Best Blogger Tips The Never-Ending Edit...HAS ENDED! (For now...) | Katie Dale

Friday, 5 November 2010

The Never-Ending Edit...HAS ENDED! (For now...)

Phew! Hi! Remember me?

Actually, I hardly do - it's been so long since I've surfaced from the swamp of paper, red pens, computer files to do - well - anything...

 - Look in the'd I get so pale?

- Stand on the scales...Eek! (Editing is definitely bad for diets - all that mental agility and slogging doesn't actually burn off all that chocolate "brain food"- shocker!)

- Twitter...I've lost so many followers! :(

 - Clean the house...I had a massive tidy today (it had really gotten THAT bad!) and found a letter from my bank saying if they didn't hear from me by the end of September, they were going to close my account.


I feel like I've been grounded for the past eight weeks, dropped off the face of the earth - it's been murder on my social life, my exercise routine, and I haven't been shopping in eight weeks!

But good (hopefully!) for the book - and that's the important thing.

For once it goes to print...there'll be nothing more I can do...

And that thought scares me silly.

That's why I've become a bit obsessive, devoting all my time and energy, poring over every word, every scene, tweaking and polishing til my keys are rubbed raw...

Actually, I'm a believer in the neverending edit. That may sound like a writer's worst nightmare - and in many ways it really is. It can be quite obsessive, but I each time I read something I've written I want to change it, tweak it, phrase that sentence or more - take out or add entire chunks...

I do worry sometimes that too much editing is actually counter-productive. I got quite obsessive over one new scene and spent two days constantly changing it until finally I realised that the best version was the one I'd started with. Distance is, of course, vital for perspective - sometimes you can't see the shape of the story for staring at the individual words, and it's only after stepping back for a bit that you discover what you've written isn't necessarily what you think you've written - especially by draft 15 or so! Sometimes they can be scarily different!

I'm relieved to discover I'm not the only one. Teri Terry wrote about how Mal Peet (winner of the 2009 Guardian Children’s Fiction Award for Exposure) feels the truth about writing novels is that you never finish one, and he never feels a wonderful sense of closure, but is an obsessive fiddler.


That's why, the night before D-Day, I decided I should have just one more read-through...and consequently didn't send off the ms 'til my body finally ceased functioning at 5.30am  (Thank GOODNESS for email!)

Now I feel a bit dizzy. Drafts still linger stacked by my computer, as if confused to be suddenly abandoned after so much attention; every time I open my laptop I am irresistibly drawn to open the 'Footprints' folder - it's like it's become part of my routine - my muscle memory - it's so weird to suddenly be released from the pressure that's being weighing down so heavily for the past two months...

I've resisted (so far) reaching for said drafts to have just one more read-through, just to check everything, just while the editors are reading...

Stop it! Distance, remember?

Luckily I have other projects to take its place - new deadlines! After all, a change is as good as a rest, and you can't get much more removed from angsty teenagers than fairy-tales, can you? From 100,000 word novels to 1500 word funny rhymes - I'm so lucky to be able to do both!

And now the pressure's off a bit and the house is tidy, I can finally kick back and relax a bit - catch up on 7 episodes of Downton Abbey and weeks of Neighbours (thank you Demand Five!)

And I may have missed Halloween, but this weekend it's fireworks night and I can actually go out and enjoy it! I can go shopping again! And read books - books for fun, not research - books, not A4 typed pages covered in red scrawl -


My shiny copy of Tamsyn Murray's 'My So-Called Afterlife' has been gleaming, neglected, on top of my TBR pile by my bedside table for FAR too long - so long she's brought out a sequel and written a third! - and now I can't WAIT to dive in...

But first I'd better go visit my bank manager...


MC Rogerson said...

Congratulations! Go enjoy yourself - you've deserved it!

katie dale said...

Thank you! :)I had a wonderful relaxing weekend - lots of fireworks and treats! Hurray!

Now back to work...


Post a Comment

My Blog List

Read Chapter 1

Copyright Katie Dale 2009. Powered by Blogger.Designed by Ezwpthemes .
Converted To Blogger Template by Anshul .