Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Just When You Think It's Safe... Edit Again

Jessica Sherry
Author of Sea-Devil: a Delilah Duffy mystery
Editing isn't the creative process I love as a writer.  It can be tedious.  Boring.  But, it's absolutely necessary.  Once I had a manuscript, I thought the editing would be simple.  Check a spelling.  Fix a mistake.  Done.  
I had read somewhere (I think it was Stephen King who said it) that first drafts are never good.  Funny how I thought I was the exception to this rule.  I had a story, start to finish, that made sense and was good.  That's all you need, right?
Wrong!  A sound plot is only the beginning.  I exercised patience, and while I was checking for mistakes, I was also sparking with new ideas.  Each edit brought new ideas.  The story grew... not longer but deeper.  The characters came to life in new and exciting ways.  The plot became stronger, more suspenseful.  I would look at scenes and question... how can I raise the stakes here?
The first draft was just the bones.  The key for me was to first get the story out, and then to make it good.  As it turns out, editing the book has been more rewarding than actually writing the first draft.
Even small changes can make a world of difference... building up the scenery, adding a reference readers will understand, giving each character his/her own voice, toying with depth.  If you love your story (and you should), this tinkering is like trying on a new dress after you've lost weight or playing with a great new haircut.  Same body, same hair... just different.  Better.
There will never be a time when I am 100% satisfied with a manuscript, but as long as each edit brings something good... then, I'll have to keep editing.

1 comment:

  1. Nicely said.

    Also, can someone get rid of that white background that is highlighting the post? It makes it really hard on the eyes. :)