Blog #3: Editing vs Rewriting


Back in October, when I picked up my novel edit after letting it languish for a couple of months, I vowed to be less ambitious. Originally I had a 10-step revision plan that involved multiple rounds of rewrites. I promised myself that I'd abandon that perfectionistic plan and do the minimum required to make my manuscript readable.It's not working out that way. Since I figured out my novel's structure after writing it, there's tons of work to do to fit it into my new outline. So far I've revised/rewritten 171 pages of text in Anna's POV (yay!!!). But none of those pages even factored into my original revision plan. Oops.Now I've finally reached step 1 of my original plan, changing 65 pages from Evgenia's POV to Anna's. I expect that to take a couple of weeks. Then I'm going back to Evgenia's portion, the first 267 pages of the novel, and rewriting much of it, because it's garbage. If each chapter takes me 2 weeks to revise (I only work 1 afternoon/week), that's 22 weeks of editing. Yeesh.PLUS over the holiday I'm finally going to do some research! I've been putting that off, but since I get a week's vacation I'm going to spend hours at the library poring over books about life in pre-wwi and wwi-era Russia. Scintillating reads like The Electrification of Russia 1880-1926. I won't lie; I'm looking forward to it!I hope that I'll find some extra time during the holidays to write, too, so I can accelerate the above timeline. That would be nice. Because here's the thing:The word "editing" is really misleading. For years I've tried to understand how writers edit a draft into something completely different. In my mind, "editing" means marking up a text line-by-line to correct grammar and improve syntax. But revising a new draft is a completely different beast.It is rewriting. That's the only appropriate word for it, and I'm annoyed that we use the word "edit" to capture something so much bigger. When you're changing the plot, deleting chapters and adding new ones, combining characters and inventing growth arcs for them.... As Gob would say:twdcoda3-0Come on! You're almost writing a new book! That's "rewriting," not just editing. Say what you mean. ;-)