It was quiet this morning. So quiet that my daughter fell asleep in the car on the way to preschool. I asked a teacher in the parking lot if she felt the same way, and she said, “odd, I just checked my watch to see if I was early, that’s how quiet it is.” The cloud covering must have been low and muffled all sounds. I drove home with the radio off, and tried to hang on to that stillness. I knew it would be good to begin editing with such outer silence brought in.
I can write anywhere, anyhow. It matters not to me if there is music and jumping and shouting. Yet, when it comes to editing, I need quiet.
“Sometimes everything has to be inscribed across the heavens so you can find the one line already written inside you.” David Whyte
I came across this quote the other day, and I scribbled it down. Being at an editing stage I thought it was very appropriate. Yet, I refused to place stake in it, even though at times it does feel like the stars have to align just perfectly for the words to fall into place. I would not need some cosmic event to polish my prose!
My plan: Read all the way through my ms while taking notes. Search for plot flaws, timeframe discrepancies, character weakness, omissions, and weak scenes. Once that was assertained I would begin with those problems. Prose would come later. No need to make beautiful sentences if they won’t be in the final draft. I should know this by now.
So, I sat down and read to page 4. Then I began re-writing. I could not go 4 pages without stopping! Ok, the beginning needs to be redone, it just doesn’t fit, I have known this since I wrote it. I allowed myself to re-write it now because the words were there. They might not be there next week, I told myself. Then I proceeded to spend the rest of the morning writing one paragraph. One paragraph! I have a weakness for prose, can you tell?
Anyway, once I realized I had become utterly lost in the sentences, I pulled myself out and continued writing into the story. This morning I continued as well, not allowing myself to stop and make each sentence shine. This beginning might have to be scrapped and re-written again, and I do not want to give myself such luxury as polishing yet. I think another day or two and I’ll be able to move on and keep reading, sticking with the original plan. Hopefully I’ll get further in than another 4 pages.
Is there something that halts your progress when editing? Do you make a plan, or do you wing it?