IWSG: Overwhelmed by editing

A couple of weeks ago I talked about the benefit of a good edit. At the moment I’m editing a book I revived which I wrote about 4 years ago. I love this book, I love the characters and the plot is quite clever, but it needs a lot of work. In fact, it needs so much work that  I’m finding it all a bit overwhelming.

I’ve done one pass through the manuscript and there’s now red pen all over the place. I’m concerned that I’ve spotted inconsistencies and holes which I now have to plug up. I’m now working on the second pass, working out a scene plan to make sure it’s all in the right order and nothing is missing. I’m struggling with remembering what order things go in because the work has been somewhat sporadic. I may have to move scenes around as well as making corrections and this feels like a lot of work.

This is preventing me from just getting started. Once again my demon is back and is now saying ‘oh but this is all too much and Midsomer Murders is on the telly tonight. You’d better just watch that because you’ll never sort out this mess’.

InsecureWritersSupportGroupHowever I know the demon is wrong. As I said I love that book and really want to publish it so I know I will be able to sort it out, no matter how big a mess it is. I’ve had some positive feedback from people who have read it, but I’m still free to rewrite and move things around as much as I want. Yes it may be difficult and it may be tiring but I’m going to do it, so take that Mr Demon!

 I’m still very much an insecure writer, a card carrying member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, desperate for some support when times are tough – do you have any advice or tips on editing? Please share any confidence boosting words in the comments section below.

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12 thoughts on “IWSG: Overwhelmed by editing

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  1. You could try forgetting actual editing and concentrate on establishing a time-line. I do this on paper but I suppose there’s something fancy one can use. When creating the time-line just read through your ms as though reading someone else’s novel … Might help 🙂 once you know what happens when, editing should be easier.

    1. That’s really good advice, Anne, about a timeline. I re-read Rachel Aaron’s ‘2k to 10k’ once I’d started editing and realised I should have done the timeline first, before the red pen editing. D’oh! At least I’ll know for next time! Thanks for commenting.

  2. I think we may be related. Course, if you saw that problem on Scientific Adam and Eve, we are. So, what do we do? Accept that even editing can become tiresome, and we do need to take a well deserved break. And Midsomer Mysteries is a dang good show. That and George Gently deserved our undivided attention. Sorry, LM, that’s probably not the encouraging words you wanted to hear.

    When I’m really in trouble, I find reading a really good first chapter from the New York chapter excerpt site motivates me to turn our WIP into something equally exciting. Sounds easy, but it actually works.

    Happy IWSG.

    1. I agree wholeheartedly on the subject of Midsomer Murders and George Gently – both quality crime drama. I think you make an excellent point about giving yourself a break – this is something I’ve always struggled with. I’ll definitely bear in mind your point about reading a good first chapter. Something to get you thinking a bit differently I suppose. Thanks for the tip.

  3. The initial story is never the finished product. It takes time to get something ready for publishing, but you can do it, and when you do, you’ll be more than glad you did.

  4. The second book in my Klondike mystery series was like that…I didn’t enjoy writing it as much as book one (done during NaNo 2012) and I had severe doubts about it. I did some major revamping to ratchet up the action in a couple of places and felt a lot better. So far the reviews have been extremely good and I now know I’m not the best judge of my own work. LOL! Keep plugging away….

  5. Take it in small chunks. Say, “today I’ll redo these 2 chapters”, or 10 pages or whatever. Then you will be able to see progress and that demon will crawl back in his hole.
    Good luck!

    And my post is on my blogger page, not my wordpress page. *sigh* charitywrites.blogspot.com

  6. I’ve certainly been there. I hate rewriting like the plague and have once sent a book to the landfill rather than doing the work it required to be publishable. On the bright side, I rewrote it as a completely different and much better book.

    Hang in there, whatever you decide. IWSG members unite! 🙂

  7. Follow your gut–you love this story, so don’t give up on it. I’ve been there–where you feel like you need to practically rewrite everything from scratch. It’s worth the frustration. But, at the same time, you need breaks *for sanity* so don’t feel like you have to give up entertainment now and then:)

  8. Hi everyone, thanks for the great comments and support. In terms of timeline, I did this process a bit back to front and did a read-through and edit before I did a timeline – hmmm, I’ll know for next time! I completely agree that it will make my book stronger and better – I can already see it – and I certainly won’t give up!

    Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. As Storyteller5 said IWSG members unite!

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