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.
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.