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Editing My Writing

February 10, 2014

editing my own writing

I think the most difficult thing for me as a writer is to edit my own fiction.

When I’m writing fiction, I cruise along, being both entertained and moved by the things I write that resonate with me. And I remind myself that if I like what I write, maybe someone else will, too. And with luck, maybe lots of people will like what I write.

But when I sit to edit, I can’t see the forest for the trees. I can’t tell if a paragraph conveys comprehensible thought, let alone what it is specifically that I’m hoping to express. I think my writing and the scenes are too familiar to me, so the newness and first impact is lost, as if my first tracks have been obscured by my loop style of writing – meaning that I reread what I’ve written the prior day or week (or however far back I have to go) to pick up the inspirational thread to help tease from my mind the continuation of the story.

So, by the time I’ve finished a book and I begin to edit it as a whole piece, it feels like I’m trudging through a dense jungle even though my writing and structure is simple. Instead of being “in the moment” of what I’m reading/editing, all around me is the story in images and impressions that are a constant distraction.

This happens to be on my mind because as soon as I finish this post, I have hours of editing ahead of me….!

Incidentally, it used to be that I could only edit hardcopy. But lately, I’ve become more accustomed to editing on my computer. Still, I think I catch more in hardcopy, so I make sure that my final review is done on paper with pencil!

I’d welcome tips on best practices for editing your own work. I suppose the obvious advice is that I should hire someone to edit my fiction! I may yet!

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