45 Days to Write...275 to Edit

March 12, 2012

It took me six times longer to edit my manuscript than write it.  Yes I wrote a book in 45 days, but for me writing a book is the easy part.  It's the editing that's a bitch.  I've written three books prior.  All of which took me WAY longer to write but with each one, it got a little easier.  None of which did I ever edit beyond the edit-as-you-go or a final cursory glance cleanup.

So many times you hear agents/editors preach to aspiring writers DO NOT submit your work too soon.  I remember how I wanted to send my first book out because I thought it was awesome. Hahahaha...excuse me while I pee my pants laughing at myself. (For the record, that first book will NEVER see the light of day.)  Instead of committing to the work of editing, I wrote another book. Then another. Then another. But it was that last book I approached differently.  I wrote without editing as I went along with the idea of editing once I was finished.  I also told myself THIS BOOK, come hell or high water, I'm going to query.  Even if it kills me.

So, I edited.  It took me three runs through it, just to get it to a strong second draft.  Then three or four more to make it an amazing second draft.  Then, when I thought it was ready to query, I edited it again.  Now, I have a solid-holy-cow-my-brain-hurts-third draft.  At this point, there is not much more I can do.  It is the best work I have and I'm proud to query it. Before, I was a bit leery about querying because I could still see a few flaws.  I wasn't ready.

Do I think some agent will swoop in and NOT have any edits for me.  No way.  I've read enough author acknowledgements that thank their agents/editors for bringing out the best writer in them.  Because agents and editors know how to make a good writer shine.

Editing is work.  Hard work.  Will I tweak my MS more? Probably.  Can any writer EVER let things be?  Heck, I've even heard published authors say they'd like to change X,Y and Z to their published book.  It's the nature of the beast.  But at this point, I want some time in between before I make go tinkering with it again.

I read recently from an agent's tweet (or in this case I think they were retweeting Natalie Whipple), and I paraphrase...Spend more time learning to be a better writer than focus on getting published.

That is exactly what I've been doing the last few years and why it's taken me THIS long to query.  Before, I was not good enough and I wanted to be a good writer so I didn't embarrass myself.   Now I'm looking for someone to believe in me and my work.

Before you submit, ask yourself, "Are you ready?"  If you hesitate, the answer is no. For the record, those who don't give up are called "authors."

My MS before editing.

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  1. You'll probabl hate me for this, but my dirty secret is that I actually enjoy editing, polishing and revising.

  2. yay, yay, yay!!! You go, girl! So happy, and I can't wait to read "the post". :)

  3. This is the beauty of NaNoWriMo for me. I can just power through the drafting so I can get into the REAL work. The fun of the revisions. :-)

  4. Oh....You're one of "those" people Mohamed. *glares" I will have to say, the reward of fixing a plot line is quite satisfying.

    Nicole! OLBFF! You're so sweet. And I can't wait to write "the post" too. ;)

    Jessica - Editing is "REAL" work and obviously I am in the minority not loving revisions but I DO love the outcome of all my hard work.

  5. It's so important to make sure you're ready before you query. I'm revising my first book and as anxious to get to the next step, I realize I have to make sure my book's good enough. Based on critique group feedback, I feel confident my book is query ready. I just have to await beta feedback and go through another revision round. But if I have even the smallest feeling that it's not ready, I won't query. It's so much more important to focus on becoming a better writer.

    Good luck!

  6. I love revising. It's like adding those defining brush strokes to a watercolor. I go through a boatload of drafts before I even dare to send to my beta readers so my original draft to revision ratio lists mightily to the revision side.


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