This week of the observation journal featured a few reflections on editing (I’d like to think I was on a roll, but I had submission and uni deadlines). See previously: notes on editing “Not to be Taken” in Observation Journal — Application to a Story, and editing checklist.
I know that some people hate writing and love editing. I don’t understand this. You get to just make things up when you’re writing, and there’s trackable progress and a definite end point! I find editing hard work (with too-infrequent flashes of gold), and I have to keep reminding myself that I can still just… make things up. This page wasn’t an attempt to solve that problem, but I wanted to at least record how these editing passes got done, in hopes I could find some patterns later — a sort of prelude to a project review, or a fragment of one.
Key editing lessons (from these stories):
- Efficiency is not the same as efficacy.
- If there’s a worse and more urgent task on my desk, I will in fact choose to edit. Deadlines help, but they aren’t fun.
- When I’m reading over a draft, I often write questions to myself in the margin. This is rarely helpful. What is helpful is to force myself to write an answer to the question then and there — or at least to write the question and then give myself three mock solutions/phrasing (even if they’re bad ones). I can change my mind later! But at least there’s something to work with.
- I need to start in order to let things begin being done.
- It seems smart to deal with issues in batches! But I won’t. Starting at the beginning and nibbling through is excruciating, but I will do it. (See efficiency vs efficacy, above).
- The necessity of rolling slowly through.
- The (eventual and occasional) magic of momentum.
These two projects predated the journal and these were interim edits. One project is out on submission now, though. The other is a story within the novel I’m working on for uni, so… one day.
(You can also see I made these notes at 2am and on the wrong page, which is where numbering the pages for cross references comes in handy.)