the monster under the bed

Editing. Editing. Editing. Editing.

There I said it. It’s not such an evil word. The demons we don’t face are always scarier in our imagination than in reality. (Monsters Inc. does a good job teaching that lesson.)

I’ve been editing for what seems like an eternity.

Don’t get me wrong, I love it. Writing is not something one does for anything other than love. Or if they do, I’m quite certain they quickly stop once they realize that it’s not as glamorous as it’s made out.

But, it does scare me. It scares me because I wonder if I can make it shine, can I make it sparkle, can I do it justice? I’m not one to wallow in self-doubt, but editing does bring out the occasional anxiety in me. I suppose it’s because that every time I bring the piece (section) to a new level, I see that it can, and needs to go to another, even higher level.

A little while back I mentioned that my violin teacher told me that playing the violin is harder than writing. Well, I’m not certain I agree, but I’ve begun approaching my writing as I am my musical study. Phrase by phrase. Dissecting each note. The similarities are huge, but I won’t go into that analogy today.

I am currently breaking each paragraph down, and then each line. I ask myself the purpose of it, then I determine what I’m actually showing, and do my best to make them equal each other.

Purpose = composition.

I can do this only once I’m certain each piece has a place. Back-story must be weaved in without jarring the reader out of the story, characters must be stable, description has to be in the right quantity and location. Oh the list goes on. But even that is not enough.

Purpose = composition.

That’s where I’m at.

What about you?

14 thoughts on “the monster under the bed

  1. I am doing lots of editing with my ghost novel, and am trying to make it better each time I look at it. The process is fun and stressful at the same time, but someday I’ll be finished with it 🙂

  2. I’m slowly heading for the All is Lost Moment in the first draft and lacking momentum. But I gotta finish this draft by the end of May so I push on. And, y’know, hopefully I’ll get over my reluctance!
    – Sophia.

  3. I tried to learn the violin when I was a child. My teacher was not very impressed. I suppose writing is a bit like that. Although, for me, these days, Jennifer, writing is a lot like chess. Or like learning Chinese. Writing a novel is not impossible as we have very many fine examples as proof. It’s the same with chess games. There is no shortage of strong players. As for speaking Chinese, it seems everybody is doing it. But all these things are still a struggle for me. I watch what the experts do and I imitate when I can but my progess is very slow. Here is a quote from Viktor Kortchnoi, one of the strongest chess players in history, and still playing brilliantly at the age of 80: “At 13 I gave up music, at 14 I gave up poetry. And then I decided to become a chess professional. That was modern thinking at the time, because the only chess professional was Botvinnik, nobody else. But I managed.” I’m not sure why but I find Viktor very inspriring. I’d like to meet him one day and shake his hand. Maybe he will come to London this December for the London Chess Classic tournament.

    1. well, if he does come to London, I hope you get your wish, Joseph!

      chess, music, language, it’s all quite similar…

      You know why I decided for a degree in biochemistry? It was difficult for me. All that memorizing, I wasn’t very good at it. Physics, I got near 100 in ever class, same for math. Language was not something I had ever even considered studying. How odd some of the choices I made…

  4. Completed my WIP, at least for now ,and I’m ready to start again. I don’t have anything plotted out but I know my characters very well. This next one I’m really going to enjoy writing. I’ll worry about the polishing at a much later date.

  5. I love editing. It’s my favorite part of the process and if it makes you feel any better, I spent more time editing Miserere than writing. Every time I edited and polished, I loved the story a little more. You’ll do a super job, Jennifer, I know you will.

  6. I have a love/hate relationship with editing. It’s a bear to start, but I’m always glad I made the extra effort.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s