So my final round of edits (I think/hope/pray) have been completed. *Does celebration dance/throws confetti/collapses in exhausted heap* Figured I should touch base with everyone to keep you all appraised of the situation. I’ve moved from the super busy, nerve-racking phase, to the phase where I have an abundance of time on my hands that editing and re-editing had previous filled. Logically, I should be working on the next project, but somehow my mental gearshift is stuck in edits, and if I can’t shift to writing soon, I could very well damage my transmission–the mental kind, but I didn’t want to say that twice. SEE! Shift, damn you, shift!
I’m sure it’ll pass in time, and I hope that writing this blog provides me with the bridge I need between following directions and thinking freely. Which is really what the problem is. During editing, there comes a point where you have to shut down the brain–and the ego along with it–and soldier through the process, or you’ll never complete anything. Now that the process is done, I have to rev up all engines and light a fire under my cerebellum to get it going. That’s not to say that editing is a mindless job, quite the opposite, many times it forced me to think of things that I hadn’t thought before in order to explain or justify a character’s seemingly strange behavior. But when you spend 250 pages adding a comma, deleting a comma, adding a description, deleting your overly excessive repetitive redundant and unnecessarily worded descriptions, you go a little numb after a while. And you’re left feeling a bit wrung out.
I don’t know if everyone does this, but it’s hard for me now–post edits–not to look at every sentence I try to write with a super critical eye. That can be good, but it can also stump the writing process for some–okay, for me. I need to be that wild stallion, rampaging free through the meadow, while I write. All with the understanding, of course, that all of that wildness will have to be broken in later for the benefit of both horse and rider.
So my plan is to take it easy for the holiday and start fresh next week, hitting the old laptop with new brainstorming ideas and hopefully start the New Year ‘write.’
In the meantime, check out this actually, authentic, factual, real life, totally non-fiction, transcription of a conversation between me and my editor. *(transcription may not contain any actual facts and may, in fact, be paraphrased from Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson ‘s climactic scene in A Few Good Men).
Editor: You want edits?
Me: I think I’m entitled!
Editor: You. Want. Edit?
Me: I want the ending the way it was!
Editor: You can’t have it the way it was! Son, you wrote a book that needs editing, and that editing needs to be done by men with objectivity. Whose going to do that, you? Your friends?
I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for your lost metaphors and you curse my suggestions. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That cutting that scene, saves the pacing. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, improves the novel.
You don’t want the ending the way it was because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you WANT me on those track changes. You NEED me on those track changes.
We use words like, ‘reads better with this,’ ‘out of character,’ and ‘over-the-top.’ We use these words as the backbone of the job spent correcting novels. You use them to start drama.
I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to someone who writes and rewrites under the blanket of the wisdom which I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it.
I would rather you just said thank you and moved along. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a Chicago Manual of Style and edit your own work. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think your ending should be!*
*(No endings were changed in the editing of this novel)