Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Editing Down to the Bone...

[A first draft is] just for size. That draft isn't any good; it isn't supposed to be; the whole purpose is to sketch out proportions. . . . I rarely have a very clear idea of where I'm going when I start. Just people and a situation. Then I fool around--writing and re-writing until the stuff gels.  -- (James Thurber - Interview with Robert Van Gelder. The New York Times Magazine, May 12, 1940)

I love this quote by humorist and author James Thurber.  I wish that one day I will be as prolific as he was.  He drew cartoons and wrote essays for The New Yorker.  (He wrote over 40 books!)  However, at the moment I am feeling very much like Thurber did regarding the first draft.  I have completed my first draft and I am working on editing it.

I had no idea it was so challenging! 

Isn't there a magic wand somewhere that I can wave and make it all turn into perfectly flawless prose that engages readers?  No, huh?

So, I couldn't figure out how to start so I figured I'd just read what I wrote -- all 230 something pages -- and then make the changes that seem 'logical' to me.  (Hopefully it will be logical to others as well!)

Then, I send it off to the editor for another round of edits.  Then?  Who knows.  Maybe more editing will be needed.

For all of you who have gone through this already please share your thoughts, insights and experience with me!  I'd love to know more about how other writers waddle through this marshy stage of the writing process!


  1. I am a weirdo and actually love editing and revising. I've written quite a bit about it on my blog, especially in my newest feature, "How to Self-publish". Check it out if you get a chance. I always enjoy reading your blog :)

  2. Thank you so much Leti for sharing this blog post with my readers and I. It is chock full of useful information! Four read-throughs! OMG!! But they all make total sense and gives one much needed structure especially as an Indie writer. Thanks again!