Monday, April 6, 2015

Trasitioning from Writer to Editor - Author Life

Hoo boy. It's that time again. Time to drop the Writer's Hat and pick up the Editor's Hat. Lent has been great for editing this year.

 For those who don't know, a Writer's Hat is a big, fluffy, brightly colored hat that's comfortable and soft and feels like perfection.

The Writer's Hat - the Image of Perfection (In the form of a hippie hat.)
Image Via
An Editor's Hat is more like a barbed wire crown covered in fire ants. You get used to it after a while, but only after it's been sitting on your head long enough for you to ignore it.

Just add fire ants
(Courtesy of the Devil's Rope Museum, TX)
 Writing is always fun. You get to throw your ideas out there willy nilly and you think everything you write is amazing and perfect.

Then you put on that not-quite-comfortable Editor's Hat. The barbed wire is a nice reminder of the cuts you must take and the babies you must kill. The fire ants, meanwhile, eat away at your positive energy and spit out poison LIES that you're the worst writer in history.

I promise you, every writer in the world has thought this at one point. If you haven't, you're not trying hard enough.

Stupid fire ants.

"I thrive on your positive energies... and the occasional caterpillar."
(Image via

Eventually though you become comfortable in your Fire Ant Infested Barbed Wire hat. You've toughened up your skin against the cuts, and the dead babies you had to eliminate don't seem to matter as much anymore. And best yet, the fire ants struggle more and more to find a hole in your ego with which to harvest delicious positives.

You feel just right.

This is where I am right now.

Over Lent, I took off that Writer's Hat and put on the Editor's Hat. At first, I just had the Standard Hat. All the editing was done by me based on my decisions of what needed to be edited.

One of the biggest things that needed editing was the climax of the book. The last time I looked at it was LAST Easter, when I finished rewriting this draft of the book. And I must have been totally worn out by that point since the climax made NO SENSE at all. XP So I rewrote it.

Then I pulled up the professional edits. -GASP-

Time to put on the Special Editor Hat. Add some bees, hot sauce, and burning coals.

I love my editor. He's probably the best person I could have ever had for an editor. He's got military history, so he knows the military side of my story. He likes anthro stories. He enjoys urban fantasy. He's wonderful at pointing out my inconsistencies in character, action, and plot points. He's always pushing me to add more and better description to make a stronger, more interesting connection to the reader and paint a stronger picture in their minds. Heck, he even has a hilarious sarcastic streak and writes "No, no, no, no" every time one of my characters does something out of character.

But. And there's always a but.

He also edits almost every other sentence. The comments are so big and long that my computer often slows down because it can't keep up. It often takes me an HOUR to add the edits he's suggested to just FIVE PAGES.

Don't get me wrong. I LOVE my editor. I could almost FEEL my novel leveling up while I added his edits. I wouldn't have it any other way. But it is a lot of work.

Thankfully, the Editor Hat is starting to feel a little more comfortable on my head, so editing is getting easier and better. 

My editor is about half way through my book right now with his edits and I'm patiently waiting for the rest of them. And once I'm finished with those edits, then it's time to hang up the Editor's Hat and put the Writer's Hat on. And weirdly, this is actually hard to do.

As difficult as it is to put on the Editor's hat, it's just as difficult to put the Writer's Hat back on. By now, I'm USED to the harshness of editing. I'm ready to smash things and rip them apart and polish the rough stone left behind by my cutting. Which means I'm struggling to let myself believe that I'm writing perfection.

It means writing in general is hard.

It's very easy to fall into that trap of writing a little, then editing too much. You have to tell yourself that your first draft writing is the BEST EVER just to keep yourself writing enough that you have something to properly edit in the future.

So here I am, nearly ready to ditch the Editor Hat and ready to don the Writer's Hat.

Book Two, here I come. Wish me luck.

1 comment:

  1. Hug, I guess its the same in every profession. As a teacher there are day I feel like I'm the best, my kids are learning and I'm doing a great job. Then there are days I come home feeling like I'm the worst teacher ever and that I'm doing my kids no good why did I even choose this profession. But your right as you get used to fire ant bites then you start to feel better about what you are doing and who you are in a profession. This entry lone was cute and very creative. Here have a black star. * (I can't make it gold so deal xp)


Please post a comment! I allow anonymous comments, so no annoying sign ups and hoops to jump through. I can't wait to hear from you!