Wednesday, February 3, 2016

No No No No No! (When Edits Go Bad)



Hallo fine peoples! And welcome to the Insecure Writer's Support Groups Meeting! [They occur first Wednesday of every month]


So know how you have an editing project planned... and it is all moving along a bit painfully, but it takes some hundred plus pages for it to occur to you, “What the HECK am I thinking!?”

Just me then?

Anyway, I had January slated as a FINAL edit for Medium Wrong... but it occurred to me about 150 pages in that this series of events that occurs needs a more coherent thread running through them... a reason.

Which stopped me up 2/3 the way through THAT edit because I realized I really am almost better off starting the edit OVER and after I then do THAT edit, I will need to polish... Last edit becomes 3rd to last... It's funny, this is about the third time exactly this has happened with this book which puts me on about draft 10 of the beginning but only about 3 of the end... if I ever get to truly editing the end... (I did it once, pre-reviewers, but I haven't gotten to it again).

This is why I have 20 first drafts and only 4 that have made it to publication...

I honestly could really benefit from a developmental editor, I think, but that whole professional mentoring thing costs money now. I am pretty GOOD at that role for OTHER people's books. I can spot where the work needs doing, probably because other people have different flaws than I do in how they see things, but on my own I just have trouble.

So that is what has me feeling insecure today.

What about the rest of you? Some piece of the writing process that you seem to have trouble implanting into your brain?


Be sure to go visit OTHER insecure writers today, too!!!

32 comments:

T. Powell Coltrin said...

And it will be so perfect when you're finished. It IS difficult looking over our own writing and seeing the right things. Just remember there has to be a time when it's completed. :)

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

If you give yourself some time and distance from the ms, would that help you maybe view it as if it was written by someone else?

I ask myself this -“What the HECK am I thinking!?” - a whole lot.

Sean McLachlan said...

Sounds like you're second guessing yourself too much. If you're interested in trading crits, drop me a line.

Hart Johnson said...

I HAVE let it sit--too long is probably the problem. Had I looked at it more recently I might have remembered what needed fixing in a more coherent way. I have LOVED this idea all along, but it is one that came up a little short in execution, so part of my problem may also be that I have such high hopes for it...

And Sean--AWESOME! I will email you!

Tamara Narayan said...

We might be related. I have been editing and re-editing a historical novel for years. In this round, I need to redo the ending, which is good because it might give me the opportunity to par down the word count, but I can't seem to get to the ending. I keep fiddling and faddling with the beginning and middle.

M.J. Fifield said...

No, it's not just you. In my current edit, I have a character whose arc is so far off from where it should be that I have to wonder what drugs I was on when I wrote her scenes.

Hang in there!

H.R. Sinclair, Southpaw said...

I feel like I'm trapped in an edit cage myself! Hopefully in the end, it's worth it.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Well, at least you caught it before the very end.
I have a critique partner who I run outlines by before I start writing and he helps with the development part.

Diane Burton said...

Insecurity can make you procrastinate finishing the book. You will always find "one more thing" to fix. Good luck.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

My stuff tends to get many edits in the beginning but less in the end. I think it's because I go back and edit so much while I write.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Oh Hart - I can feel your pain .. good luck and relax to readjust ... you'll finish it off soon ... cheers Hilary

Yolanda Renee said...

You should find a CP that can give you some of that developmental help you give others.
Editing is the worst, and the best. Good luck!

Erika said...

Hi Hart. I completely understand your feelings about that missing thread and adding it and then starting again. I also agree with one of the comments on a writing partner. My writing crit partner has helped me so much. She and I write the same sort of thing and we both work really hard at our work. Brainstorming with her has helped me out of the mud a time or two. You sound so motivated and I bet you will get it done and it will be amazing . Erika

Meika Usher said...

Editing is HARD. And it's even harder to look at your book-baby and realize it's still jacked up, and to know you have to start from the beginning. Again.

You're a trooper, though. I have no doubt you'll get to that end again!

Andrew Leon said...

Editing is a bitch.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

I know when the time comes I'm hiring an editor. So I'll go through the early drafts myself with some beta readers first. Then hire editor because quite frankly I don't want to be an editor. I'll pseudo edit a bit then hand my baby over to professionals. Maybe you need to have an editor take a look at a few chapters for back up. Chrys Few is offering editing services and she really would not mind helping you out. Here's her latest blog post and yes it involves editing.

http://writewithfey.blogspot.com/2016/02/new-editing-services-iwsg-articles.html?showComment=1454522284536#c7438892897049800386

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I always print out my first drafts and then fill them with ink. I've heard very successful writers say them do up to fifteen drafts before their editor ever sees a manuscript. You do as many as you need to for the story to work.

Em-Musing said...

Hmm? Developmental editor. I've not heard that term before, only line, copy, and concept editor. I don't even count edits and drafts, I just keep plugging away until it reads right.

Hart Johnson said...

Susan--that is about exactly what it take me. Low to mid teens. I try to include a couple rounds of peer feedback before that, but 15ish to the copy editor.

Em--the developmental would be between concept and line--helping spot plot holes, pacing, stuff that requires context and can have trickle effect so they need to read the whole thing. Then again I may misunderstand concept editor--I see that person as someone who helps at the outline/idea stage, but it's possible they do more than that.

J.L. Campbell said...

Hey, Hart,
The only thing I can think of is a critique partner or someone who's really good at stuff like that who'd be willing to read early versions of your work.

Taryn Tyler said...

Sounds like you have it under control. Is there really a rule about how many edits you are supposed to do before a book is complete? It might take a little longer than you planned but your book will be very well crafted when you are finished and your readers won't care how many edits it took to get there.

Juneta Key said...

LOL, its always easier to see without prejudice someone else's problems in writing and in life I think. I think it might be the emotional connection with your own stuff that works as a blind spot. Some people work through this better than others. I found for myself sometimes it is learning from another person how they viewed it and determine the problem, after that they can teach me to see the problem in new way. Sometimes its just a matter of tips and tricks I never thought about or an approach.

My biggest weakness in writng--I tend to see the whole picture, but have trouble connecting the dots. I had a friend I could tell something, as much as I had come up with, tell them the problem I was still having and they were good at spotting the A-Z (blank spots) to get to the whole picture I created. I have learned a lot from them. I hope that was understandable, but I think I get what you are saying.

Juneta Writer's Gambit




authorcgcoppola.com said...

God, editing sucks.

I used to hate it. And I mean, like, REALLY hate it. Still do, mostly, except that I approach it with the following thought: Caitlin, you're making it better.

It's the only way I get through editing. Promising myself every time I sit down, I'm improving the story, whether it's correcting grammar or finding a major plot hole and having to run back through my WIP, nearly to an entire re-write (which I did on my first book in my series. Almost stopped me from writing).

But it didn't. And I'm a better writer for it.
As you are, every time you work :)

Chemist Ken said...

I've had to go back to the beginning and revise my story probably a dozen times so far. Every time I learn a new technique that I should have applied to my manuscript the first time through, I have to start all over. So I hear your pain. Good luck.

wanderingbutnotquitelost said...

No matter how much I edit, something is always wrong. Since I'm in college, I usually have my roommate read something over. I might think something is absolutely brilliant, but she can usually pick out something that's...confusing or just plain weird.

I suppose I tend to just get stuck in my head. I need someone to pull me out, so I can actually write a coherent thought!

dolorah said...

Third time's the charm, right? You'll get there Hart :)

Nancy Gideon said...

When I get to the point of not being able to see the plot through the prose, I turn my baby over to my BETA readers. That run through by fresh eyes has spotted the problem I couldn't find on more than one occasion and kept me from doing open heart surgery when all I needed to do was take a Tums and tweak a scene.

Ravyne said...

Wow, Hart... that's a lot of editing. Makes me insecure about a project that I need to edit in the near future. I wish you much success in finally getting to the end. ~Lori~

Jan Morrison said...

I can't keep track of my own drafts let alone yours but ahem...yep! I did my 50 thousand in November on Crooked Knife. Then I started switching it from first person to third (which I do all the time in drafts) and then realized I was stuck because I needed to finish the first draft all the way through. Yes. So back at that and trying to pretend I'm going to leave it in first so I'll just get the story down. weird.

Brandon Ax said...

Yeah that is why I like beta readers they point out so much stuff that I may not see no matter how many times I run through it. Good luck on the editing.

Amy Arden said...

I'm a first time visitor here and love the insecure writers premise for the Wednesday posts! Writing IS a cruel mistress. Editing is...well, also very cruel, but the silver lining is that it should always teach us something - about our book, about ourselves, about our own process. Hopefully editing only makes us and our work stronger - and if it's not, then its time to step back and find out what isn't working.

Nick Hornby said writing is "Sitting at a desk, staring at a sentence, and thinking you are the greatest writer in the world. And then, later that day, thinking you are the worst writer in the world - or possibly, thinking both these things within the same 10 minutes."

G. B. Miller said...

Having to write three coherent blurbs for a short story trilogy I want to publish this spring.

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