Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Agony of Editing.

The problem with living with someone who seems to have a natural knack for editing can be many. Turn of phrase, wordy dialog, too much description, not enough description, etc. are just some points we discuss from time to time.

I asked, "Hypothetically speaking is there anything you read that you think is perfect? That couldn't have stood some editing, or more editing somewhere?"

"Passages, only short passages. Never an entire story." He replied.

So if that's the case, will anything I ever write and rewrite and edit and rewrite and so on and so on ever be perfect? In my mind and with that answer, no. Another piece of my mind says, "Everyone else is getting away with it; why can't you?"

Because I'd like very much to be perfect. And I live with a perfectionist.

Another part of me wonders if my voice in my writing will be lost if my work is worked and edited and rewritten so much, and the whole thing is then turned into a boring bowl of softened mush. He said it wouldn't. But then again, he said a portion of my latest effort sounded like a first draft when it wasn't.

I'm beginning to fear rewriting again, not the actual work but because I really don't know what the heck I'm doing. I'm a writer, not a rewriter.

1 comment:

Ris said...

No! Don't fear the rewriting!

I think it is just a different part of the writing process, and just like we have to learn how to do characterization and pacing and plot, we have to learn the finer arts of rewriting. So you are having growing pains, that's all. But the more you do it, the more you'll discover the tools. At least, that's my theory.

As far as perfection is concerned, as a recovering perfectionist myself, it is all in the eyes of the beholder. I'm positive that is why some books seem to be better edited than others. My idea of what is 'perfect' is not going to be your idea of what is perfect. And, oddly enough, I'm not sure there is an industry standard for it, just 'in-house' standards. But you know, I don't think I mind it that way at all. Widens the playing field considerably.

So you go with your idea of perfect and boo to the rest of us!