How to Edit in 5 Seconds!

by Mike

If only!

It can take years to edit a novel after the first draft. The temptation is to rush it, or skip the process all together, especially if you are a new writer eager to get your manuscript of to an agent or publisher.

It is also a skill in itself. But once your into it, it can be amazing. Like chipping away at an ice-block to reveal a masterpiece within. (Well hopefully!) It takes time, courage and an eye for pace and a ruthless desire to work to the demands of the story and to the rhythm of the prose.

In fact once you do hit your stride you have to be careful that you don't become to edit happy and cut off so much stuff that at the end of it you are left with something with no soul or the size of a postcard. Mind you if you got it that small you could always stick a stamp on it and mail it to an agent, that way you could claim that your whole manuscript was being considered by dozens of agents.

Perhaps not.

Perhaps in the end this article and all like it on editing are nonsense. Instead do what "David Blaine" does in the clip above. Use magic.

Go on believe.

Photo Credit: Jhritz


Anonymous said...

Reducing a novel so that it fits on a postcard is an appealing idea. Would save on trees, Mike, and on redrafts. Perhaps we would be left with something similar to Hemingway's idea of a six word short story: 'For Sale: Baby Shoes. Never worn.'

There's certainly a difference between reducing something so that it's richly sparse or reducing it so that only rubble remains.

Stella said...

Oooh. Magic editing. Now that would be cool! Although I'd prefer having magic which applied to doing the dishes.

But I of course take your point. Honestly, this is my weird area. I actually enjoy editing more than writing from scratch.

Lynda Meyers said...

Editing. I have a love / hate relationship with this activity!

Sometimes I love watching the words be carved into a thing of beauty...

Other times I sweat and curse and hate these words I've lived and breathed with for so long that they all run together in my mind and I can't tell where to place my chisel!

Mike French said...

"There's certainly a difference between reducing something so that it's richly sparse or reducing it so that only rubble remains."

Yep and it's keeping a right perspective as you edit, otherwise you end up so involved you can't see if you are created art or rubble.

Stella: Magic applied to dishes = a dishwasher.

Madison: I agree, sometimes I find it easy as well, and like you at other times impossible to find the form I want in what remains.

Stella said...

Well don't fling technology at me.

Mike French said...

LOL Stella - sorry what you need is a Mickey Mouse Sorcerer's Apprentice Hat - take that instead!