What Comes After the Last Sentence is Written?

Picture Editing, hours and hours of editing. 
So you think you have a good story? It’s possible, but without great editing, your good story may never be great. Hell, it may never go beyond your computer.
A couple of weeks ago I finished In My Dreams, the companion novel to R.I.L.Y. Forever. Did I celebrate? I sure as hell did. It's a big deal finishing a novel, a very, very big deal. Then I stared at my computer for a couple of days, terrified to start the editing process. I knew that once I did, the elation I felt upon typing that the last word would turn into frustration and doubt. That's just how it is with me.

I write the very best first draft I can, keeping a list of areas and issues of concern––timeline issues, changes in character names, location, pacing problems, tense issues, adverbs, repetitive words to check for, passive tense, …The list is long. 
Then, when I’m brave enough, I tackle my novel from the beginning. Sometimes, I love what I wrote, many times, not so much. Sometimes I question if I was blind or drunk when I wrote a chapter. There are days I fall in love with my characters once again and days where I cannot stand to hear their voices in my head. I scream at them to shut up and let me get some sleep at night. Often they disregard my wishes. 

Some days I fall in love with only one of five chapters I’ve tackled that day. Worse, in a moment of pure idiocy, I get a great idea to revise Chapter One heavily, which causes a cascade effect on all the other chapters. 
Why, why do I do this? I want to bang my head against the wall when this happens. I want to throw my computer in the lake. It would be less painful to stick a pen in my eye than to revise all twenty chapters! 
Still, I forge on. I drink cup after cup of coffee. I read the work out loud. I cry as my ears bleed from the dribble I just read out loud. I send chapters to my beta reader, others to my editor asking, no begging for guidance. 

Then, out of the blue, it hits––the magical moment when the prose is crisp and clear, when the characters come to life, and I actually like them, when the story is something that makes me smile with pride. I don't know the exact moment this happens. It's different for every story, every author. For me, it comes when my daughter, who is a cut throat critical reader calls and says, "You got it right this time. I'm proud of you mom.”

Then, my friends, all is right in my world and I say to myself, “It wasn’t that bad. I love writing and I like editing. I think, I’ll do it again.” Picture
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Published on August 10, 2016 06:00
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