Sunday, June 26, 2011

Red Ink Edits

I don't know if this happens to anyone else, but sometimes I can't spend another day looking at my manuscript on a monitor.  No matter what I do, one of two things happens - I can't find any errors OR the whole thing is an error and I want desperately to wipe it from the face of the earth.  So, to avoid the unpleasant consequences of either happenstance, I print the damn thing out - chapter by chapter - and attack it with a red pen.

I step away from my desk.  I sit on the couch with my stack of paperclipped chapters, a 5-subject notebook, and a red pen.  And I read it like I'm critting for someone else.  (And, judging from the notes I leave, someone else I really don't care about pissing off.)  I make it bleed.  Slash, scribble, astute observation (aka nasty remark), underline, question mark...  you get the gist.

Right now, I'm attacking my 2010 NaNo novel.  I tried to get back to it in February, but happenstance #2 occurred.  Rather than delete the damn thing from my harddrive and every backup source, I put it away until I could be more objective.  Fast forward to June.  After we got back from Fort Collins, I sat down and started printing.  And you know what?

Once I fixed the beginning - which well and truly sucked - I really like this book.  Sure, it's got a few problems - it is a first draft, after all - but it's not nearly as crappy as I thought back in February.  The flow is good.  I'm feeling myself caring about the characters again.  The plot twists I put in are surprising even me.  Yep.  This one is a winner.*

How are things going in your writing?  Ever pick up a manuscript to edit it and feel like it's #2?  How do you get past the #2 feeling?

*Yeah, I think they're all winners until the rejections start pouring in and then I feel like a loser.  It's a vicious cycle, but it's my chosen endeavor, so I'm going with it.

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