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Saturday, 12 February 2011

Edit Progressing, and Going Well

Painting The Writing Master by Thomas EakinsImage via WikipediaSo it continues. Last night I finished chapter 20, so, this morning I start at page 189. Chapter 21 is titled 'Dangerous Words', which sets off the thought, often expressed, that words are powerful influences. We toss and fling them about at our peril and that of others. In conversation, we are quite careless, understandably, since constant consideration of our words would make talking a stilted and hesitant occupation. But, in writing, there's really no excuse for carelessness. In writing, we can always go back over what was written, find the right word and replace that phrase we wrote in the heat of creativity.
And that is what editing is about, mostly. The work I'm currently trying to make perfect has been considered many times since it was first written. It is no longer raw, no longer the unsculpted product of my frenzy at the keyboard. I have revisited with the tools of the craft to remove the carbuncles, soften the spikes, sharpen the contours and repair the odd fissures that have occurred in the making. That is, perhaps, why it is taking less time to polish now. Most of the work has been done and this visit is only to provide that final sheen and to ensure that I haven't, inadvertently, changed the colour of a character's eyes or emasculated a man by turning him into a woman along the way.
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