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  1. #1
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    What do you do when...

    ... you're so sick of your novel that you want to burn it and rip it into shreds and tape the shreds to a rocket and fire it into the sun?

    Can you tell that I'm editing? God, it's painful. My partner keeps giving me extremely helpful and extremely accurate critique that requires re-writing and now I just want to put the laptop in cement and blow it up.

    Maybe it's time to give it a little break. How do you re-invigorate yourself when you're maybe... 80% done with self-editing, but that 20% is the most horrible stuff ever?



  2. #2
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    I can't speak for anyone talented enough to be published already but it sounds like you've finished a draft and are now taking it from merely adequate to terrific. You should pat yourself on the back for the work you've done already! If you have a pretty complete first draft, I envy you (small comfort perhaps). You've created a story from nothing but imagination and that's no small feat. You've already done a huge part of the creative effort. Forbid yourself from looking at it or even thinking about it for two weeks while you re-charge your creativity. Then resist the temptation to "rush" through the last 20% by taking only 5% every few days. Hope this helps.

  3. #3
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    Don't look at editing as your enemy--embrace it as your friend. Almost anyone can write a first draft of something; it's when you revise it into something other than a jumble of words, characters, plot points, etc. that the magic happens.

  4. #4
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    Nothing wrong with taking a break.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Frank Baron's Avatar
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    At some point you need to take ownership of the words and say "enough." Don't show it to your partner anymore, or let him/her do the final edit and get a huge hug in Acknowledgments or (gasp!) a co-writer credit.

    If you make yourself crazy with edits now, you'll be a basket case when the REAL editing starts -- post acceptance.

    Take a break from it. Start another novel. Write a short story. Catch up with relatives. Learn to play the guitar.

    When you get back to it, your eyes and psyche will be refreshed and the final run-through should go more smoothly. Good luck.

  6. #6
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    I agree with the above - I feel much better about editing than about the first draft process. I always have a creeping feeling that what I've just scrawled in the first-draft run is unadulterated crap, and I just can't see it because I'm too busy scribing the next line. It's when I go back and scratch out the irredeemable stuff and the extra words, and polish what's left to the nth degree, that I really feel like I'm writing.

    But to answer your original question directly: I buy fire insurance.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Hawkwood View Post
    I always have a creeping feeling that what I've just scrawled in the first-draft run is unadulterated crap, and I just can't see it because I'm too busy scribing the next line. It's when I go back and scratch out the irredeemable stuff and the extra words, and polish what's left to the nth degree, that I really feel like I'm writing.

    .
    Well put, John.

  8. #8
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    I start fleshing out my next story or whatever creative process gets me excited about writing again. Good Luck!!!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Tinman View Post
    I start fleshing out my next story or whatever creative process gets me excited about writing again. Good Luck!!!
    Mmm, I dunno. Isn't this how people end up with a dozen unfinished projects?

    There's nothing wrong with taking a brief break. But I believe in finishing one project before moving on to another. That's me, though. I know authors who work on two and three projects at a time. My question is: if you do move on to something else, how likely are you to go back and finish the one you're currently sick of?

  10. #10
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    When you feel sick of it, put it away in a drawer. Do something else for the next X weeks (work, recreation, whatever). When you have sorta slightly forgotten what you wrote, take out the manuscript, and read it again. Chances are that after (however many) weeks or months you'll see it in a different light.

    It might be that you decide to trash it. It might be that a light goes on, and you see what you have to change to make it work. But time out is just great to make you see more clearly. You can even start another novel during that time.

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