X is for Xesturgy

This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z challenge–blogging every day in the month of April (except Sundays!) with each letter of the alphabet.

The word ‘xesturgy’ means ‘polishing.’ Technically it means to polishing an object, like stones, but it’s hard to find good words that start with X, so I’m going to use it in the sense of polishing your writing. After all, a body of writing is an object, sorta, right?

The xesturgy of a manuscript is vital to its success (see, I used it in a sentence). No one turns out a perfect first draft. If you know any writers who claim they do, they’re lying. It’s impossible to turn out a perfect first draft because you don’t know what the story looks like until you get it all out. Something you inserted in the beginning might not fit anymore by the time you get to the end. Some details may have ran into dead ends. Things need to be clipped. Xesturgy isn’t editing, though. Editing and rewriting are vital first steps to shaping up a rough draft, but it still needs a bit of polishing before you send it out into the world.

Even when you think you’ve done all you can to edit and fix up a manuscript, you should go over it one more time. Run that cloth over it and make it shine. Ideally, let it sit for a bit so you can look at it with fresh eyes, then give it another wipe. This will increase your chances of success when it lands in the hands of an editor or agent. And don’t worry–if it gets accepted, there will still be more arounds of xesturgy. Editors will polish that baby until you can see your face in it. It seems like the polishing is never done, but some day it will be. Then you won’t ever have to look at that story again if you don’t want to.

How do you use xesturgy on a manuscript? How much do you polish before you’re comfortable sending it off?

By the way, when this challenge is over, I’m moving on to the next! Come join me in May for NaBloPoMo, blogging every day in May about photos!

NaBloPoMo_PHOTO

16 comments

    1. Oh, absolutely! No matter how much you polish that manuscript, you still find a place where it doesn’t shine enough. Sigh! Our work is never done…

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  1. I think it’s funny how often I think something is truly complete, only to have to go back later when I’m writing another chapter because I realized I needed to include something I didn’t, or need to take something out I feel is best revealed in the later chapter.

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    1. It’s a very fun challenge actually, mostly pictures! I’ve gotten addicted to blogging! I feel the same…in fact I’m editing right now and remembering why I wrote the story in the first place.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. Great post! I am writing my first novel and am working on the first draft. My problem lies in wanting to edit too much as I write instead of just getting it down on paper. I have to lock that “editor” up in a box until the draft is done. But it keeps screaming to get out!

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    1. Yes, if I can give any advice, it’s not to edit as you write! Don’t worry, there will be PLENTY of time for that later, trust me. Just focus on getting the words down first.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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