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Do: Self Edit

13 Apr

For those of you that know me and have been around me during the beginning stages of my creative process, this may make you laugh. However, if you’ve been around for the later phases of the process, you understand.

For those of you who don’t know me (which will probably be most of you) I’m not a fan of editing as I write. I refuse to read a single word that I’ve already written until I have an entire first draft laid out and ready for edits. Once I start editing that first draft, I fight it every step of the way. Simply put, I HATE to edit. It drives me crazy.

Some of you may be thinking, “Well, won’t my publisher have an editor for me?” and you’d be right. Assuming you can get a publisher. Generally, the way it works is, you write a manuscript, you edit the manuscript until you can’t anymore, you edit it 2 or 3 or 5 more times anyway and then you send it off to about a billion literary agents and pray that one of them likes it enough to ask to see more. Once they’ve read the whole thing, sent you a rejection letter and told you to try again, you sit around and wait for another agent to express interest and repeat the process. Once you land an agent, it then becomes their job to land you a publisher. They will peddle your wares to publishers all over the country and try to get you the best deal they can, after all, the more money you get, the more money they get. But having an agent doesn’t guarantee you a publishing deal. If your work isn’t polished and gleaming you will just see rejection letter after rejection letter after rejection letter.

So yes, I hate editing, but I do it. You’re not going to send out hand written resumes to potential employers with scratched out words and spelling errors all over the place… Why would you do that with a manuscript? It is, after all, your resume.

Chances are, if this is your first rodeo, you’ll probably go through at least 5 revisions before your work is ready to be submitted. That’s a minimum. I wouldn’t recommend any less than 7, just for good measure. If you’ve gone through the whole process a time or two, your work is probably of a higher quality as it comes out of your fingertips, so you might be able to get away with 2 or 3 edits. There really is no way around it. We all have to edit.

So throw your manuscript on a jump drive, take it to Office Depot, print it out, put it in a three ring binder and buy a pack of red pens. It’s all part of the experience and once you get into it, it’s really not as bad as it sounds!

Okay, it IS as bad as it sounds, but it needs to be done!

Happy writing!

D

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