Is there such a thing as editing burn-out? If so, I think I have it.
Last Saturday, I finished revising One By One, then I left it alone for three days. On Thursday, I decided it was time to read the entire novel out loud to hear any mistakes. At that point, I’ve looked over this thing for so long that I skimmed the pages. Things didn’t go so well; I found errors, changed them, read it again, found more errors, read it again, then went back to original wording. I was all over the place, stressing out. It’s pressure knowing that other people will read your work for critique.
I was honestly two seconds away from giving up, clicking out of Word, and ignoring the document for good. Good thing I talked myself out of it. I think it’s wise to get other peoples’ opinions because I think I’m just being too hard on myself. Do most writers do this? While they’re taking a look to make suggestions for improvement and highlighting what works, I’ll be taking a much needed break from editing. I won’t touch One By One until I get everyone’s suggestions in front of my face.
I’m happy to say that my third draft is completed with 55,125 words, 12 point Calibri font, single spaced, 101 pages. Hallelujah! Finished August 16th at midnight–just in time to start my first rough draft of my 90 day novel challenge.
Needing a new pair of fresh and objective eyes, I’ve put on my big girl panties to ask for beta-readers. I found two in my hometown and one author. Just need one or two more. My goal was to get two readers and two authors–both have valuable information to share whether they realize it or not :).
I’ve always had a thick skin, so I like constructive criticism. I view it as a challenge to make my work better. It’s best to work out the kinks in rough drafts, instead of publishing with many errors and getting blasted with negative reviews all over the place. I respect honesty. Besides suggestions of improvement, I think it’d be cool if my beta-readers wrote in the margins when they had a suspect in mind. This would help me know if I have the right balance of red herrings or if it’s too predictable. Actually any feedback would be much appreciated! The fact that people will be taking time out of their busy schedules to help me out means a lot…more than they’ll ever know.
However, I’m only human so I have fears. What if my story sucks but they’re too nice to tell me? What if I send it out and no one finishes it? That’s why I want 4 or 5 (I like to weigh different opinions). If someone fails to come through, then I’ll have back-up. I totally have a Chapter 4 curse–sometimes critique partners disappear after chapter 3, claiming they read and made suggestions on chapter 4, but end up never sending it to me. It’s happened to me twice already. Definitely not a good feeling.
So far, there’s been no massive rewrites. I had to add a lot of details about setting (what clothes characters’ wore, what they looked like, rooms they stayed in, outdoor scenery). I waited to do this last because it’s the most boring aspect for me in the writing process. I see everything vividly in my mind where sometimes it’s hard for me to express it on paper. Plus, my 12th grade creative writing teacher said I overwrite too much–maybe I took that to heart to the 10th degree? Maybe now I underwrite? My main goal is to keep action going with short, sometimes choppy sentences. Some say I have a fast paced writing style like a sportscaster. Definitely something I’m trying to work on.
Once again, I really want to thank my beta-readers! And I want to thank Melissa for being my critique partner, sticking with me to the end. Without her help, I wouldn’t have gotten this far. I hate reading documents on computer screens (it seems like the process is neverending), so I would never force the people in my hometown to give me their email address, so I could send it to them. Instead, I printed my story out, will bind it this weekend, then give them a hard copy the next time I see them. I’m nice like that 🙂
For all the writers out there, how long does the beta process usually last? How long of a break do I have before going back to work on One By One?