I’ve been working on my first novel these past weeks. I want to get it edited and to an agent. It is time to step out and show my baby to someone who can help it grow into the book it was designed to be. It’s an exciting time for me.
However, there is something everyone should know about book editing. It’s tedious. It takes hours. Oh, and it takes hours. And did I mention how many HOURS it takes? Honestly, I had no idea it would be so time consuming. I’ve barely edited chapter one. It’s 10,000 words now. Do you know what that means? Yes, I have to adjust chapter one into about 3-4 chapters… which means that I will end up adding several hundred words just to keep my current format. And that’s chapter one. So much for a 90,000 word manuscript. I’m over that already!
In editing you take a paragraph and you rewrite it to say exactly what you want it to say, awaken all the senses, and ensure your reader can see, touch, taste, smell, and LIVE what you’ve written. You create technicolor with your words. It’s exhausting. And when you’re done, you realize that it doesn’t flow properly with the previous paragraph so you have to edit both a bit to get the right rhythm. It’s great. Until you realize that you’ve used the same descriptor twice in a thirty word span… then it’s not so great. (Note the use of the word great in the paragraph above and you’ll get a visual of what I mean.)
Each sentence builds upon the previous sentence and transitions to the next. The same goes for paragraphs, chapters, and even books if you happen to be working on a series. Yes, I am.
Oh but then the fun begins in earnest. You see, you can’t just sit down and edit. Well, I can’t anyway. I must work, change stories and write, then come back and work, until my eyes cross and I get my story lines mixed up. If I stick to editing all day, I do a lousy job of editing. If I work on new stuff all day, I don’t get anythign edited and nothing I write will ever be published.
As I was retyping yet another paragraph, it occured to me that editing is sort of metaphoric of my life. We start with writing a page of who we are and what we stand for in our attempt to mature. Then, we continue to grow, change, refine, and define until the final paragraphs of our lives read as we desire them to read. God erases our mistakes and writes new passages on our hearts. We’re molded by Him and His Word. Daily we erase the mistakes of yesterday and strive to make today’s paragraph closer to that goal we have.
We discover our paragraph on organization is incomplete. It doesn’t cover all the topics we want to organize. We erase, we rewrite, we restructure. Our excitement grows as we finally see improvement over the mistakes of past attempts. We must keep editing. Anyone who has tried to master the art of organization knows that you cannot set an organizational plan in motion and then leave it to run itself. It doesn’t work. We have to prune, fine tune, and recreate when our lives change.
This is true of our entire lives. We will never be ‘finished’ in the earthly sense until we’re ressurected on the last day. We’ll continue to grow, refine and become the person that Christ wants us to be.
Isn’t that amazing? I’m in awe.