Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Suffering from Redactaphobia...


I have to admit I'm writing this blog post purely for procrastination purposes...

I need to edit my manuscript and my exegesis. Like many graduating research students, my work needs one final tweak (at the request of the examiners) to make it the very best it can be - without actually editing content too much.

As well as this, I've been informed a publisher is taking submissions for unsolicited manuscript in a category my manuscript would slip nicely into. Before I'm ready to submit it, I need to make a few small changes to emphasise certain aspects and polish it so it looks all shiny and tasty.

I'm afraid of starting. Not because my manuscript is so precious to me I can't stand to change a single word, but because I'm afraid of changing the wrong words. What if I accidentally make it less appealing? What if I fail to see what is working and delete the magic bits? What if I add something to a scene and slow down the pace too much, or make it awkward? Like a painter who adds a final brush stroke and realises it has completely changed the balance of the painting - not for the better!

I've never been shy of editing before. I tend to approach my writing quite critically and am very open to constructive criticism and willing to make changes. I think it's just that this time, I've gotten some lovely comments about the story, and I want to hang onto what is working for those commentators for dear life. I'm afraid of losing the praise I've managed to receive from people whose opinion is generally well respected.

I have some very good advice to follow, so I'm planning on following that advice as closely as possible to be on the safe side.

I guess, in the end, it'll come down to the personal likes and dislikes of whomever is given the odious task of sifting through the manuscripts. Maybe I'll be lucky and that person will love the manuscript because of the edits I'll do this week?  If not, it's simply a matter of "back to the drawing board", right?

I need a coffee and some chocolate...

2 comments:

Trevor said...

I'm having the same problems. But you've come so far and learned so much I doubt if you will make a hash of it. Just go with your inner feelings and change what you think will work - it's your story after all. And good luck with your submission.

Sif said...

It's probably not polite, but I'm going to ask anyway - are you submitting? I'm wondering if it's too early, or if I should get a professional editor to go over it...

Teenagers and the failing parent...