Thursday, 14 March 2013

My Least Favorite Part of Writing



Hey all,

Things recently have been going along in that super slow glacial sort of way that they tend to move in. I’ve been sending out letters and queries to various blogs and bloggers to see if they’d like to have a read of Dreamstate, some do, and some haven’t responded. I’ve not had anyone say “Ew, no, that sounds terrible. You should stop writing,” yet, so that’s good. I’ve mostly been entrenched in the battle with putting my edits back into Word, which I’ll get to in a moment. I should be getting back to Dreamstate II in just a day or so, as soon as I finish up what I’m doing with From Ash—rather exciting, I do like the actual writing part of writing the best.

The other part of writing, the part that my title points to, and the one that I really, really do not like, is editing. Editing for me is like doing math, which I can do, don’t get me wrong, I was always fine at math—but I’d never want to do it for a career. Editing is filled with many a hard rule, and it’s my job to pore over 26,000 words (From Ash) and not miss a single mistake. I’ve found that I can make the job easier on myself if I print out a copy of whatever I’m working on, kick back on my giant beanbag sofa with a cup of tea and a red pen, and go to town on it. This usually takes a few days, and I usually end up enjoying what I’ve written, from the story perspective. The grammar side of things, though, tends to be rather brutal, and I find myself oftentimes saying “What was I thinking? I just said cat eight times in one paragraph.” At least I can catch these things before it gets out to the public and everyone else sees my shame.

The part that’s worse than the first round of edits, for me, is when I go to enter them back into my computer. I’ve done the thing where I just make a new copy of my book and edit directly in Word before, and frankly I make a lot more mistakes. There’s something about reading on a screen where my brain just passes over and accepts whatever mistakes I’ve left behind. When it’s on paper, I catch ‘em. Back to entering the edits; what makes it so terrible for me is that I end up re-editing everything that I just edited. I can’t help myself, I end up second guessing everything I did, and usually just end up with a new third option. This slows the process down by a lot, and I don’t know about you guys, but bouncing your eyes back and forth between a screen and a piece of paper plays wonky with my sight. I end up having to take breaks every thirty minutes or so to go stare at something outside (I can normally write for hours).

While this piece might sound a lot like my complaining about editing (and really, it sort of is), I am very much aware of how important editing is to the final product. A lot of times, and From Ash is no exception, I find pretty major flaws with my plot that I need to patch up or change. It’s part of the story, and it’s missing, and I only find it after I finish the rest of everything else and go back to check out the whole project. There’s more to it than just checking typos and grammar mistakes (although this is most of it), but I still really would rather be doing the fun part and making up a whole new world.

Also, as one final side note: If you intend to spend a good chunk of your day typing, and then some of your evening writing up a blog post, do not try and break a deadlift record the day before. I’ve gotten to the point where my hands and forearms are very happy missing every other key I try to hit, and it’s making the whole process quite slow. Food for thought.

-Trevor

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