After completing the editing of a novel, I have mixed emotions. I may be pleased that I’ve come in 200 words under the recommended word count of 80,000. I sometimes use those words to backfill sentences to add to the impact of them but usually, after months of editing, I’m heartily sick of the process, and even a bit resentful of the story I’ve devoted seven months of my life to creating.
I need the stimulus of a new project and yearn to plan and research my next novel. Explaining the tedium of editing to friends, I’ve come up with a number of similes, including these:
1) Editing is like going through a fully-grown crop field, your wonderful novel, walking between the rows to find hundreds of weeds. Destroying them by hand, you turn around and walk back finding loads more!
2) Editing is like inspecting a house you’ve designed and constructed from the foundations up. Initially, you walk from room to room, seeing if it’s navigable and would be a welcoming place for a reader. Before long, you’re crawling the walls like a lizard looking for prey.
3) Editing a book is like examining a bowl of muesli with a toothpick, finding some of the ingredients you used are not of the best quality….
What is the editing process like for you?