…is, without a doubt, editing.
I’ve heard editing described as “killing your children.” That sounds so vicious, doesn’t it? But once I started rereading my books and making edits, I understood what that person meant.
When i write, I make little jokes, create inventive little turns and twists of phrase, and slip in little details that I love uncovering the second time around, when I reread my words. However, just because these little details are creative, that doesn’t mean that they fit for my story, that they belong in the final product. Many times, with a heavy heart, I must use the Backspace key to remove little phrases and sections that I feel are excellently written, just because they don’t flow with the rest of the story.
Some editing is easy. It’s easy to run Spell Check in this modern age, to scroll through my document and search for those little wavy red lines under a word.
It’s harder, however, to catch places where I used the wrong bit of grammar, or where I had a little mental fart and used the wrong character’s name or the wrong pronoun (“She ran a finger over his breasts”… hmm, maybe not…). Those little errors require a closer read – and it’s one of the ways that my advance readers help me so much, by catching the little slip-ups I miss.
The hardest editing of all, however, is fixing those places where, although the writing shines and sparkles, creative and well-composed, it just doesn’t belong for the story. Those parts, where I’m forced to delete a paragraph or page that I loved to write, are the hardest of all.
Still, all that sorrow of editing is worth it for a finished book that truly comes together!
(The worst part of self-publishing, by the way? It’s when the book goes live; looking at a brand new title, with no way of knowing if readers will love it or hate it. That part is truly the most nerve-wracking!)