Of Taun-tauns and Editing

There’s a scene in The Empire Strikes Back where Han Solo cuts open a Taun-taun to stuff Luke into it and by doing so, save his life.  At one point, Han drapes himself across the beast, his efforts exhausting him, and proclaims, “And I thought they smelled bad from the outside!”

That’s exactly how I feel about this editing phase.

There I am, draped across my manuscript, proclaiming, “And I thought this was hard on the writing side!”

And it was.  But it was also fun.  I could just let the words flow, let the characters run rampant and do what they may, giggling insanely when they did something clever, cussing like a sailor when they did something unexpected and left me to deal with the mess.  I didn’t give a fig for how my sentences were structured, how many nasty adverbs snuck into my prose, or the fact that I used the same phrase or word six times in one paragraph.  It didn’t matter.  All that mattered was getting the story down.  Start to finish.

Then came the re-writing, which was still fun because I got to flesh out some scenes, add others, fine tune my characters and my plot and make the story grow.

Then some more re-writing.  The fun began to wear thin.  I’m not sure how many “re-writes” there were.  I didn’t keep track.  But finally, finally, I thought I was close to being done.  For real.

Then. . . . <cue music> light saber, Taun-taun, guts spilling out in a stinky pile.  Too many adverbs.  Too many statives.  Don’t you know how to use a comma correctly?  How many times can you repeat the same word in one paragraph? Do you not own a Thesaurus?  Try opening it once, will ya?   Weasel words, running rampant, whack them!  Whack them all!  See this?  This is your favorite sentence in the whole work.  You thought it witty, or poignant, or sublime, and felt positive everyone would remember this one line, if nothing else.  Trash it.  It doesn’t work.  It’s gratuitous, and flowery, and full of nothing but your ego.  Kiss it goodbye.

Eep!

But, when the sun rose, Han waved in the rescuers and all was good.

And, when the sun rises on the other side of this editing, I’ll be popping a cork.  Not only to celebrate its completion, but to rejoice in the fruits of my labor when I realize where it started and what it’s become.

I have my very first, very rough draft.  I plan on reading it when I’m completely finished.  It will, most likely, throw me into fits of hysteria.

So, ROW80  goals?  Still pretty much on target with where I was Sunday.  Check out all the other ROW80 participants on the ROW80 Blog Hop.

Write on!

23 Comments:

  1. Sounds like good progress to me. I can’t wait until it’s available for readage!

  2. Loved this post. I’m smiling. Not only because it was somewhat amusing, but also because you seem to be EXACTLY where I am. Only I had my mishap with Scrivener (it’s my ignorance, not Scriveners fault – I tried to move a few scenes into another chapter by click and drag. Instead, they vanished along with everything I dragged over. I really should read the instructions 😛 ) So the only headway I’ve actually made is to go over (and Over) four chapters. I feel your pain. But like you say, it’ll all be worth it. If not I really will run screaming into traffic 🙂

    • Ah. . . now I see how you lost the work in Scrivener! Grrr. I didn’t read the instructions for a while either. I like to fumble around in the dark first, telling myself I’m smarter than it is and I can figure it out on my own. LOL After swearing at it a few times I broke down and went through the tutorial. Made things sooooooo much easier.

  3. K.L., I feel your pain!

    But editing is soooo important – good job whipping out the light-saber and getting in there!

    Following from the ROW80, and wishing you a productive week,

    Best,
    Edward
    http://read-write-listen.blogspot.com
    http://twitter.com/E_H_Carpenter

  4. I’d pop the bottle at the editing phase… gotta get through it somehow? Just work with a team and have the designated Grammar Nazi on hand…

  5. My how you’ve grown! Writing is, indeed, the easy part. Most aspiring writers never make it through a finished first draft. Of those, only a similarly small percentage slog completely through the editing process. Complaining about it is encouraged; skipping it, ain’t. Welcome to the minority.

    • Hmm…at least I’m in good company. Scarey thing is, I like it. Well, most days. Although I think I should get a bumper guard for the days I’m banging my head against my desk…

  6. I feel your pain (really I do); I tend to re-write and re-edit a scene (or several) every time I sit down to write -makes me feel a little at ease when I know I’ve worked on them before starting something fresh.

    I love your writing style -and despite your qualms you have a very witty & humorous outlook. Great job on the article and your goals!

    • Thanks. 🙂 I used to be a terrible re-writer — well, actually, I was good at it, did it all the time, to the exclusion of ever finishing anything! LOL I’ve pretty much recovered. I think.

  7. Taun Tauns! Perfect analogy – I am trying to muck through the guts of an edit too, so I feel your pain and smell the same rank stench. Press on, daylight’s coming!

  8. I LOVE this post. So true about edits. And I think I’ll forever compare edits to that scene (which is one of my favorites btw).

    Keep on going! You’re doing awesome. 😀

  9. This post is so well-written, I can’t wait to read your WIP!

    Congratulations on your progress and your growth. It’s been delightful to follow. 🙂

  10. You had me laughing out loud. Oh, don’t I know those sentences which at first write, they are my most favorite. Then by the editing stage I see how over-the-top they are! A writing teacher of mine called sentences like that “Little Darlings.”

    I’m not a fan of the editing stage either, even though I’m a freelance editor! I think it’s so much harder to do it for yourself, it’s like smacking yourself in the brain over and over.

  11. Hi, thanks for following my blog! I hope my editing checklist series provides you some comfort, then. 😀 Good luck!

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