Editing can be harder than I thought...

I came across a note in TB today. A note I had scratched in with my trusty red pen (hey, forgive a girl for being old fashioned). It was one of those hastily written "I'm moving on to a better part" notes, and that meant I didn't want to edit the scene when I first encountered it.

There are two reasons I can think of why I wouldn't want to edit a scene. Either I thought the scene was boring or it needed so much work it seemed overwhelming. As you can probably imagine, both of these reasons are horrible when it comes to novel writing. For one, if the author thinks a scene is boring, it probably is. You'll never find anyone as invested in the characters' lives as the author. If those characters make even their creator yawn and skip the next few pages we've got problems. Secondly, if a scene is so bad you don't want to edit it, it doesn't say much for your mood in the following hours. However, a horrible scene is not as bad as a boring scene. A boring scene may take forever to "fix" and probably needs to be axed. A horrible scene can be edited into a decent scene, and from there to a good one, even if you need to sweat blood in the process.

In that I was lucky, because my note was simply "make it sound better." Not a boring scene, just a horrible one. In those four words I seemed to scream at myself to get my butt in gear to actually write something worth reading. "What were you thinking!" screams myself to myself, "this sucks so bad your mom would skip it." What was I thinking when I wrote those words? Probably "there is always editing."

And it is true. There is always editing, but sometimes I wish I'd just look ahead a bit during first drafting. The sad part is, I'd advise against that if anyone asked me. Just push forward, don't get bogged down. There is always editing.

I think it is partly that thought of grass always being greener on the other side. When you are first drafting, editing is the easy part and you don't mind throwing a few wrenches into the process. And then, when you are editing, you look back on your first drafting days and imagine that life as a picnic when every encounter with the outside world was an inspiration and butterflies flew around your brain attracted to the beauty being created within.

Writing is hard. Every step of the way. There is no "easy" part. Each aspect of the craft has its own challenges. But each step has some joy as well. And I guess the trick is to focus on that instead of the difficulty. And, to think of it another way, if we are constantly looking forward to a different step in the overall process of noveling, we will never give up.

But as encouraging as simply writing this post has been, I now need to return to editing this scene. It may take me hours. It may take me two or three days. I only hope I don't need to sweat blood over it.