Editing, Why Art Thou Cruel?

I bite my thumb at you, Editing. I bite my thumb at you.

I really hate how you’ll look at your novel and go, “Oh my goodness, this is perfect!” and have a little party with yourself or whatever, and then you send it off to your friends to edit, and they send it back with all those friendly red marks all over it, and you’re like:

… And the worst part is that your friends are right about all those friendly red marks that are so prevalent, it looks like your manuscript was just attacked by an ax murderer.

How in the world did I miss all of that? Like, really, these things should have been obvious! (Kind of like how I just learned this past week that there’s a difference between Past Perfect Tense and Passive Voice. How did I not know that?)

So now I’m desperately going through edits and revisions of my novel in hopes that it’ll be ready to go (again) by the time we leave for the Writer’s Digest Conference in a couple of weeks, and I’m kind of freaking out that it won’t be ready on time, and yeah.

Deep breaths, Julia. Deep breaths.

At least these edits have less to do with your-plotline-sucks and you-need-to-completely-rewrite-this as much as you-don’t-know-how-to-use-Past-Perfect-Tense (which is the majority of them). But I am still freaking out because my mom and I have gone through this novel a thousand and one times ourselves and never caught these things.

Anybody have any interesting revising stories or tips? I’m all ears. 🙂


19 thoughts on “Editing, Why Art Thou Cruel?

  1. Oh, crap, that reminds me.

    Paradox. Is. Still. Not. Done. *bangs head repeatedly against table/wall/other-hard-surface*

    I’m so close – and yet so faaaaaar!


  2. If it makes you feel any better about this, think of all the books out there which are a load of sugar-coated crap. And then think about how much better your stuff is! If pointless junk can be successful, why can’t your polished amazing-ness be successful too? ;D


    • Check the link in my post — it explains about it. For some reason I’ve always been convinced that using “had” was like passive voice, but then I got Kira’s revisions and she’d inserted in about 2,000 of them (I’m not exaggerating), so I looked it up online, and it turns out she was right.

      Get off the internet, TheLooker23. Get off the internet. 😉


  3. When you edit its like shifting into a sadist mode where you choke, cut, massacre what you thought was fantastic writing. Hard, hard…but it always leaves behind a lesson, and the more you edit, the lesser lessons you have to learn. Nice post, btw.


  4. I’m sure you’ll be able to get your editing done in time! But know how you’re feeling.

    Here’s a tip: Have as many ADULTS as possible – who are good at writing and picking up mistakes – look at your manuscript. Your mom, your English teacher, your neighbor who was an English major, your aunt who reads a LOT, etc. I find that these people are more likely to pick up on things than other writers my age. Not to say some of my friends don’t give me great suggestions and edit really well. But most of the teens I know would rather say “that’s great”, mark in a few red commas, and go back to playing video games.


    • I just made it to my page goal for today (100 in! Only 215 to go!), so hopefully you’re right. I’m still kind of panicked, though, because I want to do a line-by-line, myself, after I finish this, and I have finals the week of the conference, along with way too many theatre rehearsals to be healthy.

      Good point about getting adults — my mom helped me a TON with rewriting over the summer, picking out awkward sentences and plot points that needed explaining. She does technical writing as a part of her job, so she knew how to be really thorough, whereas I was kind of just like, “Why does it matter why Blah-Blah-Blah does This-or-That as long as she’s DOING it?” Mom made sure there was always a purpose behind the actions.


  5. At least line edits, like changing tenses, are quicker to implement than full plot changes! I’m starting the second draft of my novel, after a wonderful (but epic) critique group session this fall, and most of my revisions will deal with the character’s development, which certainly will affect how the plot rolls along. That being said, I’m a big fan of revision. After the first draft, I love looking at the mess of words and getting really clear about what the story’s about, and then revising to fit that vision. It’s so worth the time.


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