Sunday, June 12, 2011

Final Edit

I’ve never had a final edit before.

By that, I mean I’ve never edited a piece of fiction knowing it was going to be published regardless. All my editing in the past has been make it the best I can editing, which I realize now is different.

Reworking your own writing is bizarrely difficult. So much harder than critiquing another person’s work, simply because it’s nearly impossible to be objective. With your own amazing fabulous never-been-told-before story, there’s the constant push to improve and change and refine. It’s actually more difficult than the first rush of words on the screen. When the passion of creativity dies, you’re left with … what? Well, if you’re a genius, or truly inspired, then you’re left with something untouchable. But for the rest of us slobs, we’re left with a half-finished, rough-edged, tarnished lump of words.

The biggest obstacle in all editing is to know, indisputably, when you are FINISHED. For beginning writers, that “It’s good enough” switch turns on way too quickly. For seasoned writers, that switch never seems to turn off. There’s always one more read through. One more change. That wake-up-in-middle-of-the-night inspiration that seems to alter everything you thought you wanted to write.

I’m hoping to find something in the middle.

Right now, I’m working without a safety net. Based on a True Story (Parts 1 and 2) are written. They’ve gone through 3 or 4 thorough editing sessions, not only by me but by a few unlucky readers who saw these stories in one form or another. So, what’s left to do? Oh, everything.

Here’s why: There’s no one behind me, ready to catch a mistake or make a last minute save on something stupid I’ve overlooked. It’s me. All me. And frankly, I’m not sure I’m up to the task.

Yeah well … but then I remind myself that no one is probably going to read these stories anyway, so in the end I’m just writing to make it the best I can. I guess that’s all that matters.

1 comment:

  1. Editing is truly a nightmare. I am completely daunted by the task ahead of me. The thing is, I know that a few people will be forced to read my writing, and they will be looking at every single angle, for any little error, for a gap in the flow - so it has to be at the level where these readers will be satisfied. To quote you, "frankly, I'm not sure I"m up to the task."

    Should I just rewrite it all?