Wednesday, October 27, 2010

To edit or not to edit....

That's been the question I asked my self repeatedly, about a month ago.

I've now three stories written and a fourth on the way, nothing but first drafts. Writting the fourth one, with every word I put on paper, I would ask the question, to edit or not to edit. It just kept throbbing in my head, after a while I decided not to write for a few days.

Days turned into one week, one week into another one and on and on, still the question kept on running laps in my head. Finally I decided to go for it and I started editing my very first story.
I'm sure now it's the right thing to do, else I would have kept writing till I've finished a hundred first drafts and would have no book to show for.

First thing I noticed while editing was that it's difficult to do, still I'm glad I'm doing it myself. Would I pay someone to do it for me it would set me back a lot of money, money I don't have.

I have to say my very first draft is bad. I have said this before, but it's really bad, so bad it requires repeating, it's bad. Every line I went over I had to change or add something.

For the first 10k words, I had to add a lot of missing words. Doing so, I increased my word count by 2k.

The next 10k words, I noticed I did in fact have fewer missing words, this is evidence that I did improve a little. It made me a little giddy, not for long though, because I noticed another amateur mistake I made, I used too much explaining and describing.

I actually wrote a bit describing how my main character walked to a door, turned the knob, opened the door and passed through it into the other room, grabbed the door knob and closed the door behind him. A simple he opened the door would have sufficed.
There were many more examples like this, I had to scrap many sentences and my manuscript lost weight, 3k words in weight.

From there on till to where I am now, I came to the part in the story with more than three characters in the same scenes. Here I noticed that I started doing another newbie mistake, head hopping.
One should be very careful with a constant changing POV, a reader may get disorientated reading and the writer also could while writing. I had to fix this and it took a lot of time and brain power. (I'm depleted right now.)

I'm glad I'm able to notice these mistakes, this is partly due to gained experience and by reading 'How To' books. This makes my writing much better than it used to be.

The editing in itself is a learning moment. I'm going slow now, but with experience I hope to become faster and able to spot more mistakes. A boon with gaining experience is that I'll make less mistakes while writing and will require less editing. (or that I hope.)

I said it before and I'll say it again, I'm happy with my choice. That what I've edited, read much better and I can honestly say it's not bad anymore.

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