Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Be Like Batman

So, sometimes editing is like being Batman.  I know I’ve already talked to y’all about editing, but since I’m in the middle of a massive edit, it’s what has been on my mind. 

So. Editing. Batman. It starts out something like this…

Picture Batman, standing above the city of Gotham. His Batsuit is clean, the Batmobile has a new coat of wax, and his utility belt is a bright gleaming yellow. Yup, Batman is feeling pretty awesome. He looks down on the city of Gotham and thinks- Damn right this is my city! I’m going clean this baby up!

That's what the beginning of the editing process feels like. With your trusty red pen and your freshly printed manuscript, you think this editing process will be a breeze. And maybe, for the first few pages it is. But then… disaster strikes.

Maybe you’ve started writing in a strange, convoluted style. It’s terse, it’s too wordy, it doesn’t flow. Something happened where you stopped writing, and started TRYING to be a writer, and the results are horrible. (Kind of like Batman’s voice- “I’m Batman!” What was with the voice Bale? Didn’t it hurt to talk like that?) Whatever it is, something makes you feel less like a writer, and more like a kid playing pretend.

I’ll call this- the Bane stage.

It’s painful, it’s horrible. Pretty soon you just want to light the whole blasted book on fire (Some men just want to watch the world burn, you get me?). This book, the one you put so much time and effort in, is becoming some horrible monster. One you just can’t defeat. It's the creature born to darkness, and you're just some novice with no clue.

Not very long after this point, you start to relate more and more to Batman.

Everything hurts, you don’t understand why you are doing this anymore, you just want your Mommy. No one will read this, you think, why am I doing all this hard work? Gotham doesn’t care!! They don’t appreciate me!!

And that's the moment you hit the wall (or, Bane's knee). You think there isn't any way you will ever finish editing. There is too much boring narrative going on. You have sentences like “The ache in her aching head…” Your characters are wooden, your plot has holes  you could drive 18 semis through. Whatever it is, you just want to give up.

Listen. Don’t give up. However many months ago, when you first opened the word.doc and started typing, remember that moment. How great it felt. You were creating something, you were living your dream. Sure, Bane may have kicked your butt. And characters that seemed sweet and innocent at first, have turned into giant a-holes. (Really Batman, did you HAVE to save Joffrey?)

But you still have something great. You still are the superhero. Writing is hard. And honestly, sometimes it isn’t very fun.  So, focus on the moment ahead. The moment when you get to hold that finished product in your hand. Maybe it’s days away, maybe it’s months. But isn’t it worth it? Doesn’t your story deserve it’s time to shine? I think it does, and I think you can do it.

And so does Batman.

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