Monday, September 12, 2011

Live and Let Die

So for the past few weeks, I have barely written 500 words. This wasn’t a byproduct of a creativity drought or anything of the sort—I have stories I want to tell, yet obligations piling upon obligations, and finding time for the self and the muse becomes more and more burdensome. Needless to say, edits arrived, and I’ve been buried in them.

It’s somewhat unique to be in the middle of a serious edit on someone else’s manuscript and receive edits for one of your babies. I am immensely pleased overall with the changes suggested by my editor, Ruby Green, for today’s release. I feel she more than did her job, especially considering the story was such a short one. It’d be easy to do perhaps two rounds and say “good enough,” but she didn’t. And I’m glad, because I’m confident the product that hit the e-shelves was the best version of the story out there.

On the other hand, I received these edits while editing a new manuscript by an author with whom I was unfamiliar. I won’t go into details here, but needless to say, after completing edits for my release, completing the first markup on this assignment, and sending it back to the author, switching back into writing mode proved a little difficult. Often when I’ve been editing a project for some time, it’s hard for me to break from an editor mindset. I find myself second-guessing every word I put on the page. I suppose this experience was exacerbated by the fact that I had not only spent hours pointing out areas of concern in another’s work, but had my own short story picked apart (and well). Therefore, the issues I began seeing with each fresh word compiled to a point of “WTF was I thinking?!”

This sentiment was familiar, which likely contributed to it being short-lived. Here’s the thing: writing and editing, while related, are two completely different fields. If you try to merge them, it doesn’t work. There will be time for me to go back and apply the things I’ve learned over the past few weeks to current writing projects after the words are on the page. But worrying about how it sounds as I’m writing it won’t do anyone any good.

Rereading is important. Implementing things you’ve learned along the way is important. But you can only do these things if you manage to find the words in the first place.


DA Kentner said...

Ohh, I'm familiar with Ruby Green's editing prowess. She knows her stuff.
Which, of course, means I am going to have to read your story. =)

Kudos, Rosalie, for giving credit where credit is due.
I hope you return to writing soon!

Rosalie Stanton said...

Ruby's awesome. I kept telling her to lay it on me, because those who edit need good editors --editors who aren't afraid to say, "Hey, ummm, this ain't workin'. So if you thought you knew everything, think again!" I was immensely grateful to her, and since she has her hands on my next release (a novel-length WIP), I KNOW I'll be proud to have my name on that book. She did an amazing job.

I'm back in writing mode. My characters are being a little stubborn since they think I abandoned them, but slowly, they've started talking again.


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