Hi, I’m Carissa, and it’s been …5 minutes since I prematurely edited my story.
I’m in this silent war with my document. I want to erase a couple of scenes that I wrote hastily and in the wrong voice. I know deleting is a no-no, and it’s a habit that I NEED to break so that I can move forward with my manuscript, but as you can see, I’m here telling you about how hard it is instead of writing. 😉
Here are some notes-to-self that I’m writing down to stay on track:
- You don’t know what the final product will be yet, obviously. So don’t make a dumb decision without all the information.
- A book is like that really cliche picture of an iceberg, where you see a little on top, but it’s a mountain underneath the surface. There is so much to your world and your story that the reader doesn’t know. This is necessary to make it complete and complex. Complexte (come on, we’re writers, we get paid to make up words…hahaha…we WISH we got paid for it).
- When you start taking things out, it’s like a gateway drug to even more destructive editing. Once you start nipping and tucking, you’ll keep going until it all feels fake, because editing too early changes the overall outcome. Let your story age naturally and you’ll end up with something organic, with a real history and REAL characters, which leads to:
- You need to leave something raw in your characters. Later, it can be cleaned up in perspective of the whole picture. But that is for the purpose of a well crafted story, not to make the characters perfect or to make them sound perfect. Do you see the difference? One is done to make the book read as a whole, one is done out of self-doubt before anyone else can tell you if it was good or not!
- There is a huge chance that if you edit to quickly, you will not finish the manuscript. If you let yourself second-guess and take things out, there’s nothing to prevent you from taking one step forward and two steps back until you’ve given up on your story. Which has been happening to me.
That’s why I’m here. At PEA. Because I have a problem, and I can admit I have a problem. So join me at premature editor’s anonymous and say a prayer:
God, grant me the Serenity, to accept the things I shouldn’t change about my writing…at least, not yet.