Valerie Rutherford (fireflys_locket) wrote,
Valerie Rutherford

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Editing Advice

I've worried a lot lately about my writing never being perfect. That, as I get to the end of this round of edits, I could easily go back over it all one more time. Maybe I could go over it five more times and still find something pick at. Rework forever.

My brain obsesses often. Partly a failing of my brain chemistry, and partly learned behavior from not feeling safe among my peers. I needed to be as perfect as possible in order to simply survive. I needed to spot danger from far away. Anticipate mistakes.

On the other hand, my writing process has always needed a bit of a flow. I've done my best writing by feel, instead of worrying about writing perfectly. Of course, that's writing. And editing is meant to be polishing that work to make it the best it can be. I've been working on that for almost a year. But I've always believed you can over-edit and lose some of the raw emotion in the original writing.

I've read so much editing advice over the last few years. Certain tips and tricks can help you spot clunky, unnecessary, or repetitive parts of your writing. Which is great! But I see a lot of "do this" or "don't do this" or "remove every instance of *blank*". And to me, there are almost no absolutes. A lot of it is situational or depends on taste. If you are just blindly reworking your writing to fit all of these rules, you may lose something important in the process.

I worked on some editing today. The end of this chapter made me cry as I read it aloud. Not because of fancy words or perfectly crafted writing. Just from pure emotion. There's a place for fancy words and editing tips. For writing "craft". But in the end - for me, personally - writing is about the emotions it can evoke. This scene reminded me that my writing doesn't have to be perfect (an impossible goal) to hold deep meaning.

So if I can (perhaps ironically) give you one little piece of advice: please, don't allow the writing "rules" and "advice" to swallow up the emotion of your writing.

I feel somewhat at peace now with being two chapters away from finishing edits on Book One. I'll probably start obsessing again tomorrow. I can never seem to hold onto a good feeling for long.
Tags: anxiety, magic inc, writing

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