Today’s post is more of a purge than usual. I appreciate this forum to bounce around thoughts – sometimes senseless – but this go ’round I am purging for my own good. For my sanity. For my survival as a writer. (Now I’m just being melodramatic.) Truth be told, I need to make a bold decision that has been eating at me for nearly two weeks and I’ve been uncharacteristically waffling.
A few days before I went to NYC to do some setting research for book 3, I got my Circling edit back from a brand new copy editor. Since I have ten years of editorial experience I was comfortable working with a new editor. Truthfully she was available and reasonably priced and I thought what the hell.
Without getting detailed I’ll say that it did not work out as I had hoped. I assumed incorrectly that she would under edit, in her inexperience. The edit was overdone to the extreme. My character’s bad manners were turned into better manners. Colloquialisms were edited out. Mean intentions were edited out. All past tense was revised to past perfect. I could go on, but I’ll leave it there.
Truthfully some things about Circling were bothering me. I decided to edit the 3rd person omniscient into 3rd person limited. My characters will speak stronger when they speak for themselves, without relying on a narrator. This became more apparent by the edit. I also need to more tightly align the tone of Circling and Forever Falling. When I wrote that second book, I had a decent amount of experience under my belt and I think I nailed a few points more effectively.
So for the last two weeks I have been tearing my hair out over this. As a former editor, the idea that I am a writer, who thinks she is above an edit, makes me want to punch myself in the face! At this point I have spent probably thirty hours working through the corrections and I am not 1/3 done. I am “rejecting” probably 85% of the corrections. I wanted to believe that the 15% of corrections I am “accepting” is worth the time spent. Truthfully, I can hardly stand to open the file. It is making me angry and frustrated and completely sucking the joy out of this process. Many writers abhor editing, but I do not. I love editing! I think that editing is like the final coat of paint. It is when you can finally see the true color of your work.
So this morning I finally made the decision. I am shit canning this version. I’ll go back and do my own rewrite and then, when I am satisfied with the story once again, I will ask you, writers, for some experienced recommendations. I’ll want Circling and Forever Falling edited together, I think. Lessons have been learned on this. I am culpable in that I gave inadequate instruction and made assumptions about the process.
Bottom line is I miss the joy of all this. Since I started writing on February 7th, my life has completely changed. My brain rewired. My emotional connectivity with the world altered. I feel things more than I used to. In some ways that is good. In some ways it is bad. For this situation, it is bad. I can’t sleep. I’ve lost seven pounds (ok, not all bad). I’m way too generous with the pharmaceuticals. I simply can’t turn it off. I have to let it go or I’ll be insane.
I had dinner at Busboys and Poets last night. I was browsing the books and found my face right here… Rand, Randall, Ratner, Rice. This is where I’ll be alphabetized one day. I am in interesting company! I’m glad to get all that out, Once I hit “publish” the decision is made and I can get off the fence on this. And I can get back to writing.
Thanks David Bowie for the title borrow. Here is The Jean Genie from Aladin Sane.