I had an editing breakthrough last week, and it was unlike anything I’ve experienced while writing. When I’m editing a manuscript, I take pass after pass, smoothing as I go along, shaping the story, finding the bits that stick out or don’t fit. I line up the loose strings with their counterparts and tie tight.
With this project, I’d gone through it several times already, and something still felt off. It fit together, sure, but like those pieces of a jigsaw where there’s still the slightest wiggle, and you’re not sure those two bits of sky really go that way.
And then suddenly it hit me.
It wasn’t a change of very many words at all, just a handful, really, and some cleaning up in earlier parts, but suddenly, finally, it was starting to feel like a book.
Some people feel the work of writing is in the planning. I’m not a planner, so that one pretty much never applies to me. For others, it’s in that first draft, that’s where it all happens. That one does apply to me, because usually, once the major paths of my story are set, there they remain.
But I believe the real work happens when you have all the parts, you have all the pieces, and it’s time to make them seamless, then buff them until they glow. Editing may be the most important tool in the writing box.
Have a minute? Watch this video.