Wednesday, April 6, 2011

E is for ... Editing

Many writers tell me that they hate to edit. They love the feeling of getting the words down, but hate having to go through and either take those hard earned words away, or to add more words. I used to feel sort of like this. But once I was hired as an editor, those feelings quickly disappeared. Maybe it was because I was getting rid of other people's words. More likely, it was because I truly saw how the right words make the story flow better.

Here's how I view writing and editing:
The writing is the foundation of the story. Visually, I think of it as a sculpture that's created the more words I use. It's not like I think of the sculpture as a bust or any certain shape other than maybe a large piece of rock. There's dimension to it, but no specific features.

Because each word is so important in a story - even more so in poetry - I have no problem slashing and burning words that I've written. I don't feel like I have to keep them just because they appear on the paper. Editing is carving out the story, just like carving out a shape in the rock.

What's your viewpoint on editing? Do you love it, or hate it?