Friday, February 4, 2011

Ironing out the Pantser

I wonder; are Pantsers the only writers that enjoy editing?
 My Plotter co-blogger is editing her manuscript and from the sound of it, there’s a lot of emphasis on the labor part of "labor of love."  My other Plotter friends bemoan the process of editing on Facebook and Twitter.  I’m pretty sure it’s a global consensus that by round 4 or more, everyone is sick of even their greatest manuscript, but right now I LOVE editing my book.
I love it in a way I think only a Pantser can.  The rough draft of a Panster can take off into uncharted territory.  Heck, my book only had a basic map, so most of it was uncharted.  I attended a workshop with Linnea Sinclair a few months ago and I clung to a key piece of her wisdom:  Give yourself permission to write a [crappy] first draft.  She said, especially for a Pantser, the first draft can be a flow of creativity. Follow the muse and don’t worry about perfection.  The second draft is for perfecting.
This way of writing totally works for me.
It’s only now, as I work on my second draft, that so many pieces of Murphy’s Law are coming together.  I already know my characters, backward and forward, and I know how it ends!  Now I can have fun with it.  I feel a lot like a director.  “Okay, people!  So, in this scene, you’re going to want to be more aggressive than in take one.  You’re feeling a lot of attraction here because in the next chapter you finally kiss her.  And you have to flirt a little more too honey; so he knows you’re into it.  Got it? Good. Aaaaaaaand Action!”
I can also take the time to fill in more details about a scene; how does it feel and sound? I’m the worlds worst for skipping that in rough draft.  I know how it’s supposed to feel, but at the time, the characters are more important.  I’ll skimp on the details until the second draft.  I love building a scene, but when I first write it, description can bog me down.
Another reason I love second draft edits is because I will finally let someone read it.  Two someones actually.  Writing the first draft is a very lonely experience.  Now, as I finish editing a few chapters, I send them to my beta readers.  Knowing I have someone holding me accountable and anxiously awaiting the next chapter keeps me motivated.  I admit it; this is my favorite part of writing.  If there comes a time though, when I need to edit it again and again … and again and again for an agent or editor, ask me how excited I am about editing.  Of course, I can only hope I’m that lucky.
What about you?  Do you love or loathe the editing process? When does it make you want to scream?


Elizabeth Michels said...

Editing is a LABOR of love for sure. Only when I gave birth, it took 4 hours and then they handed me a beautiful, little baby. I am one month into this labor, and still nobody is handing me a beautiful, little, completely edited manuscript. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go edit something even if it kills me. :)

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