Monday, January 4, 2010

Rush Hour Edits


I’m immersed in the editing process. I’ve joked with friends that before I begin I feel like yelling out, “If I don’t come back send someone in after me.” (Think snake tool for a plumber.) I’m not always a happy camper when I sit to hack away. And like everything else, it all comes back to my attitude.



My husband and I caught the tail end of Rush Hour 2 last night. When the movie ends you get to watch a dozen bloopers. One of the bloopers reminded me of the editing process. Jackie Chan dives under a barred bank safety area and the dimensions are nearly big enough to fit a small rat. His mission is to slide in between the space allotted. It took him several tries. It looked painful. But he kept at it and he eventually nailed the scene with gusto.

If I go at my MS with that same attitude (tenacity and blooper potential) I think the whole process could prove much more enjoyable. I need to keep two things in mind. I know what I’m doing. I’ve read enough about editing to kill a small horse (okay, not the best analogy but I really wanted to write that). Knowledge is power. I shan’t (wanted to write that too) be afraid of little ole editing. I’m a giant compared to my words (until those rare beautiful and mysterious moments when some words become giants in and of themselves). The next thing I have to remember is that editing is just another way to have a do-over or a second chance. Who would blow that off?
~~~I’ll take it because I’m smart enough to know that no one is perfect. However, Jackie Chan is ultra flexible.
Take two.

What do you feel about the editing process and has your attitude about it changed for any reason?

*Happy Birthday to my husband
**photos by flickr
***I'll be over at To Live Beautiful later today

33 comments:

  1. That's a great way to look at it, Wendy. Thanks for sharing this with us, reminding us that we, too - if we keep at it - can be as good as Jackie Chan.

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  2. While the editing process isn't my favorite, I don't hate it. It's almost like having a second chance at making things better...Our bloopers get tossed and we can move forward.
    Blessings to you and your readers:)

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  3. Sometimes its overwhelming, but it's all worth it in the end when your MS is so much better. Good luck with the edits.

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  4. Hey, Wendy!

    Editing can be tedious, but I do enjoy it. It makes me thankful for another chance with my characters, especially when rewriting is involved. I get excited to read and edited chapter and realize it's so much better than it was!

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  5. It's been a while since I did some serious editing. I almost miss it, strange as that seems.

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  6. I get so overwhelmed with the editing process. Like any large project, though, if I take it apart into pieces and concentrate on one piece at a time, I do much better. I like to set smaller goals (like three chapters at a time) for myself than to think I can edit 300 pages by x date.

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  7. My favorite part about the editing process is when it's over. O:)

    I don't enjoy the process much it makes me nauseous. My favorite part is the discovery part--when the words and the story are sparkly and new. However, as much as I loathe the process, I love holding a polished ms in my hand. And sometimes it is fun to go through and find those gems that make me sit back and think, "I wrote that?" So, for me, it's probably a love-hate relationship. :D

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  8. I love the Rush Hour analogy. I love those movies. And you're right. Jackie Chan is super flexible!

    How do I feel about the editing process? Necessary evil? Something to be pawned off to one of my lesser minions? I know it must be done and the first edit round I love it. The story is there, the skeleton is awaiting it's flesh. I enjoy going in there to flesh it out.

    Then come the other edits. The ones where you painstakingly go through every sentence and berate yourself for word choice. Grr. I just finished my fourth round with book one of my trilogy and I'm still a bit annoyed with the language of some parts. I'm not saying I'll go round five, but a quick fifth-over may be in order.

    Happy Monday,
    Jen

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  9. I like your comment that we get a do-over:) I love the editing part more now as I learn about how to do it. Have critique partners really has helped me see potential in some of my work by suggesting improvements.

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  10. I don't mind it as much as I did as a young writer. I really appreciate the gift it is to my novel. Pus towards the last round, it almost feels like a break.

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  11. You are most definitely slap happy today! But I shan't complain. :) I LOVE it! Your comments on my post made me laugh! Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm for killing a small horse--I mean editing. I'm waiting to hear back from my editor (any hour now!). And I will try, really try to keep the right perspective when she tells me all of the things I still need to change! So, I'm off for now.

    Now I'm done.

    Really. :)

    Now.

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  12. I have much thicker skin and know for sure what I write down is JUNK (at first) so I do LOVE to edit and make it all nice and flowing. :)

    PS. YES! That's the book!

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  13. When I first started editing my completed ms, I was excited. I had finished a novel. What's not to be excited about? But after the thrird, fourth, fifth rounds, I'm starting to feel a little overwhelmed. But I keep going because this time, I know I'm so close to getting it right.

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  14. I look at the editing process (which I have only been through once!) as an opportunity to make the book better. I remember that family, friends, colleagues and even current and former professors are going to be reading it. That makes me want to make sure it is right and all the 'bugs' are worked out of it.

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  15. Editing stinks...but is a job needed, both in writing and in life!

    Happy birthday to your hubby...and I pray a blessed day to you!
    bina

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  16. I'm looking forward to the editing process. Getting the chance to redo those scenes that I love- but know aren't working. Clean up some choppy dialogue. It feels just like you said, a second chance.

    Happy birthday to your husband- and many more!

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  17. I don't have MS editing experience, but I've edited thousands of news stories. Sometimes, on deadline, I'd only have a few minutes to edit a story. But each edit made the story better, more alive. If nothing else, I'd at least take the time to remove extraneous words, redundancies, cliches. And I'd take the time to find active verbs to create a more vivid picture for the reader.

    All the best to you as you edit, my friend.

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  18. Great post Wendy! I love the comparison. :-) No, I don't always have a great attitude, but I'm usually determined. LOL

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  19. I loved those little things you just "wanted to write". You are too funny! Editing. Um... When I was doing a chapter at a time, I didn't mind it so much. I am now going over the whole thing and it's overwhelming! It hasn't been as enjoyable. I just need a new attitude and I'm gonna go get it right now. Thanks for the post!

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  20. I like that. Editing is a second chance. Can you imagine how much our books would stink if we only had one chance to get them right? Thank goodness for the editing process (even if it is hard).

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  21. I hope I don't end up with two comments here. I'm having Blogger issues, though this time, they're all on my end.

    Happy Birthday to your hubby! Me and my hubby watched Rush Hour 2 last night as well--strange. Those bloopers are so funny. That's definitely a good way to look at our manuscripts. Keep working until we get them right. Edits are not always the most fun but coming out on the other side with a polished manuscript is so worth it.

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  22. Love the comparison to bloopers! I just started editing an older story that I thought was done months ago and guess what...lots of bloopers!!! UGH! Try, try again and again...!

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  23. The editing process is a little scary for me, too. But I'm very detail oriented so it seems to suit me OK.


    Blessings,
    Carla
    http://writingtodistraction.blogspot.com

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  24. My favorite story is about Stevie Wonder, who's like a musical genius. He was filming something at Disneyland and he did several takes because "I'm not happy with my sound." He apologized to the audience, but wanted to get it just right.

    That's how editing is. I'm gonna do it as many times as I have to in order to get it just right.

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  25. You motivated me with your comment about knowing what you're doing with editing. I know I'm good at editing, so why do I sometimes feel like a novice? It's all in the head...

    Thanks Wendy!

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  26. I don't mind editing as long as someone tells me what to do. Is that bad? There are thousands of ways to say one thing, and I get overwhelmed with which one to choose.

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  27. Hi Wendy,

    I love the thrill of words spilling onto the page. Editing? Don't love it. But I have come to understand how it improves my writing, so I perservere...when I have to. LOL. God bless you this Monday!

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  28. Edits are very tough for me as well. Writing is easy, wrote my last novel in 2 weeks but of course gotta edit even more. Ugh!

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  29. We are sort of on the same wave length today, aren't we? Love the post. Love Jackie Chan and Rush Hour. :)

    How do I feel about editing? At first, I get really super freaked out. Like chest collapsing, get the brown paper bag freaked out. Then I rally. And then I just get pumped up. Right now, I've rallied and now I'm ready to go, Rocky style.

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  30. I LOVED the editing process on my first two books but am dragging my feet on #3. Is it because the story...is sagging? Oh, I hope not...
    Patti
    www.pattilacy.com/blog

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  31. How do I feel about it? Like pulling weeds. Just give hand me a hoe and let's get it over with. I know that flower bed will make me smile tomorrow.

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  32. I meant "give me a hoe" or "hand me a hoe." Not both. Guess I need to edit my comments! Arrgghh

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  33. Excellent post! Revising can be daunting, but I think so much can be accomplished with a good attitude. I often look at the first draft like it's getting the clay on the wheel; everything else is shaping.

    Happy b-day to your hubby!

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