I like to think, and I tell myself many encouraging things during this stage, that I can do it. All I need to do is focus. I need to see what is before me. I need to think clearly. Detach myself from the manuscript and think clinically. Think logically, forget what is coming and see only what is in front of me.
Yet it is not that simple.
It doesn’t matter that I’m an English major. It doesn’t matter that I understand the fundamentals of grammar, syntax, writing, punctuation and all that other nonsense at this point because I’m sick and tired of looking at the manuscript. I know there are countless writers out there that are going to throw rocks at me, moan, hiss, and boo at this statement saying that they never feel this way but really, it’s the truth.
After spending so much time in one world, in the heads of my characters, in their lives, it’s difficult for me to detach myself and proofread; to nitpick punctuation marks, formatting and details. I end up seeing what I wish as opposed to what I read.
Editing is time consuming because I must read every sentence three times. And at least one of those times I must read it aloud. Reading it aloud is the best way for me to determine if it is readable, if the words flow, if it makes sense. I need to ensure all punctuation is proper, that I know who is speaking, that I am not confused at any time about who is speaking to whom or about what. That it makes sense.
And if I make a change, add a comma or delete a word, I must read the entire passage again. Sometimes I must read the entire paragraph to ensure the cadence of the passage is preserved. Occasionally, I must read the entire chapter, go back, and read previous chapters to make sure I didn’t contradict something someone else said or did. Editing is time consuming and nowhere near as fun as creating the story. Which is why I am writing this post as opposed to editing.
Alas, I do want to release the third novel next month and I must finish the editing before hand. So I will leave off and go back to … doing the laundry, cooking, bathing the doggies, and occasionally reading my manuscript aloud to see if it flows as lovely as I would like.