Editing Will Make You Crazy


Editing. It is what we must all agreed to be a necessary evil. I am deep in the midst of a massive edit of my Historical ms, and it makes me nuts.

See, I got some crits back from a contest that said I was using too many “ings” and “lys” (gerunds and adverbs, if you listen to sfcatty). So I went through and edited them all out. I was ruthless. Totally without any ruth when it came to ings and lys. So I sent my lovely (argh, adverb! strike that!) nice new edited ms to another contest, expecting it to score higher, now that it wasn’t getting dinged for having ings and lys.

But I scored LOWER. All that work, no more ings and lys, just to lower my grade? Whassupwiddat?  Didn’t anyone notice the stellar lack of ings and lys?

You know what? I don’t think so. I think sometimes you get a judge who has an ing/ly fetish. Sometimes you get a judge who has kittens if you change POV more than once in a chapter. Sometimes you get one (sorry, sfcatty) who doesn’t know basic vocab for the genre you wrote.  And sometimes you don’t. Luck of the draw.

And so now I am going back through, editing not for ings and lys, not for headhops, or anything like that, but for what I (that would be me, the author, remember me?) wants this book to say. And maybe no one will ever read it.

Or maybe it will get published one day. Even with an ing and a ly here and there.

But the important thing is the inspiration. Here is today’s:

Yummy Tudor Hotness

Yummy Tudor Hotness!

6 Responses

  1. I think you have to have SOME gerunds and adverbs- a sprinkling, if you will. Our characters have to speak “real”- and we all use these words in everyday language. BE BOLD, Romance mama, Be Bold!

    Thanks for sharing Jonathan today. Very nice.

  2. Editing makes me grumble and chew on my bottom lip. Editing will make you think twice about writing. I’m so discouraged over my story I could just scream till I break a wine glass. I rework something and people still find things wrong. I’m like.. What the hell? Should I keep writing? because I must not be getting the big picture. The weight of the world sits on my damn shoulders.. with the phrase “What the F… ” lingering in my mind as I sit here and try to fix my damn mess. My shoulders are sagging.. from wanting to just cry.

  3. I *cannot* be trusted around broken glass when the editing is going bad! I am not responsible for my actions.

    I keep telling myself, “They said Valley of the Dolls was ‘painfully dull’, The Fountainhead was ‘badly written’, that Stephen King’s Carrie ‘wouldn’t sell’. ” A Wrinkle in Time was one of my very favorite books as a preteen and it was rejected 29 times! I can’t say that I am better than Madeline L’Engel!

    go to http://susiesmith13.tripod.com/id12.html and read about famous rejections.

    (Frankly, I think we keep writing because we are so much better at self-infliction of pain than finding some kinky person on Craigs’ List to do it for us!)

  4. I’m laughing through tears.. this doesn’t help… I am pmsing on top of this.. NOT a good day for me. grrrrrrrrrrr….. stomping around the office..

  5. Ok, Gothic, honey, deep breaths! We will get through it. We will sit together in Books A Million and sign autographs and laugh gaily about the old days when we wondered why we kept writing. I will call your Chateau in the Loire (or Coffee Plantation on Molokai, whatever) from my estate at Puddling Park in West Cheshire, where we are writing our next NYT best sellers, and ask if you want to fly to Pensacola for the 2025 Silken Sands!!!! Well, make that 2030. Can’t rush a fantasy.

    We do it because the characters are alive in our heads. And if I don’t let them come out and go dancing and play cards and hunt foxes sometimes, they start setting fires and carving their names on the braincells. They are a roiugh bunch, and I have to let them have some freedom.

    Seriously, despite everything, could you *not* write? I’ve always written. Never finished anything til I met y’all, but I’ve always had those people in my head. The only way for me to stay sane (and I know, this is not saying much in my case) is to let ’em come out and play.

    I say, why Barnes and Noble for crit work? Isn’t there anyplace where a writer can get a margarita in Mobile County??????

  6. Great post! I, too, have a tendency to kill all my -ings and -lys – it’s good to hear your experience with no one noticing the lack of them. It’s a great reminder to just write, and write well (though look out for too many of those lovely little weeds, and pluck them out).

    By the way, Donna, please sign me up for a coffee plantation on Molokai, too. That sounds delightful. Guess we’ll only ever see those dreams if we stick with the writing and (gulp) the editing. Best of luck to you all.

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