The editing game by Tara Lyons

I come to you today from the depths of my editing cave. I've been here for two weeks now, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel - and therefore the reason you're having any contact from me at all.

Before writing my books, I worked for an in-house magazine as assistant editor for eight years. A weekly magazine, and a team of two, we designed the layout, interviewed the staff, wrote and edited the articles. What I do now has a very similar set-up, and that's what I had in mind when I started this process in 2015: I can handle all aspects of my writing career, after all, I've done it for many years. How wrong could I have been? And yes, editing, I'm looking at you.

What I didn't appreciate was the amount of editing I'd have to do in one hit. Gone are the few hundred word articles, replaced by the hundreds of pages and thousands of words. The paragraphs are no longer factual events, coloured with interesting quotes from employees, but are the inner workings and creations of my mind.

Also, when you've completed your first draft and want to dance around the room, pop open the bubbly, or just get some sleep to celebrate, you remember you're still nowhere near the end of the road. Here, you just have all your thoughts down on page - an explosion of words, if you will - and that first round of edits could still bring up a flurry of plot holes, useless dialogue and pointless characters. Of course, there's the hope none of that will occur, but even if it doesn't, a lot will still need to be changed and chopped and swapped around.

Luckily for me, I am so close to the end of this initial process. And, surprisingly, it hasn't been too painful. It's my third book in the series... so perhaps the practice and regular use of our writing muscles really do help the overall cause. Book three is due with my editor at the end of the month - so I still have some time to work on the ending and have a final read through before I send it off. The days have been long, the nights have been deathly quiet, but I'll keep the faith that it'll all be worth it in the end. I think that's all we can hope for.


Umberto Tosi said…
Very insightful: so many words, so few pencils. I've traveled a similar path, not realizing what I was getting into on the editing side of creating a book, which - as you rightly point out - is under-appreciated, but as important as composition, if not more so. Thank you, Tara!

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