Literally and figuratively, I think. This is a double-edged sword in my opinion. You know you have to go back and fix your original work, but in the process, I personally end up re-writing the whole damn thing. My editing ends up turning one creative bit of genius into something altogether different.
This is where I am right now with my work. I blasted away without re-reading or fixing it up until I had 27 somewhat cohesive chapters and … a story. The whole thing for once. And, as I began to re-read and edit as we’re supposed to do, I ended up with eleven concise new chapters and then nowhere else to go now.
The first and second chapters are about as they were at the start with some embellishment and flowery prose thrown in to make it sound all the more appealing. Then I arrived at the 3rd chapter and started noticing where this or that could either go away or change into something new, better. By the 8th chapter I was like … is this even the same story? What happened? Did I really want it to turn and twist into this? Argh!
So once again my characters are left hanging in suspended animation, waiting for me to figure out what they’ll do next. I’ve stopped writing (text on screen via Word) and am taking a lot of notes while staring off into the abyss of my confused mind day after day trying to piece it all back together.
Editing has forced my hand against my own story. Editing is what makes writing so difficult and dreary.
If I were to think about editing from a logical standpoint, it would mean I somehow condone the destruction of what first inclined me to write the story. Right?
If I am to believe that editing somehow enhances my work, then my original thought processes were merely kiddie stuff of elementary legend and worth absolutely nothing. Yes?
When I start the editing process, my initial inclination is to enhance – not change. I always fool myself into believing that I’m only there to add, embellish, and signify what I’ve written, making it all the more valid and worth the read. What ends up actually taking place, though, is a complete overhaul of my original work, thus murdering the intent by coming up with a new and somehow better story than what I first envisioned.
The story edit has come to the point now where I can’t even go back to my original work for reference anymore because the original story has zero to do with what I’ve re-created. Like I now have two, different stories with the same characters in them. So, I ask myself, again, what was the point of all that original work? Do I have two separate stories and I can simply change the names of the characters, or … what?
Am I still on the right track is what I want to know. Did I fail the original story by adhering to this need, this RULE to go back and edit? Am I the one (the only one) who is getting this editing rule wrong (again)? I am not supposed to re-write the story but just check for spelling and grammar boo-boo’s before submitting?
I don’t think so, though. I know I’m stupid, but there are too many articles, authors, and ‘quote pics’ from people who claim that editing is the process of destroying one work in order to save the gem.
For me, I want and need to keep going with whatever it is the first version started out as. The beast I’ve let loose through my own fingers and must somehow reign in and control without killing it entirely.
Even if I’m devastated by the current events that took place in the process of editing an original manuscript, I must proceed. I’ve got the notes and know what needs to be done to get this story where it needs to be in order to AGAIN type the words The End. It begs the question, though, when I get to the end of this second version, will I go back and re-write it a third time? A forth? Will the fifth version be completely unlike the fourth and so-on and so-forth?
How am I ever going to know when the story is just right? Is there a magic number involved in the editing process? Like, I’ll know the answer when I finish the 8th edit? What?
So … here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to finish this 2nd edit and STOP. Just stop editing. Well, that’s a bit of a fib. I’m going to stop writing the story and go back to edit grammar/punctuation/spelling issues by reading the whole thing aloud to myself. THEN I’m just going to find a publishing house and submit the work. PERIOD.
By the time I hear from them – and hopefully not a rejection, but whatever – I should be finishing up another story.
If they DO like my work, then I would do whatever they ask me to do. I will take that as being a 3rd edit, not because it is a rule. I can’t keep re-writing the same story, turning it into a new story every month. I’d never get anywhere if I continue to write this way. Even if I know for a fact that this second story has more meaning and in-depth analysis behind it than the first one.
Actually, now that I think about it, this is the third version of the same story. I originally wrote this thing a few years ago and recently picked it out of a number of in-the-works stories to re-work and submit … for the first time ever.
So, I’ll go with the number 3 with regard to how many times I’m supposed to edit the thing. The original work was great, the second version became more of a personal, why and how of the whole thing, and this 3rd version is my idea of a cleaned-up, rule-following, ‘I think the editor might accept this’ kind of endeavor.
Still, the whole point of the story was to make my musician come alive and tell his tale about love, commitment, devotion, and self-awareness. A fictional character with hints and bits of reality about him, to make him the cool, upbeat guy I envisioned. I refuse to throw out his subtle yet still obvious character flaws and still insist that he get his way toward the end. He deserves it more than my readers deserve to enjoy the read. I admire this guy because unlike me, he never let life get to him or beat him down. He’s as cute at 34 as he was at 4 or 8 or 12. Child-like but not childish, angelic but with a bit of the devil’s tail showing on occasion. He’s as passionate about his work and love as a child is about building something with their Lego’s and yet the amount of respect and attention shown him in that business has failed to mar his character or make him egotistical. He’s never forgotten what matters most, and he’s never forgotten what it felt like to be let down, disappointed, and hurt. Outwardly, no one would think he had a care in the world. Inwardly, he suffers.
She is meant to help bring out the inner workings and make him realize it’s time to say bye-bye to one way of life and start looking forward to another. The life he deserves after all that hard work and sacrifice. She’s broken, too, but I like the yin/yang aspect of relationships as much as I can understand how opposites attract, young people want a mirror image of themselves in a partner, and that chemistry/spark still exists in love.
They are both a lot of things and so much more than even I can convey in my own writing. I can’t and won’t let him get lost in the mire that is editing.
And yet edit I must.