Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Edits, and How Not to Avoid Them

Edits, ah, edits. The great evil of my life. Seriously, I had no idea this would be so hard. What’s so funny is that it’s not the actual process of editing that is hard for me. It’s rereading my first draft that is so painful. I read it and see all of it’s problems. Not just first draft problems, but all the reminders of where I was in my life when I wrote it. Obviously that time was not always pleasant. Getting a reminder of that plus my writing inadequacies puts me right in my place. It’s amazing how much I can find that’s not working on edits.

My last big push was to move away from the same three stories that I kept writing over and over again. I would call it edits but what I was really doing was writing whole new novels around the same concept. I got better as a writer but there were things I needed to learn that I couldn’t while I kept repeating myself. Since then I’ve finished two new stories and abandoned two. Not bad! After the initial painful disconnect of moving away from my magnum opesus (opi?) there was an incredible freedom in trying something new. Something that came from my adult imagination, not my teenage one. It was magical and frightening and  still something that I have to work on. Every now and again I’ll find myself restricting what I can write next to ideas I had before that moment that I’m in.

So now when I’m reading Chaos Rules again and all I want to do is abandon it and start all over. After all, that was the last great solution and is now much less painful then actually reading through the sucker. I have grown more in the past year and a half as a writer then I had in the previous five. Even a full edit will probably only bring it up to the quality of a first draft I could write at this point. But if I keep abandoning stories and starting over I’m never going to really challenge myself as a writer. So I have to suffer through every massive plot hole and cardboard characterization of my old work to give my new stuff the chance to be what it needs to be. Now I’m wondering what kind of tools you use to push yourself to be better. Tips are welcome!


  1. I've never really rewritten a complete novel. I've given up on some and completely put them "away" (on my computer, so ... it's not quite the same). Trying something new is good for you though! I'm proud of you!

    1. I've sort of done edits before but nothing on this scale. Thanks for being proud of me, I spent most of my first "official" day hiding on the internet. I even tweeted!
      P.S. I keep trying to find ways to say this but technology is failing me. Thanks so much for my Christmas gift! It's the best. It's really late but I've been too busy playing with it to say thank you:).