Frustration in Editing

You know how it goes. You wrote something years ago, or days ago.

It sucks.

There’s no engagement. There’s no flow. All it says is what happened. A mere summary of events. Not a scene.

That’s just not going to do.

Enter the wonderfully frustrating world of editing.

Have you ever remodeled a room? It’s much like editing.

Editing is remodeling, turning something from what once was useful into something more beautiful and utilitarian. Make sure to use every square inch the most effectively. If you’ve ever remodeled anything you know all about the stray wires and pipes that refuse to budge. Certain restraints have to be met. Some walls can’t be torn down, others need to be put up. That space under the stairs. Why is it there? Can we put something useful there or do we need to open it up? Add a little space?

I’ve heard the myth of writer’s block. I don’t believe it. One writes or one doesn’t.

I’ve never heard of editor’s block. I don’t believe it. One edits or one doesn’t.

Editing is one of the most violent acts. So many poor words chopped and lost, never to be seen in that company again. So many phrases burned alive because they were too cliche. So many ideas that should never be.

It’s exciting. A personal horror story we keep all to ourselves. The rending flesh spouts blood all over our faces. The floor itself littered with bits and pieces of the flotsam and jetsam ripped out and thrown away. All in the name of story.


The infamous serial killer.

Oh yeah, don’t forget the hammer. We’re going to need to take down that wall later.

Editing is frustrating.


One thought on “Frustration in Editing

  1. You summed it up very well with the last sentence. And “All it says is what happened”. That happens to me all the time when I’m writing. I’ll read what I’ve written for the day and I see I’m giving a blow-by-blow account of what happened. Description, but no questioning and observation of why, what how, what exactly is going on beneath the surface.

    Editing comes with a lot of pain…and a lot of leaning too. It’s actually the point in the writing process where we need to see a story, a beginning and an end and all points somehow have to tie together. It’s a massive puzzle. It’s the moment when you will learn whether the story will work or not :/

Where will it lead?

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