When the glow of accomplishment that comes from typing out those last few words of a novel fades away, the task of first stage editing comes barreling down the to-do list, aimed straight for you. It can’t be avoided, and the longer you put it off the less you can get accomplished. After all, the novel isn’t yet completed, not really. So why wait?
Besides, reading back over your manuscript can be a lot of fun. Especially since you get to see the full effect from beginning to end, and hopefully everything jives and there aren’t any huge plot holes…I remember I read once that JK Rowling, while re-reading over Goblet of Fire, realized she had a major plot hole that made no sense and had to be completely changed. It gave me hope, actually, to hear about her going through something that I guess I’d always assumed the best and greatest writers didn’t face. But she got over the hurdle and rewrote what needed fixing and that particular book ended up being one of my favorites from the entire series. Could I tell where this mysterious plot hole had been or where she had patched things up? Nope. The book was fantastic, and none of her readers would have been any the wiser had she not mentioned the hiccup.
So don’t fret over editing and re-editing and editing some more, people. Writing a book is a process (an albeit fun and enjoyable one, but a process none the less) and editing is just one stage of that process.
Now I write all of this because today I am working on editing my most recent book, and as I was going through making small corrections and tweaking things, I found myself enveloped in a scene that I forgot I loved so much. Don’t you love it when that happens? I know I do 🙂 It makes you feel so proud of your creation and gives you that extra confidence boost needed to keep going and not trash the entire thing as crap. And, because I enjoyed it so much, I wanted to share a small snippet of it with all of you, just to give you a preview of the book to come. For those of you who read my earlier post from a week or so ago about character development, perhaps you’ll recognize the two characters described in this paragraph!
Grant bit his tongue, knowing he had no words to say to her, despite how badly he wanted to at least say something…she deserved that much, didn’t she? But how could he explain to her the complexities of his family, the guarded nature of his sister and the haunting past the harmonica had uncovered that he refused to discuss, even with his own brother? How could she possibly understand the pressure he was under, or how the very need for him to maintain this distance from everyone was a necessary, but at times devastating constraint? She just couldn’t understand, being the kind of person she was. So happy, so positive and full of life…surely she had never had to face the obstacles or the drama he had, or stood up under the pressures of being born into an empire that could not be allowed to fail. No, there was no possible way he could articulate those points to her, because he had never been a man of words, and saying what he felt or what he thought had never come easy. Perhaps it never would. And so he would continue to live with the disappointment of holding back, once more.