With the first draft of Broken finished and the manuscript of Hollow returned from my editor, I’ve been in editing mode for the past week. It’s a frustrating and humbling process; while I know that feedback is important and necessary to improve the quality of the work, it’s a harsh thing to examine all of the mistakes that I’ve made in the process of writing. It sounds kind of silly, but looking at all of the passive voice, poor word choices, repeated words, fumbling descriptions, and ridiculous character choices makes me start to question if I’m really supposed to be writing.
(Even as I type this and read it, I see just how silly it looks.)
Part of being brave as part of this year’s three words means facing mistakes and having the courage to work and get better. I’ve blogged about getting up the courage to send emails to ask about editing, to ask people to be beta readers, even to ask about something as glorious as cover art. For whatever reason, taking the next step in a long series of steps from idea to completed novel always brings me some measure of worry and anxiety. There’s always that concern that it might not be immediately good, that I’m not as good as all of those other authors who are putting out their stories and novels.
A few years ago, I would have stopped. I would have finished the manuscript, compared that draft to so many other finished and edited works, and left the file to gather dust somewhere on my hard drive. After a few months, I would pick up another story and add words here and there, but never really finish the story. But now?
Well, the difference between saying that one is “going to write” and “is writing” is about as big as “writing one draft” and “editing the second draft.” It’s not enough to just write the draft and call it done, as I’m learning with the different drafts that I’ve finished. It’s braver to recognize that the first draft isn’t going to be the best, and that there’s always room for improvement. In my case, it often means a lot of improvement.
A lot of improvement. Seriously, I’ve been putting my A in Technical Editing to good use lately. I’ve realized that I prefer to edit on paper, with a brightly colored pen so I can write in the margins and scribble between the lines. It feels kind of raw and academic… in that nerdy writing kind of way.
I hope to have Hollow edited by the start of September. Broken takes priority on the edits now, since Zen and I want to have it to beta readers in a month. I want to have it delivered in print by the start of September, ready to go the day after Dragon Con. I confess, I don’t know what delivering Broken is going to feel like. Editing it has taken longer than I would have thought, but that’s probably because I’ve been going through my scenes line by line. Zen’s more efficient with his edits, I think.
I should add that the formula for edits for the Magic Spreadsheet is 10% of the number of the words actually edited… which means that to make my daily count at this point is 5000 words. That’s a bit of a challenge, but… well, that’s what it takes.