My Adventures In Editing – Part 1

2020 is the year I began writing the first draft of my first novel. I remember typing the last word, at the end of January 2021, and resisting the urge to centre “The End” underneath. I’m old enough to remember when that was done. I also remember when our typing teachers would yell, “two spaces after a period!” We were using manual typewriters and this was drilled into my mind so that it became an unconscious thing I did as automatically as breathing.

It took me a year and a half to unlearn that. Today, only one space is required after a period, because we all type on keyboards and not on clunky manual typewriters with carriage returns that ding. Those heavy contraptions are now found in museum displays. Funny, I don’t feel old enough to be considered an antique.

Bunny trails are my specialty—now back to the original reason for this post. After three months, I am finally finished the first round of edits on my manuscript. Did I mention I’m a recovering perfectionist? This round of editing caused me to relapse. I read every word of every chapter and edited the whole thing twice; the second time I added two new chapters—I didn’t see that coming.

Then the opportunity to have a professional editor critique the first chapter came, and I gleefully sent it off. When it came back there was so much red on the page, it was bleeding. The shock and insecurity slammed into me like a tidal wave.

It sucks, oh my word! What am I going to do?

You call yourself a writer and an editor… how pathetic. You may as well delete your social media pages and take on a remote job at a call centre.

Mom and Dad were right, actors and writers starve.

I’d heard about “imposter syndrome,” but this was my first time experiencing it. It rocked me! In a panic, I reached out to a fellow writer and editor. She was wonderfully supportive and talked me down off the ledge.

I emailed the manuscript to my alpha reader two days ago. She made me promise not to look at it or touch it while she reads it and makes notes for me. I have never been so quick to agree to anything in my entire life. Inside, I may have wept for joy.

Heck, ya! I want to think about something else. My MC has been stalking my dreams and the main plot line has been the narrative of my life for an entire year.

Freedom! (a picture of Mel charging across the Scottish bracken, with blue face paint, and sword raised flashed across my mind).

Then I sat down to write a short story, during a writing sprint, and twenty minutes later the white screen still mocked me. Did I mention I was leading that writing sprint? Awkward! I started the second round, returned to the white screen, put my fingers on the keys and…

I wrote a poem.

The relief was immense, though that short story still has to be written and submitted this week.

That’s tomorrow’s battle! Today, I write this blog post and give it one basic edit.

It’s Sunday. I need to rest.

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