Sunday, December 18, 2011

Editing Woes

The process of working on my novel is stalled and stagnant. It is a slimy disgusting swamp, impossible to navigate, every step a boot-sucking hole that pulls you down into murky depths. Editing is simply something I'm not that familiar with I guess. Even in school I rarely wrote more than one draft of a paper. It's simply how I work, I think, at least when it comes to reports and such like that. With fiction, it's entirely different, and considering this is the first time I've really finished a novel, it's not really something I've done before. I've editted and rewritten short stories before, but that's about it. Even then, it's hard to know what to keep, what to change, and what to add. How much detail do you need? The answer is enough so that the reader has an idea of the place, but not so much that the reader cannot use his own imagination to fill in the blanks. That isn't exactly an easy line to toe.

So it's been slow. I've finally decided I'm going to give my novel a full read through, changing what I feel needs to be changed as I go, keeping a list of notes as I read, and simply powering through it. So far I've gotten through four pages out of 75. I guess part of the problem is editing is worse than writing, I'm not even coming up with new ideas, characters or stories, I'm simply going through the same situations, which isn't nearly as fun. I'm going to get through it, though, eventually.

I'm nearly finished with the Millennium series, which consists of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. All three are very good, the plot is a winding twisting and interesting tale, and the characters are fantastic. The story starts off relatively simple, but gets more intricate and complicated(though never needlessly so) throughout the three novels. The whole story is about Lisbeth Salander, who is an utterly believable and tragic character who is very different from most 'heroes' in fiction. She is fascinating and badass.

When I was working last night, I heard someone say "I haven't read since I got out of college," and I thought that was sad. Reading, in many ways, is better than watching movies, or tv, or playing a video game. I'm not sure how to describe it, but reading gives you worlds and characters which you imagine in your mind, you do not see the characters, so you must visualize them yourself. In this way, reading is entirely different from anything else. There is much less limitation. This is why when a book is made into a movie, many people become distraught that the character does not look like the one they imagined. A movie shows only one way to see a character, where as a line of description can be read and visualized in an infinite amount of ways. It just seems too many people these days have stopped reading, they are distracted by everything else, they became jaded by all the crap that we're forced to read in school, not to mention the fact that reading has become 'work' and is seen as 'lame' and 'boring'. Blah I sound like I'm an old man. Try reading something, anything. There's books that are more exciting and fast than action movies, more intriguing and mysterious than any spy movie, books that are about murders much more interesting than CSI, books with serial killers and thrilling car chases and brutal bloodbaths and anything you could think of or be interested in. If you enjoy any kind of movie or fictional tv show, then there is a book out there that you would enjoy reading.

Or not. Don't read. See if I care.   

"I suppose some editors are failed writers; but so are most writers." T.S. Eliot

"When in doubt, delete it." Philip Cosby


  1. If you want some help editing, shoot me a copy, i can throw in my 2 cents... though that's about all it will be worth.

  2. I agree that most movies fall short of the book; be it due to interpretation vs imagination or the screenplay writer taking license with the material depends on the movie / book in question.

    I found the movie Starship Troopers nearly unrecognizable when compared to the book. I believe the only thing the book and movie had in common were the title while the movie failed on so many levels.

  3. But I wasn't talking about specific novel-movie movies, I meant in general, movies are more limited than books, in that they do not require as much imagination as a novel. When reading, you must visualize everything in your mind, which means when you read a novel and someone else reads the same novel, you both visualized different stories, where as, in film, you are shown exactly what a character looks like and the clothes they wear.

    Not to say I don't enjoy movies, I do, quite alot, but I'm simply trying to defend the act of reading, which to some these days has become work rather than pleasure, likely because of the books they were forced to read in school.