Friday, June 26, 2009

On Editing

If you look through my quotes, you'll see that I have two thoughts on editing, and both imply the same thing: editing can destroy your piece.

Quote #1: Revision can take a good rough draft, pound out the lumps, roll the kinks smooth, straighten the curves, round the edges, and untangle all the thoughtless knots—until there's nothing left but a bunch of flat, balmy words. Blech!

Quote #2: Write first for yourself; write again for others.

See, when I write, I create stories ~I~ want to read. I don't write for the readers. I don't write for the publishers, or the editors, or a particular age and gender group. I don't write for you.

I write for me.

And sometimes, I create something beautiful. I love the words, the story, the characters and settings and scenes. It's ~my~ story. It's the only story I'll print out, and it's the one I'll store in my file cabinet with all the other works that will never see paperback distributions. It's the story I'll dig out years from now and re-read. It's my story, kinks and all.

The other story, the polished copy you see published, or in paperback, or on someone's website, that's not my story. Not anymore. That one's been hacked-up and edited, reviewed, and revised by people who do not have worms in their skull. Scenes have been added, modified, and deleted, along with characters, voice, and setting. Personally, I may not like that story. In fact, I may ~hate~ that story.

But that's not my story, not anymore. My story is safely hidden away in a dark cabinet.

My published stories, the ones you buy in paperback or see posted online, those are ~your~ stories, and I can only hope you like them as much as I like my own.

- Eric

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