Right now I’m doing a bunch of editing on a paranormal romance series I have in the works. I used to despise editing and rewriting, it was my most hated part of the process. I would much rather be writing! Over the years I somehow came to like it, (almost) as much as the writing stage. There’s something satisfying about plucking and cutting and rearranging, a bit like cleaning your house and watching everything get nice and orderly and tidy. Maybe you hate cleaning. Maybe you hate editing. I like the results of both though, so I suppose I have to do the work.
Editing can be hilarious too, if you’re willing to poke fun at yourself. When I read through my rough drafts I do a lot of head-shaking and chuckling at the things I’ve slapped down. Here’s a list of some funny things I’ve encountered when I come face to face with–myself.
- I shware I kan spel, I promus! I’m amazed at some of the words I manage to spell incorrectly, and then fail to correct, despite Word putting that red squiggly line underneath them. Usually I’m clipping along, getting words out in a rush, and don’t want to harsh my vibe, so I just throw down a few letters that resemble the word I want and move on. I’ve also hilariously mixed up homonyms or used a completely different word than what I meant altogether, much to my own amusement.
- What the hell was I thinking? I’ve come across passages that made no sense in the context of the story. Some of these were things I meant to develop but fell by the wayside, which is understandable, but some completely baffle me as to why I put them in there to begin with. Did I actually write this? Did someone sneak in during the night and add it to my story? Was I sleep-writing? It’s a mystery!
- Pronoun confusion. – Writing a scene between two people of the same gender is easy, but when you have two (or more) ‘hers’ or ‘hims’ you have to be careful to differentiate (without being hamfisted and distracting). I’ve had to untangle scenes where even I couldn’t figure out who was doing what. It would be much easier if I just decided that two people of the same gender will never speak to each other again in any of my stories. EVER!
- Who the hell are you? I once wrote a book where a minor character showed up early in the story, then popped back up much later. However, when I was writing the later part I couldn’t remember his name and didn’t want to break my writing flow, so I gave him a placeholder name instead of going back to look. When I was editing and got to the later part, I was so confused who this character was supposed to be and why he seemed to already know everyone. I felt super stupid when I figured it out.
- We don’t need no grammar! The cringeworthy grammar mistakes I’ve made while dashing out my story would make a professional editor drink themselves into a coma. Thankfully I clean it all up before I send it to mine, or she’d probably show up at my house and punch me in the face.
I have to laugh at myself and not take the editing process too seriously when I realize I’ve done really dumb things in my rough draft. That’s what the editing and rewriting is for, after all. It’s kind of like looking at yourself in the mirror before you leave the house to go out to dinner, and discovering you’ve put your dress on backwards and your shoes on your hands.
Have you ever had a laugh-at-yourself moment while editing?
Urban fantasy and paranormal romance author.