After a lot of procrastination, I have finally started editing ‘Peeling Layers’ (working title of ‘Lizzy & Michael I‘).
Embarking on this project is like familiarising myself with uncharted territory. Compared to writing a first draft, I found the editing process is a very long, very slow ‘slog’. In the three or so weeks since I started this process, I found myself still dissecting each section and agonising over every word choice of page 8. Compared to being able to write about 2-3 pages of first draft in the course of an hour, this agonisingly slow process has, at times, aggravated the hell out of me.
Another issue I’ve had to overcome during this process was starting the story in media res, as many writing tips and literatures have suggested. With this in mind, I have had to discard the first 20 pages (yes, you read correctly… twenty pages!) of the original manuscript and start the first section of the book with a life-changing event for the main character. I had had my dose of denial; had quite a lot of occasions where my mind screamed ‘I-don’t-wanna’. I had walked away from the computer and stubbornly clung to the belief that the first 20 pages of my book were relevant before I finally ripped the band aid. And afterwards, it had taken me quite a long time to be at peace with this decision; to convince myself that I have done the right thing, and that ‘Peeling Layers’, in the end, would be a better book because of this process.
I also found that I am at my most creative when I write using pen and paper. With this in mind, I had entertained the thought of rewriting the whole ‘Peeling Layers’ using this method; a prospect that was both enticing and daunting. Enticing, because maybe, just maybe, the slow slog of the editing process would be that much faster; that in two weeks time, I would be staring at page 30 rather than page 8. On the other hand though… seventy-thousand-or-so words would require a significant amount of paper. Considering that I have to go over the manuscript and edit over and over, I am quite scared on the mountains of papers I would end up with by the time I reached the fifth, tenth, or thirtieth revision.
This is indeed the way editing processes work, I have been assured. It will get easier, I have been told further. Most importantly, it is something that every writer has to do to get their manuscript from first draft to final draft. With that in mind, there is no other choice than to persevere, hoping that with lots (and lots!) of practice, I’ll eventually find the editing process less tedious and more enjoyable; hoping too, that by the time I have to edit my fourth or fifth novel, I would have found that secret formula to edit in a much quicker, more effective method.
Have you ever had to edit a big chunk of written work (either yours or someone else’s)? How do you like the editing process? Do you have a particular editing method you can share? Leave your comment below – would love to hear your experiences.