Edit Land

Thursday, February 5, 2009
Today, I received my second round of edits for The Stillburrow Crush, and I must say, progress is a beautiful thing. I keep getting one step closer to holding my very own book in my hands, clasping it to my chest, and reverently breathing out the word, "Wow." I'm so excited it makes me feel all bouncy inside. It's too bad I have to deal with editing and marketing and promoting to get there. Though I must say I have a grade A editor. She's been very good to me.

However, it's funny. A writer will work and rework their story before they ever show it to anyone. Then, everyone that reads it henceforth will have a comment to add and the writer will once again revise and edit, reworking their story from that new perspective. What's so ironic about this part is that each person will see your story from a totally different viewpoint. You might think it's all written out there, plain as day, on a flat, single-sided piece of the paper. But for some reason, your manuscript turns into this multidimensional being that has a heads and a tails, like a coin, and every other person that reads it will chose their preferred side.

It gets very complex and confusing, and the humorous part is most of the main disagreement centers on wording, not the actual story. "You're using the word was too much." "No, you should keep was in there." "No, was is used twenty-seven times in the past five pages. That's way too much." "But was helps show the action and movement of the sentence." "Was is too passive tense. It should go." I swear I've heard all these comments on critique sheets. Now, tell me honestly, what's a poor girl to think? What's really the right way? Sadly, there is no correct answer, no definite "right" way, and nothing to do to satisfy every reviewer.

Not that I'm too bothered by all the conflicting comments. It lets me know my original version wasn't necessarily wrong, which is always a relief. Plus, I think it's interesting that such a dispute actually exists in the writing world. Yeah, okay, how you say something is important, but what you say is really what the story is all about. A reader's going to be more concerned about the characters and the plot. They're going to remember actions and dialogue more than sentence structure and how many times you use was. So, I'm actually very honored to have my editors and critique partners obsess about how I worded this or that. To me, that means the meat and potatoes portion is going good. Either that, or I need more brutally-honest reviewers. Yikes!

1 comment:

  1. I'm dealing with this right now. There is no way to take out all the "was," "that," and "so" in the story without losing your voice and the sense of the thing....

    I leave it up to my editor to choose what they want or don't want. After all-they bought it.