2017 THEME: Editing Fiction (Because that's what I'm in the middle of doing.)
What is the Blogging from A to Z challenge and where can I find more participants? Right here.
Part of editing is learning to Let go.
You've been with your novel for months, sometimes years. Characters have become your friends. You love to spend time in the world you've created. You hear their voices in your head and wandered the setting in your dreams.
And now you have to rip into those pretty perfect words. I hope you still have those tissues handy.
Before you start, save a copy of your file. That's the one to edit. All your sparkly awesome words are now saved for posterity. A safety net in case you totally hate what editing is going to do to your wonderful story.
Here's the thing though, its going to make your story better. However, knowing those words are all still there just as I originally intended to be frees up my brain to dig in and do what I know must be done. To be honest, I've never reverted back to that original file, and in some cases, I cringe to even skim through it. But it's there.
Once you've done all your passes, conquered the big plot issues, made sure your characters are properly motivated, nitpicked your sentences, paragraphs, and chapters, seen through to the ugly where you thought there was only sparkle, it's time to let go even more. It's time to send your newly chiseled masterpiece off to other eyeballs.
The owners of those eyeballs (if they are good, honest beta readers and/or critique partners) will tell you about all the rough patches that still need fixing. Do you have to listen to every word? No. Should you take them into consideration, at least generally? Yes. After all, you shared your word baby with them for a reason.
After this nerve-wracking process, its time for a polish pass and then the next step, a step back from your pretty words as you send them off into either a paid editor, submissions, or whatever avenue you're self publishing with. Somewhere around here, we have to let go for good and move on to the next project.
We create the first drafts of our story for ourselves. It may always be your favorite version of the story, perhaps with darling tidbits that only you will ever enjoy, but in the process of letting go, the story will be stronger and appeal to an audience wider than one.
Editing can be a major process but it creates a stronger story. Do you find it painful or do you enjoy it?