Tuesday, February 23, 2010

In Which I Take Precious Editing Time to Kvetch

I'm beginning to understand all the hair-pulling, *headdesk* frenzy over editing.

Sure, I've edited and revised stuff before, but nothing like I'm going through with "A Tender Touch."

I know "they" say to leave something alone for a while after you've written it, but I already had a lot of thoughts on what to add and subtract while I was finishing it up yesterday, and I figured I'd go ahead and do some of them before I forgot.

Then I decided I'd go ahead and tweak some more. And some more...

And now I have a raging headache, several hundred new words on the story, several hundred less old words, and still feel like I'm swimming upstream.

I've always enjoyed revision in the past, but this is tough! I'm guessing it's because it's a short story, not a novel, and all the emotion and plot-arcing and such that I'd normally have 200 pages to lay out are all being condensed into 6 pages.

I've only written one other short story, and it came out about 89% how I wanted it to look in the end. The editing process was minor and not painful.

This story came out about 60% where I want it.

NOTE: I just realized that it's 2:30 and I haven't eaten since 8:30. I'm thinking my headache may be hunger-related. I forgot food in favor of writing? Whoa! Does this make me a real writer? Maybe only if I'd been drinking gin instead...

Anyway. Another problem that I'm seeing is that usually in my short stories/microfictions, I'm just writing about ONE scene. In fact, most people suggest that for a short story, you write about the scene containing the climax, and only that.

Well. That just doesn't work for my story. I'm doing my best to keep it to just two scenes before the climax, but for the emotional development that's pivotal to the story, it's pretty tough.

Enough kvetching for now. I ate while typing this, and my head feels better already, so hopefully I'll finish banging out some edits, then let it rest for a while...

15 comments:

DL Hammons said...

The only experience I've had with editing a short story was when I took a story that was originally 2500 words and doubled the length to add more depth. It went fairly smoothly and once I was finished I was able to put it away and move on. I don't give my short stories near as much attention as I do my novels, or probably as much as they deserve.

Jen said...

Wow get something to eat!!! Sounds like it might help!!! Good luck editing... it sounds like a nightmare. I am not very good at short stories, I want to add so much depth and I never feel that I convey everything I would like!

Piedmont Writer said...

I've found the shorter the piece, the harder to edit. I always want to add more because, like you, I'm used to writing longer novels.

Take it slow, and the 'they' are right you know. That's why you let it sit for awhile, so you can immediately see, instead of trying to see, what to change.

Shelley Sly said...

My thoughts align with Anne's above (not on purpose, I'm not copying you! Hehe.) I used to jump right into editing while things were still fresh in my mind, but I found out later that what I really needed was to step back for a while.

What I do now is write myself a Post-It note (or two, or three) of things I want to change, and then I wait. It's been over a month since I finished my MS and I'm still giving it time. Even though short stories are shorter, they may need just as long of a wait time.

Crystal Cook said...

Ouch sounds painful! I am not looking forward to revising, I guess I need to change that or it will be a total nightmare! My sympathy's to you, but it will be great when you're done!

Girl with One Eye said...

Oh the blog fairy ate my comment...let's try this again. I agree, if you have good revision ideas by all means go ahead and edit. Otherwise, time will be your best friend. Try a month if you can. My first WIP I edited and revised after I wrote each chapter, big mistake. It's so tempting to do it before your finished but I recommend making notes and moving forward.

Falen said...

Ha! My headache today was also totally related to not eating! Crazy!
When i have revision ideas right after i finish a piece, i write them down in a notebook so i can come back to them after i let it rest. But that said i rarely let short stories rest (though i probably should)

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

Good luck. I'm almost done my first draft so I know my long days of editing and revisions are just around the corner.

Summer said...

Aw shucks, everyone's telling me the same thing. Bad Summer, bad!

But too late! I slogged through and finished my first round edits this afternoon, and sent it off to three friends for R&R (read and review, not rest and relaxation).

Definitely won't be looking at it again for a while, though!

Kimberly Franklin said...

I don't think I could write a short story, because I would just keep writing and then I'd probably be the first person to write a novel length short story. LOL. Good luck with your editing. And EAT! ; )

Tiffany Neal said...

Dude. You need a break. Take a vacation. My muse is gone...maybe you could go with her and then tell her to come home when you do...

Just a thought...

J. Kaye said...

Yes, it's probably lack of food. I am the opposite. When I edit, I eat non-stop. :(

Lisa and Laura said...

I'm a firm believer that you're not editing properly unless you have a burning desire to throw your laptop through a window about half way through. Edit on!

unique FONT said...

wonderful

Christine Danek said...

Good luck! I don't know if I could ever write a short story. So god bless ya. I have been doing this too. I just finished my novel yesterday (first draft) and I have been thinking about adding things already but I must resist.
Keep going and I'm glad you got some food:)