Monday, February 28, 2011

How To Make Editing Fun

I've set myself a goal.  I want to be finished editing this book by the end of next month.  So that means I officially have 31 days (not counting today) to redraft, rewrite, re-tweak, rephrase, reword and rework my baby until it's bewdiful.

But there's a small problem.

It's boring. 

The editing, not the book.

Well not so much boring as labour intensive.  It's hard work.  Much harder than just gushing out the first draft.  I'm on a seek and destroy mission for passive sentences.  I'm tracking down speech tags and obliterating them.  I'm hacking off flabby, superfluous parts that don't move the story forward and I've got my two main characters under the harsh, unforgiving spotlight of my interrogating room, firing questions at them and banging my fist on the table when their answers aren't good enough.  Like I said, it's hard work and it's not even burning off any calories!

Being the creative type, I thought to myself: there must be a better way.  An easier way.  A way to make it fun.  Cue Julie Andrews:

Unfortunately I'm a bit like Michael and I just can't seem to click my fingers!

So I came up with a list (in case you've forgotten, I'm big on lists).  I could:

1. Hire someone to do it for me (great idea except I can't afford it)
2. Send it in as is (I mean those hardworking gals at M&B hq deserve a laugh every now and then don't they?)
3. Pull on my Big Girl Pants and just get on with it
4. Pretend I'm editing someone else's work - especially someone famous and then I could scoff at all the silly mistakes and feel better about myself because if Sandra Bullock can make a rookie mistake like including dialogue tags then there's still hope for me.   Isn't there?
5. Pretend the book has already been accepted and I just need to finish these edits before it can go to print
6. Pretend that once it's finished George will turn up on my doorstep and be so utterly impressed by my willpower that he will whisk me away somewhere dreamy to celebrate
7. Ask my Mum to do it for me
8. Ask my dog to do it for me
9. Set up a website like those ones where that woman had all those debts and she asked everyone to donate $1 so she could pay all her bills - except I could ask everyone to just do one correction eg just spot passive sentences and someone else could correct them and someone else could fix my punctuation and so on
10. Continue to find new and outrageous ways to ignore my edits and waste what precious time I have left until my deadline
11. Set a new deadline and then just keep setting a new deadline each time I come close the last one
12. Reward myself with little things each time I finish a chapter (eg shoes, chocolate, champagne, more shoes, a holiday, a massage, more shoes, a Bentley etc)
13. Build a shrine to the patron Saint of writers and pray that all my edits will be mysteriously finished for me
14. Write a computer program that edits books for you.  Then retire on all the money I make from selling the program to Microsoft
15. Start a newspaper column where I publish a chapter each week and ask readers to write in with editing suggestions
16. Start a writer's course called Learn To Edit and give each student a chapter of my book and editing it will be their major assignment
17. Start a new religion where the founding tenet is that editing is a bad, bad thing
18. Bribe some models and celebrity A-listers to start a fashion that editing is a bad, bad thing
19. Visit a hypnotherapist and ask them to brain wash me into believing that editing is the Best Thing Evah!
20. Ask Byonce, Jason Derulo, Bruno Mars and Ne-Yo to write me a theme song to motivate me to get off my big fat dupa and JUST DO IT!!

Obviously some of these are doable and other are well......not so doable.  How do you make your editing process more fun or are you just resigned to the fact that it's like cleaning your oven (you put it off as long as possible but after a while you just can't ignore that smell so you pull on your big a*# gloves and haul out the Mr Muscle and get to it)?

Any additions to the list are most welcome.


Lacey Devlin said...

Happy editing! You know that deep, deep, DEEP down you love it :)

Elissa Graham said...

So deep that it's like it's not even in me? Yeah, that's about right.

Lacey Devlin said...

LOL! Remember, editing is half of the whole being a writer thing :-P

Lacey Devlin said...

My verification word was cowbell... Do you think it's hinting at something?

Elissa Graham said...

No wonder I come across as being so shallow - I'm only half a writer!

And as for that verification - well Mad Cow Disease would certainly explain alot.

Thanks for making me laugh, Lacey, it's always appreciated!