July 30, 2010

What Is Your Editing Blind Spot?


I'm bruised and broken. The revisions for my MG science fiction novel are kicking my trash. Hard.

"But I thought you loved editing!" my husband chirped to me a few days ago after I collapsed on the sofa, twitching.

"I do, but these edits are hard," I groaned back to him. "So hard!"

So yeah. This situation is kind of ironic. Usually, I look forward to the revision process and I simply love slashing through my manuscript with a bright red pen. But these revisions make me want to pull out my hair and chew off my fingernails. They make me want to chug a gallon of rocky road ice cream. And vomit. A little bit.

But why? Why are these edits kicking my trash when I used to love it so much before?

It took me awhile but I figured out why. Aha!

This is what I realized... When I self-edit my manuscript, I like to focus on certain things: smoothing out paragraphs, tightening sentences, and enrichening the setting. I tend to whittle away at the small stuff rather than pick apart the big picture things like character arcs and motivation.

Big Picture Stuff = My Editorial Blind Spot

And this is why I'm pulling my hair out! This current round of revisions makes me do all of the big picture stuff! Beefing up arcs! Infusing more motivations! Eeeeek! I'm so out of my element!

Still...it's a good growing experience--and I know my book will be much better because of it. But why, why is it so HARD?

(Sorry about the whiny voice!)

So what about you? What is your editing blind spot?


  1. I usually make a mess in my editing. I delete a character, then add them back in. I'm such a shocker with the big picture, but I find the small stuff and grammar fun and really satisfying.

  2. Ugh! I feel your pain. Whiny voice = justified. What you love isn't always good for you, and this is why editing is hard for me. I sometimes have to rip apart what I'm really attached to. Other times, I just have ten different ways to present the same thing, but I can't figure out which way fits the best. My Achilles heel is the first chapter.

    I definitely need a short break when it seems to be kicking my arse.

  3. Grammar is my hidden nightmare. I'm fine on the bigger stuff, but when it comes to every little hyphen, semicolon and the glory of the grammatically correct sentence structure I flail. Not to mention get very frustrated. Fortunately my writing partner is much better in this area than me:-) Keep it up Caroline - you're already past one of the biggest hurdles!!

  4. I get stuck on commas. I have to read sentences a million times until they sound perfect. Then I also have a hard time with the big picture when it comes to summarizing books. I'm usually like...Huh?!? That's what I was supposed to get out of that.

  5. I feel your pain. Mine are plot and character arcs. I enjoy editing to make sure characters stay true to themselves but CHANGE throughout the story? I've also realized recently that I have trouble making sure the plot arc continues and doesn't sag anywhere and also that it begins and ends in the right place. I'd rather do five drafts of grammar and mechanics edits than this, but it has to be done.