Wordy little things that only say I’m overdoing it. I’m a little afraid of the ‘was’, esse, verb, you see.

Some odd dialogue remains, but, with every edit, the characters feel more and more realistic to me – and I can have Aidelle laughing at what Phillip supposes is a good metaphor.

“Nonsense. Goodness, no! Your hair is as dark and sultry as my most trusted umbrella. Now our unity is crystallised, flesh and blood, the umbrella is our relationship, sturdy and enduring.”

“And sultry,” she added, raising an eyebrow sardonically. His poetry was funny.

(Because it’s a thing that he selected his umbrella because it’s the same colour as her hair.)

Editing is a test of creative patience. We may, many times, have the urge to rush ahead to edit bits we know are good, but that in itself shows a writer’s weakness; instead, we ought to access why we want to jump ahead and fix the possible problem.

I still have times like that in my novel, times when I couldn’t wait to get to the end of a chapter. Yes, I was enjoying my story, but that didn’t mean I might skip to a bit I knew as more perfect.

What’s the point of editing if it means skipping?

And sometimes it becomes too much. But writers have some sort of steel backbone for pressing through the editing. I know it never ends, but I’m getting used to the way it works. We’re going to go through the numbers again, through each little space – through each piece of bizarre dialogue if need be – and straighten out the kinks.

Characters emerging…

A sticky note to the right of my document says ‘CHAPTER2 rid of backstory’ along with ‘SENSES’, the things I intend to work on for the rest of the month. Well, until I think of other things. I’m just chipping down every port. My new-fangled searchtool also tells me that the work, alarmingly, contains 36 ‘couldn’t’s; the number of ‘could’s is influenced by those (I have yet to discover how to search for the inscribed as opposed to things beginning that way, too). Scanning through, it’s the “he couldn’t help…” that get me.

I’ve also had some formatting issues wasting my time, such as the most recent – half a chapter somehow changing itself to be blocks of orange and purple font. *gasp*

But what do we do when these things invade our work? We carry on. We write a post about it, splurge our brains onto the page, and go back in the morning with other ideas.

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