Sunday 8 February 2015

Why, oh why, does editing make me crazy?

I love editing.

I really love it.

It's where you take your hasty stream-of-consciousness and mould it, shape it, sculpt take the rough-hewn story, that has many of the right bumps and crevices in the right place, and chip away the extraneous blemishes, smooth the surfaces, present it in a more beautiful form, one that others will find pleasing and hopefully's where you turn it into the story you first imagined.

But it's driving me crazy at the moment.

I've edited many books for other people - mostly adult and childrens' fiction, a couple of screenplays, and a couple of non-fiction works, one written by someone for whom English was a second language...and usually it's a case of plod, plod, plod - you just gotta do the graft!

I enjoy the process almost as much as creating the first draft of my own books. But sometimes... sometimes I get stuck - stuck in a chapter that simply doesn't seem to work, is unnecessary or needs huge altering - but to get stuck on a paragraph? One that could be 'snipped' with a couple of clicks of the mouse? Ludicrous!

But it happens, I don't know why.

I'm currently editing 'The Popish Midwife' and getting stuck on silly little's really slowing me down! Maybe it's because it's my own book I'm being particularly pedantic over it.

I could take the offending paragraph out, get it in my sniper-sight and assassinate it. I could re-write it. I could highlight it and leave it until next edit, thereby dealing with it by the art of procrastination (which also actually makes sense, because next read-through I'd simply do what needs to be done)...but no. I sit on it. I go over and over it.

Change a sentence, then read from the beginning of the paragraph again to see how it fits now.
Change a bit more.
Read from the beginning of paragraph to see how it fits.
It's ok.
Look at the next sentence. Doesn't look quite right, now I've changed the preceding sentence.
change it.
Read from the beginning of paragraph to see how it fits.
Change it again.
Do I have to read from the beginning again? How about I just move on now.
Read next sentence. It's ok.
Last sentence needs tweaking though
Tweak it.
Read from the beginning of paragraph to see how it flows now.
Something not quite right.
Change sentence order.
Read paragraph again.
Better, but could be improved.
Change something. Satisfied.
Alter something else.
Read again.
Hmmm...maybe I should get on with the rest of the book...
Start reading next paragraph.
Have to go back and read last paragraph again.
Thinking I'm going mad. I don't need to do this. Move on.
Reads better now.
Work on the rest of chapter.
Re-read whole chapter
Uh-oh...stuck on that paragraph again. Something's still not right.

So, sometimes I get stuck on something that should be easily frustrating when there's the rest of the book to edit, and I just want to get it done!

How do I get past this? How do I learn to ignore such annoying little things and move on?

Ah well...plod, plod, plod. Still gotta get it done.

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