Editing is the Worst Thing Ever

Is there anything quite as beautiful as writing the first draft of a story?

Every moment is primed with intrigue, wonder, and mystery.

You just paint everything on the metaphorical canvass as you see it in your mind’s eye. Ideas pour forth from you like a soda fountain filled with Mentos

You pat yourself on the back for every clever line, every twist and turn, every unique character.

Then, once the dust has settled, you must look back on your writing….

And realize that literally everything is horrible.

There are plot-holes everywhere, nobody’s motivation makes sense, the action is either too slow or too fast, the plot is too predictable or disjointed. The list goes on and on.

The worst part is realizing you’re actually going to have to fix this crap.

All it takes for your hard work to be torn asunder is the word “why.”

Why didn’t they just do this? Why didn’t they do that? Why didn’t he ask her this? Why didn’t she stay at home instead?

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You will have to answer these questions and many, many more 😀

Not only that, but you may have to remove some of your favorite sequences in order for the new continuity to make sense. That means hacking away at that razor sharp dialogue and those gorgeous descriptions, leading you to meander down a road rife with uncertainty.

Well…you could ask someone to be your beta reader and get their opinion, but then they may question your literary genius.

You can’t have that.

But really there’s nothing for it.

It’s just another stumbling block on the road to success, or, as is often the case with writing, another mine in a minefield of never-ending despair and disappointment.

Perhaps in between drafts you should take a break. Let it sit for a while and then come back to it when it’s had time to cool. Then you can turn your keen eye to the festering pile of dung that is your first draft with a clear perspective and can dispose of it accordingly.

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Regardless, I think this may be one of the hardest parts of writing. Besides… everything else.

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13 thoughts on “Editing is the Worst Thing Ever

  1. Editing is the worse thing ever! I once wrote maybe like 5 pages. Then I reread it and went “Wait, what? What kind of transition is that? Where’s the rest of this sentence? Okay that plot point makes NO SENSE. What was I thinking?” What I do (since I hate editing) is write a few pages, then I go back…and color code. Red is anything that just needs to go bye bye. Green is stuff that needs to be fixed (like edited whether the wording is weird, needs elaborated on, etc.) Purple is the stuff that I’m not sure about. Is this needed? Does it move the plot forward or make it stall? Editing sucks but after you do edit, it’s amazing to look at it and think it’s beautiful…of course until you reread it again (for the fourth time) and edit it…for the tenth time.

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  2. I believe beta readers, honest beta readers, are crucial to the writing process if your goal is to produce a story people will care enough about to read from start to finish. Even so, I wouldn’t subject any beta reader to a first, or even a second draft. My own experience has been that the first edit is the most onerous, but each successive edit/re-write is easier and more satisfying — even enjoyable. If that’s you I hear laughing, I understand your skepticism, but I wouldn’t lie to you. 🙂

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    1. It really depends for me. I’ve had my beta read a few first drafts I’ve written, just to get her input on what ideas I should focus on and which I should probably lay by the wayside. I have a habit of being an egg-polisher so if I wait too long I usually end up paralyzing myself with doubt.

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  3. So true!😄
    If writing the first draft is fun (which it’s not all the time,) then revising it (not twice, not thrice, but more) is an absolutue humdrum or even torturous at times.
    There had been times when, while revising, I just wanted to throw away that story and weave a new one instead. But yeah, I don’t do that; after all, I have spent my time writing it for the first time. And when some first drafts are also perfect (which is rare) and don’t need much adjustment, can a writer ask for anything more than this luxury?😍

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  4. Hahaha oh I love this post SO much. I’m rewriting one of my WIP at the moment and I’m SO dreading the moment when I’ll be done and will finally have to read the whole thing and edit the tiny little bit incoherent things. It scares me SO much haha. Writing is so much fun, I wish it was always as fun as the first draft ahah 🙂

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