Why editing is like moving



I hate moving.

I hate everything about moving, the search for boxes, the endless sorting, the losing of things you need and the finding of things you don't want. Packing, unpacking, I hate it all. But there's one phase of moving that I hate more than anything else.

The fiddly-bits part.

You know the fiddly-bits part. You're almost done Your house is starting to empty, all your boxes are neatly packed and sorted, with labels so you know what room they belong in and what's in them. (Because you're obsessive like that.) You're feeling pretty good, pretty accomplished.

And then you look around. And surrounding you, scattered over your house, is all this...stuff. Things that didn't fit into a neat category, so you left them for last. Small things that were under couches and chairs. Papers you can't throw away, but don't know what to do with. Random fondue sets.

Okay, I might be alone on the fondue set. But the point is, all the big stuff is done. You can see the end. But between you and the end is all this little stuff. And--as if you were the punchline in some great cosmic joke--dealing with the little stuff takes SEVENTEEN TIMES LONGER than the rest of the move.

Editing is like that.



I don't hate edits, in fact I love them. Doing this intensive first round has been like taking a master class in storytelling. Working out these problems has taught me more about the kind of writer I am than almost anything else I've ever done.

But now I'm in the fiddly-bits part. All the little notes I've been making to myself through this process  (check the timeline, expand this dialogue, describe this more, etc) are coming back to haunt me. I have three more characters clamoring for better scenes and a couple of transitions to smooth out. I'm so close to done I can see it.

Which of course means this part is taking forever. But that's okay, because sometimes writing is like that. Sometimes there is no big motivation, no big inspiration, there's just you, in the chair, doing one little thing at a time. Getting it done.

Of course, like this comic from Jim C. Hines, you could find other motivation....



Anyway, it's better than moving, right?

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Fabric art in the header by Carol Riggs.