Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Joy of Editing by Author Patti Larsen

About the Author: Patti Larsen is a middle grade, young adult and adult author with a passion for the paranormal. Her YA thriller series, The Hunted, is available now. The first four books of The Hayle Coven series, Family Magic, Witch Hunt, Demon Child and The Wild are also out now. Her YA paranormal novel, Best Friends Forever, and steampunk series, Blood and Gold, are due early in 2012. She is a full time writer and a part time teacher of her Get Your Book Done program. Patti lives on the East Coast of Canada with her very patient husband and four massive cats.

You can find her:

On her website

The Joy of Editing
Patti Larsen
The title may make you cringe or gasp in horror, but I assure you, I’m not being facetious. I love everything about writing, from plotting, to titles, outlining, research... every single bit. 
Including editing.

How can I love editing you ask? The tedious, torturous foray into self-flagellation and abuse? The very task that can make or break a writer, sending them down into a black pit of despair, wailing as they fall that their work sucks and will never be good enough?

Well, I do. And I can because I don't fall for the lies. Oh yes, believe me, that black pit is a lie. Think of it this way. Everything that little voice (your ego) tells you (you suck, you can't, it's terrible, why bother) is a lie. Got that? Excellent. So why allow said voice to make your editing process hell? Yes, it takes time to edit. Yes, if you weren't well prepared to begin with you may have a huge job on your hands (another reason I outline by the way--saves in edits). But, like the writing of the thing, editing needs to be a happy, positive experience, an exploration of your work. A loving taking apart and reassembling of this precious thing you've made. So a particular scene doesn't jive after all.  Don't throw it away. It may be a scene from something else. Instead, craft another with as much care as you did the first and admire it for a bit.  

See how beautiful it has become? Treat it like a joy, a pleasure, polish it like a fine gem. Even the painful stuff is positive in the end. You're making your vision the best it can be. Aside from doing the first draft, editing is the most awesome part! You get the chance to turn it into art. Embrace it no matter what and the ego will run out of you. It has to. It can't stand against that much love. Does this sound hokey? I won't apologize. Because like all the other odd, crackpot ideas I use day to day, it works.

Isn't that all that matters?

If you treat every edit like an opportunity to explore your work and ideas rather than a punishment for ‘doing it wrong’, you’ll learn to love it too.


the type writer said...

i soooo needed to read this today! thank you!

Shah Wharton said...

I rad this the other day here, wrote a comment and clearly walked of without publishing it? Grr?

I find this refreshing but I am in a deep re-write/edit process write now and what with losing several edited chapters (and around 2k words added to them) and other such irritants, I have to say it ain't such a positive experience for me right now. I will TRY to see things differently :)