Thursday, April 5, 2012

A to Z Blogging Challenge: E is for...


For my entries in the 2012 A to Z Challenge, I will be focusing on writing elements that I find important and that I want to incorporate into my work.

Today, the topic is EDITING

To be truthful, this is something that I really wish I didn't have to do.  I wish I could just spew out perfect prose in a seamless stream of consciousness, but I can not, like...  make that sort of um, goodly writer-ish thing to, um... you know... like, happen.    


So if I want my writing to be the best it can be, I have to edit.  Ruthlessly.  Almost ceaselessly.

I'm still learning to just get the story out in a first draft without stopping to obsess about every word, accepting that I'm going to edit later anyway.  But I still can't let a whole piece go from beginning to end without stopping to edit at some point.  My normal routine is to write for as long as I can, and the next time I touch the piece, I begin with a review and revision.  That editing gets me up to speed to then add on new material. 

Once the whole piece is "complete," there will still normally be several cycles of rest, review, and revision, until I get to the point where I can let it set, come back to it fresh, read the whole piece through, and like it as it stands.  For some rare pieces this is soon after the first draft; for most, it is many cycles before I begin submissions.

My ideal is to have the writing be as polished as a spotless pane of glass, where the reader doesn't even notice it because they've become so involved in the story. 

But that takes editing.  A LOT of editing!

Thanks for visiting -- see you the rest of this month for more alphabetical fun!

Don't forget to visit HERE to see all the bloggers taking part in this A-to-Z challenge, and try to drop in on as many of them as you can!


American in Norway said...

I am the worst to edit.. I just throw everything out there.. ( as you can see. lol) Good luck with the challenge!

Milo James Fowler said...

"My ideal is to have the writing be as polished as a spotless pane of glass, where the reader doesn't even notice it because they've become so involved in the story." I like that. I'm not there yet -- still finding ways to improve my work, both published and not-yet. We could probably edit ourselves into the grave, don't you think?

KarenG said...

Ha! My post today was about editing, too.

Nice to meet you and I hope you're enjoying the Challenge!

A to Z Challenge Host

Laura Marcella said...

Hi, Chris! I hear you about the editing. I like to write my first draft without editing along, just to get it on the page. So first-draft revisions are the worst for me! It's so overwhelming. Once I get started, I begin to get excited about making my story even better. But it's the getting started part that's daunting!

Nice to meet you and happy A to Z!!

Peggy Eddleman said...

"My ideal is to have the writing be as polished as a spotless pane of glass, where the reader doesn't even notice it because they've become so involved in the story." is exactly why I love editing! Very well said.

I'm in the middle of an incredibly tough round of edits right now... on a deadline, no less! It just may have made me love editing a little less. ;)

Gina said...

You know, that's exactly how I do it, too! I find that reading and touching what I've previously wrote takes me back to the place where I was and retake my train of thought. Mmm... I thought I was the only one. Good to know!

Thanks for commenting on my place!
From Diary of a Writer in Progress

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

You expressed the "why we edit" part very well. My problem lies in knowing when I'm DONE editing, if you know what I mean. I keep editing and rewriting over and over and over again, making changes, large and small, and never quite satisfied that it's "all it can be." Always wanting it to be MORE.

S. L. Hennessy said...

I HATE editing. I'm in editing purgatory at the moment, and hoping to claw my way out soon.
Cool post and happy A-Z blogging.

Nicole said...

I actually really enjoy editing. It's a chance to go back and strengthen the writing, characters and story. I get to feel more like a "reader" for my own stuff!

.jessica. said...

Oh, I hear you on how difficult it is to write without editing as you go. That's one of my biggest challenges, but I try and remind myself that there's no real point in spending hours editing something that might end up needing to but cut/dramatically altered as the result of whatever happens later. So, now I try and fast draft, accepting that everything about it is going to suck until I can come back and fix it later. Skeleton first; fleshing out later.

Luckily I love to edit... and fast drafting certainly gives me a lot to work with. ;)

.jessica. said...

(Annnnd clearly I should have edited that comment before I left it, ha. Needing to *BE* cut/dramatically altered...) Morning irony, check!

Chris Fries said...

@American: Thanks and good luck to you, too!

@Milo: Yes -- I could edit and re-edit forever, but I obviously still need it. You're way, way ahead of me -- So far I'm 0-for-scads in terms of publishing success, lol! Thank you for the visit, comment, and support, Milo! I really appreciate it!

@Karen: Thank you -- great to meet you too!

@Laura: Great to meet you too! Thanks for the visit!

@Peggy: Hang in there -- editing is the worst but it's worth it. I wish you tremendous success!

@Gina: You're welcome and thank you in return! Glad to have met you through the A-to-Z!

@Susan: Yeah, I hear you. That's why I have to let it set for a while. When I can read it fresh and like it, it's done!

@S.L.: Thank you and good luck! Happy A-to-Z to you, too!

@Nicole: I admire your attitute! I like the results of editing so I grit my teeth and do it, but I'd much rather be writing new stuff, lol!

@jessica: LOL!! I hear you, but my latent perfectionism needs to be at least mollified some, so I throw it the "edit only the last thing written" bone before moving on to new stuff.