I am sitting at the desk, it is dark. The light from my computer monitor is the only thing illuminating the room. The silhouette of the back-lit keys of the keyboard glow with a threatening red. Clickity clack click clack clack goes the keys as I type furiously. My passion swirling and my mind reeling. I write the words … THE END and I leap from my chair fists raised upward in a V. I am victorious. I have completed a novel, I have penned my heart and soul! I pat myself on the back, congratulatory celebrations ensue.
I imagine I am not the only writer that feels this exultation. The exhilaration of writing a story from your own imagination, or finishing a novel, is a palpable experience. Following the writing of the novel, or story, or poem, is the less exhilarating experience of revisions. Trimming fluff, adding description, delving into the back story of, or even adding, characters. There is a pruning process that occurs with any writing sample. What I fear though is not writing a novel, it is not even the revisions. No, my worst nightmare is when I begin the process of editing my work. Don’t get me wrong, I think it needs to be edited, but it is that scrutiny that reveals the flaws and dims the bright shining star that I think my story to be.
Some writer’s call this process Making it Bleed, in obvious reference to a red pen. However, I think that is just what is happening. It is a battle that your novel must emerge from, cut and re-arranged it is going to bleed, and sometimes profusely. So perhaps editing is not really my worst nightmare, but it is frightening nonetheless. Sometimes it feels like the process of editing is what breathes new life into your story, but it will inevitably bring to light what is ultimately lacking or inherently wrong with it. I remark on this now particularly because I have been in the process of editing my novel: Kodiak. I have feedback from various sources regarding what needs to be added and revised and right down to where it needs to bleed.
In any case I thought I would let out a bit of pent up frustration here, I am sure I am not the first to feel thusly about their work. Until next time.
Your friendly neighborhood writer,