Saturday, May 30, 2009

The perils of editing

One of the problems I have with editing is that nothing is ever perfect from an artistic standpoint. Thus, I can read the same passage five times and find five things to tweak. Five more rereads will find five more tweaks. Eventually, the odds of a tweak fixing things is so slim that I would be better off buying lotto tickets, but I still find things that could be improved. Of course, given the ease of editing an electronic document, my modus operandi is to make the tweak as I see it, so I don't forget it.

The trouble is that when I've been away from something for more than a few days, I need to reread the section before to get back in the swing of things. Which means I see things that need to be tweaked. This leads to days like today, where I wrote for nearly four hours and wound up only getting five hundred new words on the page. Of course, I tweaked at least five scenes, adding, removing, or otherwise changing an average of a hundred words each.

Which is a sorry word count for that much time spent, but I did at least get back in the groove once I got writing.

On a completely different topic; is it unrealistic for someone to have a phobia about something they don't believe exists?


  1. I'm having the same problem with a short script I wrote. We filmed half of it and we're going to wind up re-filming because every few days I change a scene. You always see a way to tighten up dialog or change how characters are interacting. What was once a 5-minute sketch with one gag is now a 20-minute TV show pilot (and probably not a good one)

  2. I tend to have those kinds of days on Mondays, when I've spent the weekend playing with my family and I need to get back in the swing of things. I work my butt of for maybe 1k, but I know that I'm back in the groove of the story and the rest of the week tends to go better.

    Just don't over-tweak. Save that for one or two final read-throughs before sending it to your beta readers. Over-tweaking leads to an over-done manuscript. Sort of like when D. made that microwave pizza that one time...

  3. A quick note about the 5 minutes to 20 minutes; if you tighten the dialog, it ought to be making it shorter.

    Now, sometimes more is better. Those 15 minutes could be 15 minutes of pure genius. But one thing I know about myself is when I realize I've been miscategorizing a change, the change probably isn't what it ought to be.