An Outside look at Editing Little White Lies

On March 31, 2011 by Aimee

The Art of Editing

Why Outside? Well, because I’m not about to show you the inside pink, purple and blue that’s covering the sections of my manuscript. 🙂 Nope. Not gonna do it. Why not? Well … because it’s an emotional process.

All those pretty words I have in there. All those missing ‘ands’ (stop laughing) and the sentences that are marked for clarification.

What? They aren’t clear?

But …
but …
*I* know what they mean.


Of course, if they’re that bad, then someone else isn’t going to know and that’s what HAS to get fixed before the launch of Little White Lies (which even with all the colorfulness … and running behind by a few weeks … I’ve been assured it will still go out on time.)

Why then talk about editing at all if I’m not going to show you stuff?

Because I want to expunge the emotions. So next time … when I open a chapter and see dotted lines and crossed out words, I can turn off my writer’s hat and just … edit.

They say (whomever ‘they’ is) that writing is hard. Well … so is editing. No, not the editing where I go through my MS 8000 times to come up with the ‘final’ first or second or fifth draft, but the editing where someone smarter than you goes through it and edits it … more.

That’s the hard part. That’s the part where the outer-writer wants to say “But, no! That’s my style! You’re taking away the ‘me’ in the story.” (And I should add here that my editor has not taken away the ‘me’ — it just feels like it because any change takes away — even a single word).

The changes are good. They work to the flow. They work for clarity. They confirm emotional build up and tension and attention to detail.

But, yikes. This IS the hard part. This pass of editing with the someone that is nitpicking every sentence and capturing all the missing commas, removing the splice (yes, I love splicing sentences together — who doesn’t?) — this pass is the tough one.

I shall endure. My story will be better for it in the end.

And THAT is my goal … to get a rock solid story out into your hands. Charley and Wyatt’s story. One I wrote over a year ago. One that will see the ‘digital light of day’ and feel the paper under the ink in a few short months.

What happens on the outside of me in the process? A little nudge. A tiny change. A stronger book.

I can deal with that. 🙂

Can you? How’ve you dealt with the changes from an editor for you manuscript, novella, article or even flash fiction? Share!