Editing. A necessary evil…

This is not me complaining: this is my reality.

I received word a few days ago that a publishing house is very interested in a story I’ve written, but that it needs a few edits and tweeks. The tweeks were lined out for me, but the editing is up to me alone. I’ll say this once, and it’s true: I am not now nor have I ever been exclusively married to my words.  Sentences get divorced, words undergo formal separations. I know every story is made stronger with good editing and refining. A word change here, a phrase turn there. It can only get better.

Here’s my dilemma, though, and the one I’ve struggled with forever as a writer. When is editing too much, and when is it not enough?

I like certain phrases, and I know I overuse them. Once is good writing, twice can be annoying, and anything more than that is outright non-imaginative. There are certain words I tend to use as descriptors, which in reality aren’t. Again, I know this and always try to find alternatives.

But it’s hard work.

When I was just writing because it gave me pleasure, I didn’t think about these things. I wrote phrases the way I liked them; I used words the way I wanted to. But since I’ve finally bitten the proverbial bullet and ventured into the world of publishing, I can no longer simply write just  to please myself. I realize I need to stick to certain grammatical rules and sentence structures. I understand the need to use active voice and not passive. I agree with sticking to one point of view at a time, even though every character’s thoughts are flowing through me simultaneously.

I know all this, and I accept I need to do it in order to get my work in front of a paying and adoring public.

But it’s hard work.

Who was it that said “anything worth doing is worth doing well?”

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