Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Know When to Edit - and edit again!

My N today for the A-Z Challenge is Numb. It's how I felt after a recent meeting with my Writers' Workshop. I'm always willing to put myself forward and read out loud, even though it scares me to death, my mouth goes dry and the words start dancing across the page and all my confidence drains away! (Just talking about it and I break out in cold sweat). But the point is as writers we need feedback, someone to bounce ideas around with.

A few weeks ago I read the start of my novel and it went down really well. The course leader said I should give a master class in opening chapters. Mine is a complex story with 9 main characters. After reading this week I was met with a barrage of criticism. Phrases like 'I think you missed a trick here' 'I feel disappointed after such a good start', 'you have so many characters I feel like I need to make notes.'

All of this was like a nail in my coffin and I stayed awake most of the night wondering what I could do about it. Then I woke up and the answer hit me like a safe dropping on my head. Edit!

Of course, edit. Just because you had your audience gasping for more in one chapter you shouldn't get complacent. They were right. I had lost what I started with and I needed to edit like crazy to get back to the level I'd already managed to achieve. Nothing annoys me more than a book that starts with promise and leaves me bored and cheated as I go along.

So I'm in edit mode. I tend to edit as I go along rather than just clatter away for chapters on end. The plot lines are all there in my notebook. I just need to maintain the intensity and interest. But I really need to edit!
Enhanced by Zemanta


  1. I'm glad to hear you could move beyond the numb feeling into action. It's hard to do a severe edit but the story will thank you in the end ... at least I keep telling myself that.

  2. And sometimes... sometimes that feedback is wrong. Just because some people don't like following a large group of characters, doesn't make it wrong to write them... some people LOVE getting to know a larger world of characters in one book. Honestly, I get bored following a single character (which is probably why I have a very difficult time whenever reading something from a 1st person perspective) but then, I have friends who LOVE 1st person. Just make sure you take feedback with a grain of salt... it's YOUR story, after all.

    (Of course, editing is always a good thing... just trying to be encouraging about the receiving of negative feedback)

    1. I hear what you're saying and thanks for the encouragement. But I have to admit they were right in some respects and now I'm sure the piece is stronger and that's always got to be plus right?

  3. I kNow how you feel! New follower here. I'm stopping by from the "A to Z" challenge and I look forward to visiting again.


    1. Thanks for dropping by, look forward to visiting you soon Sylvia

  4. I don't know if I could ever do a writers group. I don't like sharing what I write until I'm completely finished. You are so brave. I also think that sometimes the feedback is wrong...and, the only way I know is through intuition.

    Here's my post for today.