Editing my own work always makes me feel like a masochist. It’s painful and downright torturous, but the hurt feels soooo good in the end. Well, assuming that the editing was fruitful and actually made the story better, and didn’t just flail it within an inch of its life into a big pile of misshapen mush.
And, well, that’s the problem, isn’t it? Usually, I know when my editing is making the story better. Usually, I can look at the previous draft, then look the newly edited draft, and say, “Oh yeah, the second is way better than the first.” Or, conversely, if my editing is not making the story better, I can usually catch that as I’m attempting to change it. “Oh crap, this is only making it worse.”
Right now? Right now I’m working on the Cloudy with a Chance of Satan edits, and…
I don’t know.
I mean, yes. I can see that my rough draft needs work. I did not vomit gold the first time around. (Who does, right?) So editing is sorely needed. Which I have started.
But now, knee-deep in edits, I am looking at the torn asunder mess and wondering, “Did I just fuck it up?” I’ve added scenes, and rewritten them. Taken entire characters out, completely rewrote the four chapter, combined chapters, exed out others…
And I don’t know if I’m making it better.
I’m half afraid I’m making it worse.
I’ve been reading Chuck Wendig’s writing advice on editing to cheer myself up. It’s working, a bit. (And very useful for those of you who find editing hard or arduous). Yet I’m still looking at my manuscript and wondering…
-Eris “Sea of Despair” O’Reilly
(Also, “Sea of Hyperbole.”)
(And “Sea of Uncomfortable Metaphors.”)