Friday, July 3, 2015

Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough

This right here was one of my very first blog posts when I started writing over four years ago! Put a big smile on my face! I've come a long way, but I can still relate.

What about you?
November 2011

Oh, the bane, the bear, the brutality of the relentless self-editing.

Perfectly adequate sleeping hours are waving as they pass me by. The threat of yet another late night feeding from my little Rafey forebodes with each fleeting hour. And yet I convince myself that this is THE FINAL READ THROUGH. “You are almost there,” I chant in my head, providing my own personal pep squad—and no, I was not a cheerleader. Speaking aloud while my hubby sleeps nearby is a sure fire way to get booted from the comforts of my bed. I get enough grief from the supposed “jack hammering” of my fingers on the keys and the soft glow of the screen as it is. But honestly, the man can fall asleep sitting up on the couch with every light in the house on, and the TV roaring at absurd decibels. Men are peculiar creatures.

So here goes the final edit, the final read through, until page 3. How on earth have I read that sentence fifty-five times and still never noticed that for is supposed to be from? And why is she smiling so much, there is a dead body in this scene?

For those of you with irritating perfectionistic tendencies like me, the vastness of 90K+ words proves to be a daunting task to comb through. And as my self-prescribed deadlines come and go, I wonder if I will ever bite the bullet, pry the electronic, and thus metaphorical, pages from my white knuckled grip and lay it all on the line.

Okay, so maybe I am a baby writer. And some glorious day, I will know exactly what my editor will look for, my observations and insights into my own work will become super-keen and second-nature, but what about now? How much editing is enough?

And if I keep going, past the point of sanity, will I edit the life out of the pages? Is there such a thing as too much?

Now, obviously, editing is a good thing. My first novel, Beauty for Ashes, barely resembles the original text I pounded out in six short weeks. Thank goodness! We have all seen the amazing fruits of our labors when it comes to editing, shaping the story, adding the detail that really puts the reader in the moment. As if the words on the page were a holographic image instead of lines and curves of black and white.

But how do you know when it’s done? Ready? As good as you can possibly get it?

What is your litmus test for a truly completed manuscript?

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
Amy Leigh Simpson is the completely exhausted stay-at-home mama to the two wild-child, tow-headed toddler boys, one pretty little princess baby, and the incredibly blessed wife of her hunky hubby.
She writes Romantic Suspense chalked full of grace that is equally inspiring, nail-biting, and hilarious. And a little saucy! Okay fine, a lot saucy. :) She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers, and now uses her Sports Medicine degree to patch up daily boo-boos. Her greatest ambitions are to create stories that inspire hope, raise up her children to be mighty warriors for Christ, invent an all-dessert diet that works, and make up for years of sleep deprivation. 

She is represented by Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary, Inc.


kaybee said...

It's a process. I still don't know. I know when I'm NOT wielding the red pencil (metaphorically) (not really, I still print it out and use a red pencil) anyway, when I stop correcting things it's time to quit for the day because EVERYTHING looks good to me.
Kathy Bailey
Cutting and shaping in New Hampshire

Anonymous said...

As one who's self-editing one 111K novel while at the same time writing's its sequel (certifiably crazy?) this post could not have come at a better time. :)

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

it's so hard to know when to stop, isn't it? Gah! I could edit forever! :)