Writing, editing . . . it’s all ongoing. I don’t know if it’s a symptom of NaNoWirMo to just start adding words so I could make the word count, but going through my novel I’ve found thing that were really in need of a shave. Or, in some cases, out-and-out decapitation.
The art of writing is something of a violent endeavor. You labor to produce a piece, and that’s often fraught with the pain of trying to find the right things to say, or the need to slam words onto the page so you can get your story told. Then you go back over said work and start cutting and mending your words, because the chances are very good your first draft came out in less than perfect condition. And when that is finished, there’s a very good possibility you’ll have to look over your manuscript once last time and throttle the story one last time.
Then you hand it all over to an editor who might just euthanize the whole project.
I’m discovering editing is a whole ‘nother beast. Yes, there is still writing going on, but it’s of such a different form as to be a bit alien. I’ve re-worked a bit of Part One of my novel, and I’m now doing the same thing with Chapter 8 of my NaNo Novel–I mean, the very first paragraph almost made me cringe, it was that clumsy. The edit is forcing me to see just how good my first draft is, but it is also making me see how that first draft, good as it might be, still needs love to make it better.
I find this “look hard at your first draft” feeling filtering over to my current work in progress. I’m only getting off about 500 words a night with the story, but I’m watching what I’m writing so very carefully. I tend to do that when I’m starting a story. Even if I know where the story is going I’m slow to get it started. Then it seems like I hit a point where all the background is out of the way–and for this story there is background that needs to be included–I can fly. I was starting to hit that grove last night when I came to a part that requires me to go into some background, and I decided I would tackle that later today, because that’s not something to write while I’m tripping on lack of sleep.
Does this mean my days of cranking out 1200 words an hour are over? Probably not. But when it comes to getting started, I’m sure the going will be just a little more . . . deliberate.