Friday, November 9, 2012

Editing is the Opposite of NaNoWriMo

I'm not doing NaNo this year. I have an idea I wanted to try, a new idea, but I also wanted to edit and continue on with the WIP, the same project that NaNo helped me burst through last year.

So unlike the past two Novembers, I am not powering through lack of ideas and lack of sleep to get to 1,667 words a day. Instead, I am crossing out swaths of my manuscript, making notes, ready to do some further research and rewriting.

Editing and rewriting is not what NaNoWriMo is about. In fact, I found NaNo the most helpful in combating first draft anxiety, where the Inner Critic (I named mine Buzzy) flat out inhibits writing--with everything from "But it's  not good!" to "But you need to do more research!"

I knew that trying to reach 50,000 words this month and trying to fine tune the manuscript would result in a very cranky me come the end of the month.

I am reading my book, all printed out, with pen in hand, being tactile with it in a way that editing on a computer screen could never replace. But I don't think Buzzy has made a come back, necessarily. I'm not being overly critical of myself or the story.

But editing takes careful consideration. If I get rid of this very long scene (or related chain of scenes, as I did yesterday and today), then how will it affect the rest of the story? Does it leave room for other, more important things that I know I'll need to add? What about deleting that word, so the sentence can flow better? Unlike the last time I attempted to revise a longer story, I'm seeing the possibilities for expanding or deepening the story. And that's all good.

This kind of anal retentiveness can't really happen when you're galloping toward a word count goal everyday. I remember feeling so excited during NaNo--the enthusiasm of the participants was infectious and seeing your pages grow everyday is so exciting. But I'm also excited editing with pen and paper. I mean, when you get to draw large X's through at least three pages of your WIP, there's a deep sense of satisfaction inside, like you are vanquishing an evil dragon of crappy pointless scenes and bad prose.



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