Why Edit?

10 Jan

Why would anyone want to edit their novel.  I have been reading it his week, and so far I am up to about 34,000 words.  And it is bad.  So why would I want to edit it? 

Well, I am reminded of what Gayle Brandeis said when asked “What do you when you realise that your novel is a horrible, irredeemable, piece of tripe?”  (Sounds familiar that)

First of all, no novel is irredeemable. In my NaNo pep talk, I likened writing a novel to being pregnant and giving birth. The metaphor of novel-as-baby doesn’t always hold once the novel is in the world—especially since you often have to tear your novel apart to help it find its rightful form!—but there are still some parallels.

Some parents will stare at their newborn for hours, proud and amazed at what they have created. Other parents suffer through post-partum depression; they question themselves, their ability to raise these strange, scary vulnerable new creatures. If you’re reading the answer to this question, you most likely fall into the latter camp. Babies often do look a bit frightening right after birth—their noses are smooshed against their face; their heads are misshapen from their journey into the world; they are covered with all sorts of slimy fluids. But remember—you clean them off, and their heads eventually find their right shape, and then one day they’ll smile at you and your heart will melt like it’s never melted before.

It all comes down to love, really. You have to learn to love your sticky, bloody, misshapen novel. Even if a lot of it makes you cringe; even if much of it feels monstrous, find something in it to love. It could be one sentence. It could be one image. It could be one plot twist. It could be one character. Whatever it is, start from there. Love it with all your heart. And with this love, plus a lot of attention and patience, you will give your novel the care it needs to grow into itself, to learn to walk and talk and carry its own weight. Love it, even when it makes you crazy, and one day, it will make you proud.”

So I guess there is the answer.  As ugly as it is now, I need to find something to love.  And I do.  I think I love this one enough to try and straighten the nose, and wipe off the slime.

Watch this space for details.

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Posted by on January 10, 2009 in Novel


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