I've always said that for every NaNoWriMo there should be at least three NaNoEdMo's. Churning out 50,000 words isn't all that hard once you get some momentum going. Editing your WriMo down to 10,000 words worth reading is what separates the w̶h̶e̶a̶t̶ ̶f̶r̶o̶m̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶c̶h̶a̶f̶f̶ m̶e̶n̶ ̶f̶r̶o̶m̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶b̶o̶y̶s̶ w̶i̶n̶n̶e̶r̶s̶ ̶f̶r̶o̶m̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶l̶o̶s̶e̶r̶s̶ benjamins from the bitcoin. (Or should that be the other way around?)
I probably love editing more than I love the struggle of putting one word down after another on a blank page. Sharpening up a workaday sentence that communicated the basics into one that glitters just enough to make you smile without distracting you from the story: that's what I love to do.
When I'm writing, I'm focused more on plot and character. When editing, I have Chekov's gun and Orwell's directive to never use a long word when a short word will do. I'm looking for every word that ends in -ly and asking it to politely (oops, there's another one) take its leave.
There must be a million and a half blog posts out there like this one, authors extolling the sublime pleasures of killing their darlings, hacking away at the words until the text is lean and ripped as an Olympic swimmer.
I'm currently in round three of line edits on Love Songs of the Revolution. It's amazing how you can find errors to fix or improvements begging to be made on every pass through a manuscript. Every single one!
A friend recently asked me how could I edit my own work. The honest answer is a rather dull one: practice. It also comes from knowing that the editing and even the deleting is the writing just as much as the original task was of putting those first words on virtual paper. The rather more metaphysical answer I'd like to give you is that I'm forever chasing an idealistic vision in my mind of the book I'm trying to write. Perhaps one day I'll get there.
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