I think I have been editing for too long, and am getting to the point where I forget how much I actually enjoy writing. Figuring out what comes next, putting one word after another.

While editing I’ve been getting bogged down with big picture things, with tying loose plot strings together in knots and making sense of the thing as a whole. I think the sense of mystery is gone, which is likely good for the novel but not so good for me. I know this story, these characters. It’s like I can see the finished statue in the marble so well that I’ve become impatient with chiseling and polishing and I really want to just whack the whole thing with a hammer.

I keep telling myself to think of it more like painting, that I’m learning as I go and I’ve always had trouble finishing things. With painting it has become easier, I can see and feel when something is done. It’s all there, on a nicely contained surface with corners and I can see it all at once and acknowledge that yes, this is finished, this is complete. But it’s so much harder with pages upon pages of thousands of words, being unable to look at the whole thing at once. Working on one section and then another and still having dozens more that need attention. I suppose it is a matter of learning and gaining perspective, but I’m still finding it difficult.

I started something new this morning. Just a couple hundred words about someplace different. I always start with place, I’ve found. The characters and the events come later, but the place tends to stay the most important. I like this new location, and I’m looking forward to spending time in it, to figuring out the mysteries there by putting one word after another.

But I also need to learn to embrace the less surprising bits and not leave things incomplete and unpolished. To finish with the old places before delving too deeply into the new ones.

Categories: writing