Doubt, Editing, Writing

Scissors and tape, if that’s what it takes!

So yeah, I’m writing this novel, and the words are flowing fairly steady, but there’s a problem. As I’m writing, my inner editor keeps saying things like:

“That scene doesn’t fit here. Remember what happened in chapter five—or was it nine?”

“Are you sure that character’s emotional response rings true at this point in the story?”

“All right, but if you keep that brilliant bit you just wrote, you’ll have to revise the subplot.”

I type her jabs into comments in the manuscript, and then I tell myself to keep writing and deal with those problems later. And I do keep writing, but all her jabs accumulated back there in the dark recesses of later, and started haunting me. A few nights ago, I woke myself worrying I might not be able to sort this book out. What if it’s too discombobulated to fix?

Then my inner cheerleader said:

“Oh pish posh, you can do it! You’re a WRITER! Remember how you had to cut and tape together your last novel? Rah, rah, sis boom bah!”

Wait! What was that about cutting and taping? I did that? Yes I did, but I’d completely forgotten. Have you ever heard a writer compare the process of writing and publishing a book to pregnancy and birth? To continue that analogy, after you have your bundle of joy book in your hands, you tend to gloss over the worst parts of getting to that point.

Indeed, I’d forgotten there was a point in editing The Brevity of Roses where I printed it out and then sat down with scissors and tape organize some of the scenes, and even paragraphs, in better order. I couldn’t seem to accomplish that scrolling back and forth on the computer. My manuscript was a chopped mess for a while, but I worked it out. Rah, rah and all that jazz!

I hope none of you have to resort to scissors and tape, but if you do, take heart. You can fix it. You’re a WRITER!

8 thoughts on “Scissors and tape, if that’s what it takes!”

  1. The main part of this post that I heard is that YOU ARE WRITING ANOTHER NOVEL. And the words are flowing. I’m soooooo excited! Yes, listen to the cheerleader. That inner editor lady can hold her horses until you’ve finished. 🙂

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  2. Hi Linda! Wanted to see what you were up to. And yes, in the past I’ve had to use scissors and tape and a whole room to sort things out. At the moment, though, after compiling a list of all those little comments I made while reading the ms over (and I have pages and pages of them), I am just addressing them one by one. And I am loving it. Not only can this kind of revision be done in short bursts, but each time I go in to “fix” something, I discover a new opportunity.

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    1. Glad to see you, Cynthia. 🙂 Your method sounds like the way I do it, and yes, I often find myself changing more than what I’d highlighted. I love editing, actually, and never completely resist doing it as I write the first draft. Just talking about editing makes me want to finish this draft faster. 😉

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