For the past few days I’ve been editing which, if you’ve read my previous post, can be fun and awful. In the last post I wrote about how awful it was and how all I wanted to do was take a red pen and write a giant ‘X’ through all of it. Today my mood has changed, maybe it’s the weather. Looking back at my work is still awful sometimes and even cringe worthy, but it gets better. Doing rewrites and editing makes me feel ten times better because I know the work is getting better as I go through it. By the third or fourth editing round I just want to shoot myself in the face, but at least I know the fourth round is better than the first.
I decided, just now, that I’m going to post pictures of what each stage of editing looked like. Since I have about every single round of editing my manuscript printed and buried deep within the confines of my desk, I thought it could be useful for some people. The first thing to note is, your first draft is probably shit on a stick. Don’t worry it will get better. There are times when I’m reading a section from my first book thinking, ‘Holy fuck this is awful writing’. And maybe it is, hell I know some people think so. But my writing gets better through out my work. The second book is by far written with more detail and I can tell you now, the third is better than the second. That’s what happens when you’re writing, you get better and you learn. (Especially for someone who didn’t go to college for writing…or anything.) Another little piece of knowledge (if you want to call it that) is that you are your own worse critic. You are going to think everything is awful, your words suck, your grammar is shit, and no one would possible want to read it. Trust me, shut the hell up and keep writing because you are wrong.
Now, here is my draft from 2013. (Probably the smartest thing I did was write my timeline to take place in 2014 since I knew I wouldn’t be finished until then. But now it’s 2016 and I’m still writing like it’s 2014.) Reaching to the bottom of my desk draw was awful. It’s literally buried underneath hundreds of papers. It was the most exercise I’ve gotten in weeks. The thing that sucked is that I realized after lifting them all out, my scanner is broken so I have to take pictures with my out dated ipod. This is why I hate myself.
Yes, I did put a filter on it. It’s not my fault, my camera sucks ass and this looked better. The first thing you can notice is that the piles get smaller. The bottom is my very first draft followed by the second and third. The first draft wasn’t written in the proper font and I had the document shaped like the book pages which I don’t recommend you do until the end otherwise you’ll have hundreds of pages on your hands.
This is draft numero uno of the prologue. As you can see there is literally one mark on the page. Because this was my first draft of anything, my family wasn’t too sure how much they could mark up for me to go over. (Always have more sets of eyes look over your work because even with three people looking at it, there will be mistakes.)
Editing draft two. Most of the words are the same, but the font is correct and I began to weed through the stupid shit. Also, I ripped the paper while I was taking off the rubber band…you’re welcome. To remind you, these are only three drafts that I printed. In reality I read through it about seven to eight times before it gets sent to the editor but I’m not made of money and ink is expensive.
This last picture is what it looks like when you get your work edited by an editor. This was just the sample I got while I was testing out editors to work with. If anyone is interested I will make a blog post about how I found my editor and what the process is like. For now, you can see how much more in depth editors go compared to yourself. They are the ones who really try to fix it up and make sure there are no mistakes with characters, story line, or grammar.
All of these were my first experience with the whole writing process. I’ve gotten so much better with time as I’m sure anyone would.