Slaying the Two-Headed Monster

Written By: Janna - Jun• 07•13

The two headed monster that can be editing.

It can be soothing—in a way—to work within the framework of a story that’s already been written.  When you want to bang your head against the computer screen as you find another—ANOTHER—spelling mistake, and you’ve already found 50,000 spelling mistakes in a 90,000 word manuscript.  How can there possibly be another one?  Did I spell nothing right?  At that point you can comfort yourself.  At least it is written.

Now to tweak it.

I had to get out of a certain mindset before the editing process could really began.  I had written a novel, and while I knew it wasn’t set it stone, in my mind I was thinking:  spelling errors, missed commas, unclear sentences.

Sad, naive Janna.

Instead I was faced with plot holes, (how did I read that scene at least 75 times over the last year and never catch that misplaced piece of information?  How?) weak motivation, character strengthening and having my readers simply wanting more.

I had confined my manuscript to a box.  It was a good box, but sticking my hand out and waving it around a little, I found there was a lot of things it was missing lurking just outside the box.

Adding entire new scenes (*gasp*) had for some reason, never occurred to me.  I had written it, it was done.  It cannot change and grow.  Or can it?

The new scenes were a lot of fun to write.  I just needed a suggestion and they began forming in my mind.  Some worked, some didn’t.  Some caused ripple effects I had to follow throughout the novel (thank goodness for the search button).

The edits that involve scrolling through 280 pages and finding all the superfluous words before deleting them… not so much fun.  But it made my writing better.  I could feel the story tightening, becoming smoother and easier to read.

Becoming a story to get lost in.  Hopefully a story that fills the reader with that mixture of excitement and dread as the unread pages get thinner and thinner, the slight disappointment but delicious satisfaction of, it’s almost over.

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