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
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.