Welcome to the first edition of my new editing hack series. I’ve created it for one simple reason.
Editing is the hardest part of writing.
Yes, I know placing your butt in a chair to crank out those first words on the page seems most difficult.
Or slogging through your first draft when inspiration disappears and doubt fills your heart.
Editing is harder.
Two reasons why editing is harder.
You’re not in control anymore.
“It begins with a character, usually, and once he stands up on his feet and begins to move, all I can do is trot along behind him with a paper and pencil trying to keep up long enough to put down what he says and does.”
Getting started and finishing a first draft require accountability, perseverance, and patience, but ultimately you decide whether they happen or not. You sit down and free write. You choose to keep writing until you reach the end of your draft.
Editing requires you follow the path of your book. Your characters take on their own lives and the structure of your book suggests itself. You follow the lead of what you’ve written and fill in blanks based on what works best for the overall message of the book.
Editing changes the way you see your book.
Writing a draft is a process of opening up. You’re exploring ideas and characters. You allow for unanswered questions as the draft unfolds. Editing shuts down avenues and forces you to make decisions then rewrite to answer the questions and fill in blanks.
This requires careful reading and comments that help you see what’s working and what’s not working. Sometimes a character you love must die. You’ll have to cut huge sections because they distract from the main point. You have to be really honest with yourself, and honesty can throw you back into doubting yourself and your writing.
“Put down everything that comes into your head and then you’re a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff’s worth, without pity, and destroy most of it.”
What can you expect in this editing hack series?
These hacks are a bit different than you’ll normally find. I won’t simply tell you to strike the words very or really from your vocabulary. Instead, these hacks help see your writing more clearly as they walk you through steps to shape your stories, explore sentence structure and dig deep into the craft of writing.
You’ll learn techniques to follow your metaphors, reshape your sentences by eliminating one word and instinctively know when it’s time to stop writing and edit.
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