Editing V1

Books aren’t written - they’re rewritten. Including your own. It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn’t quite done it”. - Michael Crichton

I found this quote this morning as I was coming to terms with just how much work the rewriting process was going to be if I actually wanted to publish my first novel.

Writing for publication is different, much different, than writing to say you’ve written. I can say I’ve written two books, and about a dozen short stories. But I can’t say I’ve published any of them. They were practice. I’m the type who learns by doing and the only way to learn how to write is to actually do it, right?

Well, it was challenging. I learned a lot, and it was fun. Hey - this writing stuff is pretty cool, right?

Then I decided it was time to up the stakes. To write for publication. I finished what I thought was a pretty good first draft of a novel. Then I painstakingly went through it, line by line, page by page, making the changes I felt would get it ready to send to a professional editor. Whew - this editing stuff is tough, but not that bad. I made the changes, then decided to read it again.

Writing is rewriting”. - Earnest Hemingway

What I read horrified me. Had it actually gotten worse?

No, it hadn’t gotten worse, it just hadn’t gotten much better. I’d fixed the obvious things, but there is still much to do. I’ve got scenes that don’t advance the story. I’ve got too much lame dialog. I’ve got vague settings, and I’ve got too many adverbs. Basically, what I’ve got is a second draft that isn’t yet close to being a polished manuscript.

When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done.” - Stephen King

That’s where I’m at now, at the beginning phase of realizing just how much work is going to go into this thing before it’s ready for another living soul to read it.

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