Sunday, February 25, 2007

Repetition and Over Editing

“There is repetition everywhere, and nothing is found only once in the world.” - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I got my final galleys for my "coming soon" Wild Rose Press release "Tickle Fights and Barbecues". Actually, I've gotten them three times, to check for typos and small changes I might like to make.

The final, final is sitting in my inbox right now. I had to take a day or two away from it, because I was seriously sick of looking at it. Please note: That isn't a reflection on the story but, sheesh, I've read through the blasted thing so many times. Three times as a galley, three times in edits from my wonderful editor, and uncountable times prior to submission. I could probably recite the thing from memory.

It makes me wonder how flat a bit of writing could get if we edit it to death. Sometimes when I'm editing (for instance, now with my Camilla story) I get a fresh new idea that breathes life into the scene. But other times, I've written and rewritten and area to death... did I edit all the freshness and life from it? I mean, it may not have passive voice, it may "show" like crazy and use all the senses... but does it have VOICE? Does it still speak to the reader?

It's hard for me because I've looked at it so much.

I suppose that's what (writing) friends are for and thank God for them.

What about you? When you edit, do you mostly add or subtract? I find that I write a little sparsely the first time through -- a lot of dialogue in places with no description and I have to let the reader know what the sam hill is going on. (Note... I had to look up the origin of "sam hill" after I used it ... click on the link if you're curious).

So... editing? Is too much a bad thing? How many times, on average, do you edit a document before you decide it's good to go? Do you mostly add or subtract?

Inquiring minds want to know.

1 comment:

Gay Walker said...

I add. Always add. Sometimes a little, sometimes a lot.

I'm a dialogue writer. When I wrote my "real" first draft... the gut pouring out, mindless pen across the page draft, it was about 95% dialogue. No action at all. My daughter got the giggles when I let her read it. I added a lot of narrative and description when I went back over it. I'm STILL adding narrative and description... grounding my characters in the scene, letting them eat, drink, breathe and hell, they can even kiss, hug and look at the scenery if they promise to behave while they are doing it, LOL.

For my first chapter, I think I revised it 434 times. Subsequent chapters are somewhere between 4 and 15... mostly closer to 4. It was hell getting the initial foundation worked out, ya know?

Now I'm adding some scenes, plot twists and such, that are adding life and substance, but that's not revising really... and it doesn't change much of what's already written, so I don't think that counts.

End of the first draft was 60,000 words. I'm at 81,000 now, and I've got a long way to go.