Writing Wrongs

February 01, 2005

Iím editing this week. Wait. Hear the wind rustle the tree branches? Oh, no, it was simply a collective sigh of relief from my critique group, since when Iím editing, Iím not posting new stuff for them to read.

Anyway, back in May, I had a revelation about my first manuscript (Giddy). I even did a rough-cut edit on the novel. I hacked out 14,000 words. Granted, I added ~ 7,000 since during a revision for an agent, I removed the antagonistís point of view, and darn it all, I wanted it back in the story.

Then I stopped. I even printed out the first fifty pages for paper edits, but they just sat there as I pondered the wisdom of beating a dead horse. Anyone who has been involved with writing and writing communities knows what Iím talking about: those writers who canít let go of a manuscript.

They constantly revise, again and again, in an effort to perfect the story, without ever writing anything new. There are variations on this theme: the writer who is always planning, doing character workups, plotting, but never seems to get much written.

True, I have written three books since this first one, but when is the horse well and truly dead? Every few weeks, I think about the manuscript. I get the urge to dig in and revise. But ugh! +400 pages. And for what? Am I going to send it anywhere? It has, after all, been around the block. For my own personal satisfaction? To see if I can do it?

Then I saw a contest for a ten-page hook. Ten pages . . . hmm . . . I could edit ten pages without any ill effects. And I did. Yesterday. Now Iím pondering again. Certainly thereís a huge benefit to knowing whatís wrong with a manuscript and applying it to new ones. Might there also be a benefit in doing the grunt work of fixing a flawed manuscript? And doing it without destroying all that I love and think is good about the story?

And without falling into that trap of beating a dead horse?

Iím not sure. But Iím pondering.

Charity Tahmaseb wrote at 11:51 a.m.