March 21, 2013 by Renee
For weeks I’ve been editing, or rather, rewriting, False Prophet. I want to be working on the half-dozen outlines or projects that need outlines, but instead I’m fixing the mess I made of this one. If I want to publish it after The Legend of Jackson Murphy, then I must polish it, right? This project has been a pain in my ass since I typed “THE END” on the rough draft. For months I tried to ignore it, because I knew the editing process would be horrific. The problem? This is the first novel that I worked on in pieces, by which I mean individual scenes or chapters written out of order. I usually begin at chapter one and move sequentially toward the end. Never do I flip back and forth and I NEVER write a scene out of sequence. I might make a couple of notes, but I don’t write the action until it takes place in the story.
Can I just say that anyone who does this all the time is either insane or brilliant? Not that there’s much difference between the two. I will NEVER do it again.
Why did I do it this time? Well, I was working on a couple of other things and False Prophet wasn’t an actual WIP for much of the time I was writing it. Problem was, it was outlined and now and then I’d dream a scene or one would pop in my head as I wrote something else, so I just wrote the damn scene, stuck it in the file and moved on until the next one bothered me enough to jot it down. When I finally sat down to write it, I had to insert said scenes into the narrative as I wrote. I’m not really sure what I was thinking when I did that.
Anyway, it’s made editing a nightmare. The entire manuscript pisses me off to be honest. Do you know, I’ve used the same damn name for the female protagonist in like three manuscripts? I took a mental holiday somewhere but didn’t get to enjoy it. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.
But then, every time I have to edit a rough draft, I’m beyond angry and irritable. At one point, I deemed In the Bones a giant cluster-fuck that would never see the light of day because I didn’t believe I could ever get the stink of awfulness off it. I was wrong, of course, as I am with every rough draft.
The bottom line is I’m not a fan of editing. I think the biggest reason I hate it is that I realize there is no natural ability in me to write smooth, fluid prose right out of the gate. Sure, it might not be in anyone, but that doesn’t make it okay in my mind. Sometimes I wonder if I was high while writing. I don’t recall getting high, but it’s the only way to explain some passages. I miss words, include incomplete sentences, thoughts, dialogue. Sometimes I even have characters that don’t belong. In False Prophet, there was a scene with a guy who just floated in for like three paragraphs, and floated back out, never to be seen again. WTF is that about? He’s not even in the outline! Where did he come from? I don’t even know. But he’s gone now. Infiltrating bastard.
Is there anyone out there that loves editing their rough drafts? Who are you and what kind of meds are you on? I’d like some please.
I guess I better get back at it. Tomorrow I’ll be stopping by Mallory Heart Reviews. Mallory has been kind enough to read and review In the Bones, so come with me to hear the verdict. On Saturday tag along with me for an interview at Andi’s Book Reviews, and on Sunday, see what a Crazed Mind thinks of In the Bones. Actually, it seems the appropriate place to visit. We can all go off our meds there. Good times.