On editing

I’m editing. And it’s hell. I don’t think I’m alone when I curse and grumble about it. But, really, let’s just say it. Editing sucks.

All those wonderful chapters that seemed written by Shakespeare only days ago, have magically turned into a mess. I blame my brain. Back when I wrote them, I had my Creative Brain on and I thought the stuff was pretty good. Now, with my critical Editorial Cap on, it’s just awful. 

I have to re-read it, change words, then ask myself what the sweet heavens I was trying to say in that convoluted, unending, tongue-twister of a paragraph. Somehow, I have to transform that soup of words into actual English so people will want to read it and not burst into tears. I curse, grumble, pray for inspiration and write away. I cut things, add words, change adverbs and add plurals when needed until I can read it. Until it flows and it says what it was supposed to say. With pizzaz.

Then, I go to the next one.

Today I chomped my way through an entire chapter. But most days it’s one scene at a time. The worst is coming though. I know I’ll have to go through this process a couple of times before the book is remotely to my standards. Perfectionism sucks.

Then I had a thought: What would it be like to write perfectly? What if we could write without having to edit? Do the Greats manage that? Does Nora Roberts type flawlessly on her computer in one endless, grammatically-perfect, flowing example of immaculate fiction? Wouldn’t it be wonderful? Just imagine…no editing…Ahhh.

What do you think?

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