Editation: n. The elevated mental state of a writer while she edits her novel. If you disturb Suzanne during her editation, she will lose her focus.
I. HATE. EDITING. It’s one of the worst parts of writing…well, at least for me. Some writers (Marie, and my writer friend Sara, for instance) actually enjoy this process. Maybe it’s because I hate redundancy, or maybe it’s the long, grueling hours without much to show for it. Unlike first drafts, one doesn’t have the pleasure of seeing their word count grow considerably at the end of their writing session during the editing process. However, I’ll soon be back at that grindstone, because Marie is finishing up the final scene of the third draft today.
Actually, editing reminds me a lot of when our family remodeled our house when Marie and I were in high school. We had just moved to a new town, only to realize that our new house wasn’t in as good of shape as the previous owners had told us it was. So…we ended up moving into a tiny hotel room (with two adults, three teenagers, a dog, and a very grumpy cat) for three months while we made our house livable. Like a remodel leaves the general structure of the house intact, so editing doesn’t change the main points of the manuscript. It’s just the fluff–the dangling participles, superfluous plot threads/characters, the dull dialogue–that has to go (or, to use the remodeling analogy, the repainting, sheet-rocking, and drywalling).
Novels-in-progress aren’t the only things that need editing. Just as Marie and I noticed the problems that have plagued Poisoned and kept it from being the book it’s supposed to be, so sometimes the great Author will see something in our lives that needs to be fixed. Maybe it’s an unforgiving spirit, or a bad habit to be broken, or the wrong kind of music, or any number of things. “Editing”, whether it be for a book or real life, is not fun, though often needful. Although editing can be a painful process (for the editor AND the editee), keep in mind that our Editor has our best interests at heart.