Thursday, July 24, 2008

I have blue glasses.

So here's what I hate about editing: when I'm writing, I feel a sense of accomplishment. I can tell people, "I wrote eighteen pages today." When I'm submitting, I feel a sense of excitement and impending success (and my mailbox becomes a kind of magical, mythical artifact to be worshipped and feared). But when I'm editing, I feel like I'm knee deep in a lake of mud mixed with bubble gum, and no matter how many times I manage to heave a foot out and take a step, the shore is never any closer. People ask me, "how's the writing going?", and all I can do is shrug and try not to cry - cuz I really don't know.

The thing about editing is that, when you do reach that last page in your manuscript, you're only allowed a moment's pause before you have to go back and start again on page 1. It's miserable. And its hard work. It takes many hours of sustained concentration on multiple levels of consciousness. You have to hold your entire manuscript in your head at every moment becuase you know that if anything slips, your main character will be tightening the hood of his blue sweatshirt against the winter chill on page 71, and then on page 81, he'll be unbuttoning his collar and loosening his tie to give his throat the freedom it needs to suck down the thick jungle air.

But do not fear for me, my friends. For I shall prevail. There is nothing that this industry can do to stop me. It may take time, but time I have. Time, and resolve. Utimately I shall batter through the gates of these literary bastions and wave my manuscript from their highest towers for all the world to see. And I shall cry in a loud manly voice, "I - HAVE - A STORY!"

So okay. See you at the bastion. Gotta get some work done.

3 comments:

VeeFlower said...

Writing is fun. Editing is not. I wrote a story, forgot to copy it. Thought it was lost forever when my hard drive failed. Found a copy of it though....an UNEDITED copy. Started to read it, got bored and quit. Ho hum. Big Plain V, you know, you only get better as time goes on. Your first published story proves it. So hang in there. I will be waving my money from the highest steeple of the literary kingdom, ready to buy that story (or books) when the time comes.

bunnyjo georg said...

Ooo, I love editing my writing. As a matter of fact, I like editing more than writing. I could edit forever, and as a matter of fact, am constantly editing in my head EVERY TIME I read something I wrote. Maybe it's a gift????

I heard an interview with James Patterson last night on Glenn Beck. He was saying that he wrote his first detective novel when he was 28 years old and was turned down by every book publisher in New York. So, he self-published and was eventually picked up by Little Brown. Oh, and....he won the Edgar Award for best detective novel of the year. Just a lil somethin. So, don't take those declines too seriously....it could be a sign of really, really great things to come!

Big Plain V said...

Vee - I can always count on you to be at whatever bastion I happen to be waving from.

Bunny - I am seriously disappointed in James Patterson right now. I loved the Maximum Ride trilogy, then he wrote a fourth book than was thinly veiled anti-global warming propaganda, utterly without story.

And his latest YA book - I put a hold on it from the library months before it was released. When I got it, I read it in one day, and it totally gave me the dry heaves. I've never laid eyes on a book that had so much action, yet so little suspense. Booo-ring. (The problem was that the main character had so many super-powers he was practically omnipotent).