And I hate it. Oh, yes, I do. Especially when the story was so hard for me to write in the first place. I don’t think it had anything to do with it being a paranormal story about shape-shifters. It certainly didn’t have anything to do with it being a romance, or a short story for that matter. The characters were likeable. Both were secretive, even though I knew what their secrets were. But months of writing to get less than eight thousand words of story took it’s toll on me.
“Why’s the rum gone?” Because editing sucks. Because bad grammar, weird phrasing, white rooms, and plot-holes plague me. Because it’s hard. Because it takes forever. Because I would rather gouge my eyes out by the time I get to this phase of writing.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I revise my own writing until I can’t see straight anymore, then post it on Scribophile for peer critiques so all my lovely friends there can tell me what needs fixing. Then I have to comb through all those thousands of words of critique for the advice I want to follow to make my story better.
Those decisions can take a few days to get down on paper – in chronological order, of course – so I can follow along and make my edits as I go through the story instead of picking through it one critique at a time. Sometimes it’s painful to kill my darlings. Sometimes entire conversations or scenes that I thought were pivotal to the plot but really don’t do anything for it on the current character arcs have been cut. Sometimes it’s just lines. Sometimes a paragraph. Sometimes there’s the need to rearrange dialogue, or entire scenes. Sometimes even chapters.
But editing and revising are the difference between “he held her hand as they walked on the beach beneath the full moon” and “His hand engulfed hers. The soft, cool sand gave way to lapping waves beneath their feet as they strolled along the water’s edge. The full, silver moon rippled on the surface of the lake, lighting their way.”
And in the long-run, it’s worth every agonizing minute spent on it. I can take a rough idea, a pocked old stone, and polish it into something shiny, something worth displaying on the shelf with the rest of the pretty things.
Milli Gilbert is a stay-at-home mom who loves to play with words almost as much as she loves to play with her kids. All of her stories involve romance, and maybe a little bit of mystery. But she loves to write about cowboys, shifters, and dragons. And smut. And can usually be found trying to find interesting ways to combine them. She just took off after a cowboy-dragon shifter in search of his one true mate… Don’t worry. She’ll be back. Or you can find all of her links on her blog, Hairballs of Genius.