2016 – An “Open Letter” to Editing
As Thomas Edison (whose birthday I share) once said, “Success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.” The same is true of writing. The glorious, fun, wild ride that is the first draft is the 10%, while editing is the 90%.
Editing, that’s why I’m letting you know right now that in 2016 you and I are going to become intimately acquainted. I’m not talking about your cousin Proofreading with all her easy to memorize and apply rules. I’m talking about you, Editing–the roll up your sleeves, take a big breath before plunging into rough, icy waters, slog in the muck, revision and rewriting kind of editing that transforms a promising first draft into a polished novel worthy of being bought, read and enjoyed by readers.
Editing, you and I have not always had the healthiest of relationships. In the early days, you constantly peeked over my shoulder and pointed out countless changes to a single sentence before letting me move on to the next. This is why I virtually abandoned you—so I could get used to the freedom of letting thoughts flow freely on the page. Those were good times, I have to admit.
But, Editing, I know you have another side, a bright, glorious side, a side you show only to those of us who work the hardest at getting to know you. There are writers who LIKE you, who LOVE you even. And I want to learn to love you, too. Because I know that–in embracing you and getting to know you in all your complex, multi-layered genius–you and I will make beautiful books together.
Eve Messenger is a YA writer and book junkie who blogs about both here.