Here we go, folks! The ugly truth about rewrites and edits in all its glory, so to speak.
I am hoping that these blogs might help other authors realize that they are not alone when going through this process; that the process itself is often times not productive while other times it can be very effective. Just like writing itself.
Never did get all the way through the draft to complete the editing on the first attempt, but have since started again from the beginning. Counter-productive, you say? Perhaps, but since I will have to re-read and edit it god knows how many times, does it really matter? I’m a firm believer (as a head-in-the-clouds writer) that there is no “right” way to do most things because we all work differently. If the end result is achieved, it doesn’t matter which path you take to get there.
That said (or admitted), I plugged along ALL DAY yesterday and got further along than I had on the first pass. (See-we’re making progress!) Unfortunately, I realized that I had to add a section on a specific historical event, so that ADDED a page instead of cutting the thing down. Well, it happens. And will continue to happen until the draft gets perfected. I have no timeline as to when this will get done, so I have the freedom to indulge myself as I go.
I’m happy to report that I did see quite a bit of yellow highlighted sections (indicating possible removal), so while I did add a page, many more pages are slated for the delete button.
Back to the drawing board, as they say! Stay tuned for Part Three…
Happily, I can now announce that the sequel to “Red, White & Blues” has been written. That was the easy part. Now comes the hard part: rewrites and edits. When I re-read “Red, White & Blues” and know just how many rewrites and how much editing I did to it, it fills me with both hope and dread. Hope because I know that it can be done; dread because I don’t know how I ever did it. Re-reading this sequel over and over again and still not finding much that needs to be either rewritten or edited makes me nervous. Obviously, there are plenty of passages that could be removed, but does one remove them simply to do just that? Re-working passages often times leads to more words, not less. Not having the mental fortitude to allow another person to edit my story makes me especially vulnerable to leaving things in simply because I am fond of the character. I thought documenting this process might be interesting to both readers and other writers, so here I go:
For the initial read-through, I was gentle. I told myself, “You just need to read it and look for glaring errors-spelling, sentence structure, etc.” Fine. I can do that.
The second read-through, I took a harder look, mostly for inconsistencies or facts that might need further verification or exploration. When writing fiction that incorporates actual events, certain things must be reported as accurately as possible even if the surrounding story might not seem possible. Okay. That was good. Now we’re beginning to get somewhere.
The third time is when I have to begin to get harsh. I highlight portions that should be removed or re-worked. Hopefully, on the next read-through, I will see a lot of yellow!
In the end, it will get done, but the process is not only daunting, but sad in some ways. Ultimately, it is gratifying. And it WILL GET DONE!