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The Joy of Editing

December 3, 2015

Don’t adjust your display, that’s really what the title says.



I was up until 1:45 in the morning because I was on a serious roll with edits to the Cover Crop screenplay. After mulling over the need to tighten pacing in the first twenty-something pages for a couple of weeks (thank you, Save the Cat!) I guess I had some idea of what needed to go, and it went. What was a break to Act Two at p. 23 is now…let me check…on p. 19. I actually have a little room in which to add a needed exchange between characters. Whew.



But I’m not writing this to give you details of how I spent the wee hours. Most writers who talk about editing do so in the context of actual, you know, writing, and it tends to suffer in comparison. And I won’t lie, even the most effective and productive editing session isn’t fun the way an inspired few hours of flinging things onto the page can be.



At its best–and I’ve experienced this several times now–writing approaches an out-of-body experience. You begin to understand why people believed in muses. Something in your head pushing the words out, and you’re just along for the ride.  The rush of creation stands alone. And yet…

Warning: Squick Ahead. I can only describe the way a session like last night’s made me feel in less-than-attractive biological terms: scratching an itch, or lancing a boil, or… I will stop RIGHT there because you people can extrapolate without my help. The activity itself may not have been fun, but I felt soooooo much better when I was done.



More than mere relief, it’s a deep, viscerally satisfying sense of having made something intimately connected to you that was wrong right. I feel more like a “real” writer after going through that kind of editing session than I do even after the most exhilarating days of writing.

Unless it was just the ouzo.

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