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  • Editing and Writing Quote

    Posted on September 22nd, 2012 jean 15 comments
    Editing is like killing your story and then very slowly bringing it back to life.

    That’s what happens when you listen to “G Love.”

    The funniest things pop into your mind when you are doing something else. Like trying to distract your mind during a 5K run. Here’s a little writing “quote” I made up while running. Although… is it a quote when you haven’t actually said it anywhere? Well, I guess I am now… so here it is my “official” editing quote:

    Editing is like killing your story and then very slowly bringing it back to life.

    What do you think? What is writing and editing like for you? Do you have a favourite writing quote or a favourite editing quote? Share it in the comment section.





    Later note: I should explain this quote. For me, editing is like killing my story. Every time. Every version.

    I fully disassemble. I make transplants. I create great monstrous Frankensteins. I kill off characters. I merge characters. I change settings. I kill that sucker. Over and over and over again. And there is always a moment where I wonder if I will be able to bring about a heartbeat. Whether I will be able to breathe life back into my story. Whether it will stand up and live like it did in that first draft. Alive. Joyous. Free.

    It’s a long, slow process bringing my stories back to life. And that is where my quote: “Editing is like killing your story and then very slowly bringing it back to life.” comes from. This is my experience.


    15 responses to “Editing and Writing Quote” RSS icon

    • In my second novel I put quotes from famous people before starting some chapters. I hought it will be cool if I can come with my own great quote and put in infront of one of the chapters. Still waiting to find the great quote.
      I lik where your quote is going, but not the word “killing”. It’s sounds nice to kill and bring back to life, but is not an accurate description of editing. Editing is about improving the novel, so the quote has to reflect it. Just my views.

    • Giora: yeah, you don’t completely kill it, do you? I guess in my head the reincarnation is so much better! But the quote doesn’t reflect that at all! And that’s why we edit–right there!! Lol! (And pay our critique partners big love and compliments.)

    • Take your time. Lots of jogging to do until you come with a quote that other people can use.
      Followng your start, a more accurate quote can be:
      Editing is like killing your first draft and then slowly brining the final draft to life.

      A better one should follow a variation of a famous quote like this

      Editing is like a box of chocolates, you never know …..(you continue)

    • Giora, I made a note in the original post to explain. This quote is my experience and I understand now that it isn’t everyone’s. Thanks!

    • I see where we differ. Your quote is perfect for your style of editing which calls for drastic changes, including changing the storyline and the characters. My editing is just going over the writing and make the sentences better, without any changes in the storyline or characters.

    • I’m not as brave as I’d like to be with editing yet. I’m slowly getting stronger (I think!) but I hope to keep improving!! Love the Frankenstein image – I totally get that! 🙂

    • Editing is like sharpening a good knife: using enough pressure to make the blade sing but not so much that you grind away the usefulness of the blade.

    • Hey Jean,
      I have a very similar approach. I write the first draft and Kill it. Yup that sucker goes right in the ‘trash’ of scrivener. I may look at it from time to time but I don’t rework it. I rewrite it. Characters get dropped, scenes get rearranged. The quote is very accurate to how I approach novel writing. 😀

    • Jemi, I only worry when I can’t find Frankenstein’s heart! (The heart of the story–ha, ha!)

    • Love it, Janet!

    • Wow, EM! You trash and rewrite? I rework and rework and rework. I think sometimes I should rewrite, but you know what? I fall in love with these little gems and can’t bear to part with them so I end up reworking it all to make them fit. Silly. I am getting better. I.e. RUTHLESS!

    • Hi Jean,

      I’m WAY behind on my blog reading.

      I recently read (can’t remember where) Hemmingway said, “Write drunk: edit sober.” I kind of like that. Makes sense to me.

    • That is a good way of putting it, Kay. You definitely want to be sober when you edit. (I cut about 6K today and if I were drunk I think I would have been much too generous with what could stay.)

    • Great quote! I agree with it.

      Although for me, when I write for the first time, it’s like I’ve created a human being, but all he has is bones. Now it’s time to edit and give him actual flesh to go with it!

    • Thanks, E.B. Yeah, there is a whole new person there, isn’t there? Bringing them to life is a big job!

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