CHOP AWAY

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It took me a while to really love the editing process, but after almost a decade of writing and editing I can finally say I LOVE it. Yes, at times it can feel daunting and impossible, but the end result is always rewarding.

A second pair of eyes is crucial when it comes to editing. I’m always amazed at the simple things I miss that my critique partner @reneedeangelo4 spots immediately. We’ve had this conversation many times and she agrees with me. Why is it when it comes to our work we tend to scan right over an overused word, grammatical error, a plot kink or missing punctuation? Yet, we can pick out the very same errors in someone else’s work? I know it has something to do with our minds filling in the missing pieces due to the attachment we have with our own work.

Our personal attachment also affects the way we edit. I’ve felt sick when I had to cut out a sentence I loved, or revamp an entire chapter because it’s what the story needed. I even opened a separate document devoted to all original ideas and sentences.
Who knows, I may use the material one day or at least become inspired from it. Euphoria comes not only in writing our masterpieces but also from chopping them up then piecing them back together. So, chop away my friends, it’s the only way you will find the gold hiding inside your work.

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24 Comments

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24 responses to “CHOP AWAY

  1. Oh such a timely post as I’m currently chopping away at my ms as per your critique comments. But I can see the light at the end of my tunnel. Hopefully it’s that gold you mentioned just shining away!

  2. I was the same. I wrote three books and haven’t edited a single word. Stuffed them into the loft and forgot about them. After doing my creative writing course I grew to love editing too. Great to be able to mould a story and redraft it. 🙂

  3. The best authors know how to “Kill their darlings.” This is my first visit to your blog and I enjoyed it. Please visit us at http://citymusecountrymuse2012.blogspot.com/ and, if you like what you see, sign up to become a member.

  4. Hi there! I found you through the A-Z Challenge. I was searching for other writers to follow and came across your blog.

    I am currently editing a lot of stuff, and I have to agree that it can be very daunting. It’s hard when you get attached to something and know it needs to be cut. I’ve been there a hundred times.

    I look forward to reading more of your blog! I’ve bookmarked your page and will stop by again!

  5. Love the theme you have for the challenge; looking forward to the rest of the letter… very informative as well

    Have a nice day!

  6. You are so right that fresh eyes are needed when editing. When I read a poorly edited book it takes me out of the story and I usually don’t keep reading. I pride myself on having my own books well edited.

  7. Felicia Wetzig

    Sometimes I’m still embarrassed at the typos my beta reader finds. Completely obvious and yet I would have never caught them myself. I’ve also learned that I need to edit on paper. If I’m doing it via computer, I’m a complete mess. Great post, I’ll have to check back often during the month.

  8. Absolutely agree. Having the courage to trim and cut makes your work so much better.

  9. I always feel like i am butchering someone’s work when I chop, chop, chop. This was a good post for me to read. Thanks!

    (Stopping by from the A to Z Challenge)

  10. Chop! Chop! Yup, can’t fall in love with the words we put down. Well, we can put we also need to see that we can let them go for a tighter story. To make less painful, I have an outtakes file folder which releases the agony of forever gone to a maybe later attitude.

  11. Wise words about editing. You dare not be precious about the words that need to go, but you should also guard against over-working a manuscript to the point where it loses its rhythm.

  12. awriterweavesatale

    editing has always, always been my favorite part of the writing process. I despise the initial awkward badly written rough drafts!

  13. I think it’s because there’s a lot in our heads we can’t shed to see what’s truly in our work. It does take another set of eyes. Also putting a piece down for awhile helps me pick up more mistakes. Happy C!

  14. Hi, there,
    It takes me a while to get moving on the edits, but when I do it’s a pleasure when everything starts to fall into place.

  15. I no longer feel bad about chopping away. I actually look forward to making my manuscripts leaner.

  16. I love this, I can totally relate. I hate having to cute a beloved piece from my manuscript and I always save them in a special file. And as for missing your own errors, I think in part it could be due to reading your same piece over and over to the point where you become blind to little oopsies. But critique partners are a crucial part in the process. Finding one you work well with might be a chore but when you do find one, it’s worth singing over.

    Have fun with the a-z challenge.

  17. For me it’s how others edit my work. In some cases, people have just really ticked me off with how they come across. I’m not saying the changes weren’t needed, even if I liked it the way it was. 🙂

  18. Stopping by from A-Z; lovely post about editing – I actually look forward to editing!

  19. I’m one of those who enjoys the editing part, too – I love the shaping of a project into much shinier and trimmer shape.

  20. I have a love/hate relationship with editing. Like cutting a diamond, you have to get rid of the superfluous to find the beauty, but it’s also sad to get rid of what could have been valuable.

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