I finished writing the epilogue of my latest book last night. Obviously, I was overjoyed and felt an overwhelming sense of relief. The celebrating was, however, tempered by knowing what's coming up next: editing. Lots of editing. A shitload of editing. Editing.
I have a confession to make: I'm one of those people who edits as she goes. *ducks for cover* For this book, there are five parts and an interlude (Part Five is very short). Whenever I reached the end of a part, I would go through and do a light edit. Also along those lines, I'm one of those people who, when stuck on a particularly irritating line, paragraph, or even scene that just isn't coming together, I will stay there until I can pick it apart and work it out. I know myself, and if I say "Oh, I'll just deal with it later"...I won't. I will gloss over it and it will be crap, and I may not have the ability or drive to un-crap it later on.
I know that there are writers out there who are clutching their pearls at my grave sins. I know a lot of people suggest, or even recommend, just sitting down to writewritewritewritewritewrite and just get the damn words out, and you can always fine-tune it later (or trash chunks of it completely). It's not a bad plan. If it works for you, awesome! It's not my style. While I'm always looking to improve, and I'm not opposed to forcing myself to break bad habits, for now, I'm going to stick with this routine. And if that sometimes means I'm going at a snail's pace when it comes to my writing, I can live with that for now.
Those of you who read that blurb to your right will see that I'm a knitter/crocheter. Years ago, I read in some knitting book or magazine that it was a good idea to take the time to take a good look at your work-in-progress every now and then. Sometimes, it's just to say, "Wow, this is nice! I'm so talented!" Sometimes, unfortunately, you notice something that just isn't working and needs to be fixed or changed before it has a negative effect on the whole project. Sure, you can always fix that ugly ribbing on your sweater later, but doesn't it sort of bug you knowing that it's there?
That said, I know that doing some editing as I go along doesn't really cut down on the editing I'll have to do now. I know my aforementioned bad habits. I half-joke that my final word count will go down by about 10,000 due to all the unnecessary words I'll cut. I'll probably have to go to the fridge and grab a beer for at least one brutal "what the FUCK was I thinking when I wrote that?!" moment.
Editing is rarely fun. It's usually an ego-deflating pain in the ass. (I'll do my best to remain chipper here, though!) But I owe it to my characters to make sure their story is told to the best of my ability. Considering that some of them have the ability to smite me without breaking a sweat, I'd better do a good job.