The daffodils I bought this week got me thinking about patience….and editing.
They looked a tad sad when I popped them into the jug on the kitchen table. A first draft manuscript can hit you a bit like that when you come to start the editing. It's not that you don't have faith. You can see the potential and you know it will come good. You have done this before. Oh, but the need for patience.... How many times as I walked past those daffs did I will them to - hurry up, please.
I have just finally completed the editing on this MS so that it is now at the point of readiness for sharing and I find myself wondering how on earth other writers work? Does your patience work differently from mine? Do you ride the rollercoaster of confidence and doubt - loving some parts and completely rethinking others?
For myself I wrote this last MS unusually quickly so I knew that the editing stage would be more demanding. What was a nice bonus on re-reading was I had genuinely forgotten some of the scenes and material and so found myself smiling and reading….as a reader.
Then I rolled up my sleeves to start slashing. For the second edit I always work on screen – one chapter at a time. I amend and correct on screen then print off each chapter and make additional amendments in long-hand on the script. But I resist the temptation to go back and do all these extra edits on the computer immediately otherwise I would just be a dog chasing its tail. Round and round in circles.
Once I have completed this second major edit, I tend to wait a bit and dive in for the third edit using the handwritten notes on my script as a starting point. I make all those edits first…and then re-read for pace etc.
It’s at this point that I transfer the script to Kindle where I find the very different layout tricks my eye into spotting literals and mistakes more easily.
And then ...
Just like the daffodils, the MS is looking a whole lot brighter.
Next - deep breaths. Time to see what others think.
Also; urgently need new excuse not to clean house... "Ah yes. When I said had FINISHED editing, what I actually meant..."
Teresa Driscoll - journalist, author, mother of two and lover of great coffee.