On Editing, continued.
Just turned in some book edits (for a project that's not public yet!) and O. M. G.
This process turned me inside out. It had me sending the following texts to writer friends*:
HELL NO I'M NOT CHANGING ANY OF IT.
IT'S OKAY IF I REWRITE CHAPTERS 10-40, RIGHT?
I'M CRYING. I LOVE [REDACTED] AND [REDACTED] SO MUCH.
I CAN'T DO THIS BOOK JUSTICE.
I JUST WANT TO GET THIS SHIT DONE. I'M SO SICK OF IT.
*only slightly edited to get my point across*
Yeah, writers go through our own little special brand of obsessive hell during book edits (see here for a previous blog post about editing.) Part of it is our own fault, of course.
When I was editing SISTERHOOD IS DEADLY, I had injured my right shoulder, torn all the nerves in it and lost feeling in my right fingertips. I could only use my computer while propped up in bed, with my right arm resting on a pile of pillows. By the time that book was done, there was a small mountain of protein bar wrappers and empty Diet Dr. Pepper bottles by the side of the bed.
No one is making me wear the same sweatshirt and lounge pants for seven days in a row. None of my editors are insisting that I listen to the same twenty songs over and over in order to submerge myself in my book's world. If I'd told my editor, "Hey I can't feel my right hand, can I have an extra week or two to get this done?" there was probably a good 50/50 shot that she would have agreed.
But basically we're... what's that word? Where we hate ourselves and are willing to destroy the world as we know it in order to write the best book possible? Yeah, writers are that.
Authors talk a lot about diving into a "writing cave" which is totally a real thing, but in my opinion? Nothing is as deep and dark and as all-consuming as the editing cave. It's stinky in here. It's filled with unfolded laundry, tea bags that have been reused, and a notebook that's filled with illegible notes and arrows drawn in interminable loops and possibly an entire new language that will be debuted in the revised chapter thirty.
But, the final result is beautiful. Every time it's the best thing I've done.
And I cannot forking wait to share it with you.
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