Thursday, June 9, 2016

A Tale of Two Editing Sessions

SCENE ONE

Your lovely critique partner reads your draft and calls you to discuss big picture issues that you might want to look at as you revise. You agree with pretty much everything she says and are excited about digging in. You open the manuscript, taking note of the 160+ comments and questions that your lovely critique partner has helpfully inserted.

You begin work enthusiastically.

The End

SCENE TWO

Your lovely critique partner reads your draft and calls you to discuss big picture issues that you might want to look at as you revise. You agree with pretty much everything she says. Damn it. 

You open the manuscript, taking note of the 160+ comments and questions that your lovely critique partner has helpfully inserted and you are horrified by the amount of work that lies ahead.

But whatever. What else are you going to do with your time?

You begin work. Tightening, reworking, deleting, adding, fiddling--

move this paragraph over here where it fits better. No. Move it back. It worked better where it was originally. Delete the end of this chapter. Rework this scene. What's the timeline here? Does this flashback belong in this chapter? Why does the main character say that? What's the purpose of the scene? What's the MC's friend thinking at this point?

More fiddling and tweaking and shifting, cutting

combining, questioning,

wondering if you're fixing problems or creating new ones. Is this necessary? If you take it out, have you made things more confusing? Wait, why did you think this character was funny?

What's the point of this story? Why did you start writing it in the first place? What if you can't fix this? What if it's unfixable? Why are you a writer? What is the meaning of life? Why are-- what should-- Why didn't you-- Who cares if--


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The End

Bonus points if you can guess which scene I acted out yesterday :)


10 comments:

  1. Glad it's not just me! I'll start revising a new WIP at the end of this month...I'm a little scared of what I'll find when I open it back up.

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    Replies
    1. Just do what Anne Lamott says and "Take it bird by bird." :)

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  2. I'd say it's scene 1 & 2, Jody! Do I win?

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  3. I am revising my Nano project and it it such an incredible mess. I relate to scene 2...

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    Replies
    1. I live for the Scene 1 days, Yvonne.

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  4. Just hoping you don't have to repaint the walls!

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  5. Sharing this with my critique partner:)

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