Thursday, June 20, 2013

Editing Is Fun. What?!

I bet you never thought those words would escape my lips.

After years of saying I hated editing, I'm actually enjoying the process. Previously, I've always preferred the creation process--the actual writing--by a long shot and would find any reason to avoid editing. Cleaning toilets. Check. Laundry. Check. Exercise. Check. Painting my toenails. Check. You get the picture.

My newfound enjoyment of editing has me scratching my head. I dug into my 300+ page novel a few weeks ago with dread but discovered I looked forward to going into my writing cave daily. Who am I? I've been pondering this significant change.

It could be due to the fact that I now have several requests for my women's fiction, THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS. Yay! It's also possibly because I set my novel aside for three years due to a family tragedy and am rereading it with surprise and delight, almost like a new reader. Maybe it's because I had already edited it several times (more than I remembered) and my novel is in much better shape than I recalled. Maybe just maybe I'm finally embracing this crucial part of the writing process.

I've always had a few friends who loved the editing process. Some even liked it better than writing the first draft. That's crazy talk. Those people are a bit off kilter if you ask me, but I digress. Whatever the reason, I'm down to my final pages. I keep hitting "control end" to count how many pages remain. My heart pounds, my face flushes and my hands get sweaty as I near the end.

This go around, I actually had fun finding and removing repetitive words and phrases, beefing up dialogue, describing the settings and layering in back stories. I enjoyed making the characters suffer. You know you like reading that stuff.

My three female protagonists (women's fiction, remember?) laugh, gigle and groan. They get tense, cry and grieve. They dance, drink, have interesting careers and crazy personal lives. The antagonists give them grief. A lot of grief. Just when each one overcomes an obstacle, I throw another one in their path. The possibilities are endless. Are they going to end up with the guy or not? And, if so, is he a good guy? Hmm. When my characters whisper in my ear that they'd like a better life--even a fairytale life--I'll consider their plight and desires. But I'm in charge of their destination. We'll see. I may change my mind tomorrow and they know it.

See why editing is fun? Embrace it. I finally did.


  1. Great post, Beth. I've recently had to embrace the editing process, but I've found that even on the umpteenth time through, there are more pesky echo words that I'd missed before. How could that be??? LOL.

    Glad the edits of Coconuts is going so well. It's a delightful book that people are going to love. Good luck!

    1. Thanks, Barbara. I know you're going through edits with your debut novel as well. It's nice to have company.

      You are right--I find words to replace and tweak every pass through my novel.

      I don't think I'll ever be satisfied that it's perfect, and once it's published, I'll probably still want to grab that red pencil!

  2. Yeah, I've always known I was off kilter. ;)

    I love researching and plotting and, so far at least, don't mind editing. The first draft, on the other hand, KILLS me. I'm getting there, though. 17 chapters down and 5 to go!

    1. See, I LOVE the first draft. As Janet Evanovich suggests, "vomit it out." Lol. Not a pretty sight but true.

      Good luck with your MG novel. It'll happen!

  3. I'm one of those weird people who enjoy editing over creating the first draft. That's why I like doing NaNo and JaNo. Forces me to get words down fast.

    1. Funny how we're all wired differently. I much prefer the first and second drafts and watching my characters come to life and tell ME what's going to happen.