Wednesday, February 6, 2013

About Editing and Insecurities. February's IWSG

February has arrived, another IWSG is here, and I'm still up to my eyeballs in things to do. And though I'm feeling less overwhelmed by all my tasks, my insecurities have flared up.

For two weeks now I've been working in a story I wrote about a year ago. Back then I wrote and rewrote, edited a third time and sent it to my editor for a final check up which ended in a fourth and final version. The story was on the long side with 7000+ words but I was happy with it. I submitted it and received seven different rejections, so I decided to read it once more. And I was horrified by the thing. Which brings us to the present, to the new editing process and to the old insecurities.

It doesn't matter how much I work on it or how many times I rewrite, I always feel like there's something wrong with it. After two weeks now, I dread the moment I'll go back to work on the thing. But I know that's the way it is, I'll never be sure about how good it is, not even if it gets published. I just have to keep giving my all and hope I'll know when to let go.

Which brings me to a question. Fellow insecure writers, what do you think of editing programs like Autocrit, Editminion, and Pro Writing Aid? I'm using the latter and it has been of great help but no matter what I do, it keeps finding 'mistakes', like I use too much "like" or that my median sentence is 10.5 instead of 11... This last thing is a big problem for me because my published novella has been accused of runaway sentences, so I tend to be more concise now. Then comes this program and I'm supposed to be ok with 35 word-long sentences? I just don't know... Help, please!!

The story is down to 5900 words, which is a small success in itself, and at the end of the week I think it'll be ready for someone to read it. It is a horror short with strong Italian folklore elements. If you feel like reading it and give me your harshest critics, I'll be happy to pay in the same token.

Well, I guess it is time to get back to work. Wish me luck!

Have an awesome, insecure-free month of February!


Anonymous said...

Oh I do very much dislike reading an old piece I've written and being horrified with it. It is difficult to avoid the self-shaming we seem to want to inflict on ourselves. The good news is that it means we've improved, right?

Although the other day I came upon a short story I had started a long time ago, got lost in and never finished. I forgot it was even created! I started reading it wondering who wrote it. It was pretty good! Now maybe I should let that encourage me too.

Nicole said...

I haven't used any of the editing programs you mention, but I feel like they'd drive me nuts. I think there's something to be said for a good old-fashioned writer's eye. :)

Good luck with the edits!

Mel Chesley said...

I'm about to embark on this same path. Rewriting something I wrote YEARS ago. I finally had a flash of insight on how to correct the problem. I haven't used any editing programs, so I don't know what to say in that respect except for good luck.

Shelly said...

Maybe you need a pair of live eyes instead of a computer one. What about a beta reader to help you out?

Hugs and chocolate,

Georgina Morales said...

You should definitively feel encouraged by your find, Julie. We are our harshest critics, so if you think it is good, it probably is!

I think I do need writer's eyes for this one, Nicole, just not my eyes... But no takers so far =)

May the force be with you, Mel. I've found it to be a grueling task but in the end it is always satisfactory to see we are getting better. Best of luck!

Oh, Shelly, I'd love to find some betas but so far no such luck... =(

Anonymous said...

I use autocrit as the first pass through, but it doesn't replace line edits. And, some times I have to use some of the words they are created to flag. So, only you will know what is right on the story. Its fine to use them as a tool, but don't rely on them. Good luck.

M.C.V. Egan and Jolie DeMarco said...

Re-writes and editing can be so discouraging. i agree that we are our own worst critics.

M. J. Joachim said...

I use my word program for editing. Then I google things as needed. This provides a huge supply of resources. I've never used an editing program before.

Melissa said...

I've not used editing programs (yet), but I see them like I do Word. It flags things for you, but the final decision is yours. Trust your gut and trust your critters.

M. J. Joachim said...

Anonymous needs to be blocked!

Georgina Morales said...

Thanks for your comments and input guys. I'm happy to report I'm about to be done with the editing and as so many of you suggested, I didn't hang it all on the program. Now off to a reader. Thanks to all!

Anonymous said...

I have some editing programs bookmarked, but I haven't had a chance to download any of them.

I think we can tweak forever and forever. One published author whose work I admire said she still wanted to tweak post-publication.

Georgina Morales said...

Medeia, you are right about that. Since there's always room for improving, a piece is never really done, and as our abilities grow, we think we can always better our job. But, alas, every child has to leave the house one day and be set free... ;)