So January is editing and plotting month. I’m still writing on a little flash fiction, but mostly I’m editing.
And I’m learning, but I admit I’m still not the best editor.
My first draft always leaves me in a rush, full of “was” and adverbs and anything I like–so I can get it all down on paper.
My work only shines when I work with another person, a professional editor, who asks me questions and makes me ponder word choice. But again, I’m learning.
The basics are sinking in, though. I’ve archived a list of words to take out like: up, down, just, really, very, that. I have constructions I go back and scrutinize. I get rid of all the lovely adverbs, too weak to live. I ruthlessly delete all stall phrases like “going to” or “thinking about” or a Southern favorite “fixing to”.
Showing and telling… at this point in my writing journey is kind of hit or miss. I look for certain words and replace them like: feel, watch, heard, seemed, suspect, remembered. But I like those words. They’re words I use everyday in my own speech and it’s hard to get rid of them.
Exclamation points disappear. Which is the exact opposite of my online correspondence. Anyone who knows me has gotten an “Awesome!” or “Cool!” or “OMG!” in a text or comment.
I despair over all my fictional, wandering, autonomous body parts. Someday I’ll write a horror novel where pieces of a character wander off on their own to do their own mischief. I’ll be vindicated for those hands that want to touch and lips that want to kiss while the main character sits back and watches.
I’ve almost broken myself of dialogue tags altogether, finding action easier even when I leave a protagonist fidgeting under another’s stare or glancing away in embarrassment.
So what I’m really saying with this long ramble is two things:
One – Dear reader, please forgive my childish writing at times. I’m learning. I’m ingesting the nuggets of wisdom from my writing mentors. But I’m a slow study.
Two – Thank you, thank you, thank you to all the professional editors out there that take the time to steer us newbie writers in the right direction and into elegant prose. I know I for one, would be lost without them.
And now…back to editing…editing…editing.