Monday, May 25, 2015

Writing and Editing Advice from the Greats

The amazing Margaret Madigan and I recently finished a first draft of a novel we're writing together. I love the characters, and the story line. Unfortunately, I don't love editing, and I'm guessing that I'm not alone.

The beautiful feeling of "I'm finally finished" gives way to the depression that comes when you review the writing. The "I suck" blues set in.

That's when I remind myself that "the first draft of everything is shit." Ernest Hemingway said so, after all.

If that doesn't make me feel better, I remember another of Hemingway's little maxims: "Write drunk, edit sober." Sadly, sober editing doesn't make me feel any better, so I chuck Hemingway out and look for a great writer whose advice I might like better.

Terry Pratchett reminds me to “Let grammar, punctuation, and spelling into your life! Even the most energetic and wonderful mess has to be turned into sentences.” 

Apparently no one is about to let me off the editing hook. Even Joyce Carol Oates has something to say about my editing. "The first sentence can't be written, until the final sentence is written."

Fine. I give up. I'm off to edit. 


  1. Lol, I feel your pain, Merissa! One word at a time. That's my advice. I actually start to feel better about the book the more I edit it. Congrats on completing your first draft!

    In gratitude,
    Marissa xo

  2. In some ways I find editing easier than the first draft. All those blank pages scare me.

  3. I prefer editing too. Just BURN through and get to the end!

  4. Get to it, Missy. I'm a rough taskmaster, after all. *cracks whip*

    And also, editing is why I continue to hone my craft so I will someday write the perfect first draft that has no need of editing.

    Because I hate editing as much as you do. lol.