Friday, August 03, 2007

Cure For The Editing Blues

So, the never-ending saga of Randy hacks at Leftovers continues. I swear, because I'm so wishy-washy (and for various other reasons) I could easily find a reason to change every last sentence in the manuscript. What KILLS me is when I come across a rather convoluted sentence and realize I have the clauses backwards. Like, modifiers are in the wrong place, or something. Why didn't I write it properly in the first place??

Speaking of IT. I've got lots of its and thats. Another place to look for ways to strengthen a sentence, not to mention make it grammatically correct.

I've been tearing my hair out. NO MORE, I say. Next time, I'm editing as I go. (Oh, wait--didn't I already say that yesterday?)

Then something cool happened. I took a break, climbed into the bath tub (where all my writing epiphanies occur) and finished a book I'd been reading. This debut had quite the buzz when it released and for good reason. Funny, great characterization, rising stakes, the whole kit and kaboodle (hey, what's a kaboodle, anyway?). HOWEVER, I discovered I hadn't removed my editing hat, and guess what? In the ten or so pages I read, I found plenty of instances in this buzz book where I felt stuff had slipped.

First, a continuity problem. In the space of three paragraphs, the heroine squeezed her eyes shut twice. Aside from the fact they hadn't opened in between, the repeated usage bothered me. If my heroine's gonna close her eyes twice on a page, I'm gonna 1) look for a different way to say it in order to 2) raise the tension with the second occasion. That's just me.

Guess what else? Lots of THATs and ITs. Maybe the chick lit voice forgives all the THATS and ITS. I dunno. I'd like to learn the difference between the ones that are okay and the ones that aren't. (Put differently: I'd like to learn the difference between those which are okay and those which aren't. Put differently still: I'd like to learn when a sentence needs a THAT and when it doesn't. See what I'm up against here??) Do you have any idea how many more ways I could write what I just wrote? (Yes, I had to backspace and rewrite the preceding sentence to avoid another THAT--omigod, and I had to do it AGAIN in THAT sentence.)

Ack. Kill me now. Put me out of my misery.

Anyway, back to editing Leftovers. Buzz book finished, I returned to the computer and gave myself a break. I didn't agonize over every friggin sentence...and I reached


Whew. Now to print it out and re-read this weekend (note to self: two "ITs" in THAT sentence).

Am I going insane??

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