Getting into the Ring
With each round of editing, like a boxing match, my story took a beating. Whether I was told to take it out, put it back in, completely change a character, or massive story plot holes were brought to my attention, each round of editing took a significant amount of time and mental energy.
But before I could even get into the ring with another person, I had to get ready. First, Stephen King's book “On Writing” completely changed my writing process. I went from re-reading and editing page by page to free writing my entire novel in a week. So, when it came time to edit, let’s just say there was a lot of editing. While writing five consecutive days left me with little storyline confusion, it did leave me with a ton of grammatical errors, basic scene description, poor dialogue, and minimal character development. But, of course, I didn’t read these things, as I was just so excited to have finished the story! Thankful, my first beta readers, my "trainers", took their job seriously.
It’s easy for the author to see the scene fully, as we can envision it without any support from the text. However, the reader is completely dependent on my ability to "paint the picture". I frequently forget this in my first draft. This is the why beta readers are so incredible useful and necessary. This is also another reason why “walking away” is important as well.
So the first step in my "training" is taking a step back from my story, literally forget the whole thing. This is easy for me because I have a horrible memory. During this time, my beta readers are hard at working, reading the very rough draft and sending me all their feedback. So then when I am ready, armed with my feedback from beta readers, I can sit down and basically start over with my story. Line by line, reading it anew. (ps. the first edit for me always takes the longest.)
Then, step two, once I feel as if I have taken my story as far as it will go, it is time to get a true editor... now comes the fun part...