Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Oh the woes of editing.

With The Concourse to Victory finally available, I have not even paused for breath as I race forward into The Inclination to Destiny, having finalized the story-list and begun the final editing process.

I am my own biggest critic(as all writers should be), and re-reading my own work is never fun. I haven’t mentioned this before, but I’ve been involved in Boy Scouts of America for roughly 15 years now. So, roughly once a week for the past decade and a half, I have recited the Scout Law. I take it to heart, and the whole ‘a scout is humble’ bit never stops ringing in my ear.

Thus, we combine perfectionism with modesty, and that is a recipe for disaster. Every so often I’ll come up with something like Author of the Gust where even I enjoy reading it, and no matter how many times I’ve gone through it(ten, in the case of that book), my palms still sweat and my heart still races at the big climactic parts.

Unfortunately, this has happened exactly twice that I can remember. Usually, I’m only pretty sure something is good, and since I read it while writing it, its more like one of those books you can only read once. A second time and its just not that exciting.

Add to that the whole ‘humble’ bit, and I don’t really allow myself to go much beyond “I think my fans will enjoy this”. Hence, editing has become a very tedious process of reading something I’ve read before, trying to improve it, but knowing that the highest bar you can hope to reach is “pretty good”.

Now, it should be made clear that I am not writing for my fans. I am a firm believer in the sentiment that it is better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self. I am definitely writing for myself; the problem is, I am my own biggest critic, not my own biggest fan. I look to myself for criticism, and wait for others to offer compliments.

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