I’ve often heard the term editing cave from writer friends. However, until this week, I never knew how much it could sink one into its depths.
I’m beginning the process of getting my first drafts from my three frenetic days of Camp Nano into shape for their eventual publication as a collection, Marble Halls. I chose my second story first, as I rarely do anything in the conventional way. Upon beginning, I was very mistaken to think that editing a story of less than a thousand words would be any less exhaustive than editing a four hundred page novel.
At first glance, I saw typos and all things glaringly obvious. This I had expected. Then I sent it to a friend. After pressing send, the errors came out to meet my eyes again. With a sigh, I cleaned those up, too. Finally! It was ready to be filed away as done. Or was it? Another reading revealed more subtle edits of tightening the language and looking for repeated words.
It was tedious work, but as I waded through my manuscript, something Rebecca Odum said to me came to mind. She told me that she likes to edit in order to make the writing the very best it can possibly become. As I reviewed my now thrice-edited short story, I felt a surge of pride which would have been impossible with either Version One or Version Two. Yes, the editing cave is deep and long, but it makes things better. And isn’t that what we ought to be about, as writers?
Later on, I’ll be heading back into the editing cave again to give the same treatment to each of my original pieces, as well as those I add to the post nano collection. This time, I’ll understand more closely why I’m doing the task, Herculean though it may appear. Creating, at least for me, is full of gleeful inspiration, but making it the best it can possibly become is why I’m proud to have created it.