To Edit

Next week we will leave the rain, the forest, and the mountains for holidays with family in the high open plains of northeastern Montana. As far north and east as you can get and still be in the state. The days will be longer because there is nothing to block the light, compared to here at this time of year, when the sun is too weak to lift itself up from behind the ridge. And it will be very, very cold; already below zero.

I will be spending time with family, enjoying the holidays of course, and enjoying the break from chores and responsibilities at home. But even more than that, I am going to have lots of writing time because I seem to be the odd one in the family, who gets up before noon.

The first, very rough, draft to The Memory Keeper‘s sequel was finished several weeks ago. It has been left to its own devices while I started on a new project. As most know, that gestation time is important in order to allow time to distance yourself from the words. It allows you to be more objective when you finally return to the page. Every time something is finished, I wonder as I set it aside, how long it will have to sit. Some will tell you to leave it a few weeks, some a few months.

As with most things to do with writing, it depends on the writer. I know, for me, it’s time to start the first edit when I find myself starting to wonder about the story again. When it first gets put away, I won’t think about it at all. Relief will be the overriding emotion. Relief that it’s finally finished. But eventually I find myself wondering if I remembered to do something, or if a character remembered to say something. Sometimes I even wonder what I wrote.

If I’ve reached the point that I can’t remember the story, that to me is the starting edit bell.

And it’s perfect timing since I have this vacation approaching. And so as I pack this coming week, I’ll be packing the three-ring binder with all the printed pages, the highlighters, the blank paper for all the revisions, and the red pen. The story may be worse than I think, or better than I think. But either way it’s going to be fun.

Home for the holidays

3 thoughts on “To Edit

  1. I hate the leaving the story for a long while part of writing. I always want to just get things done, but I’ve found a lot of changes over the years that needed to be made, so I know it’s best.

    Happy Holidays, Lisa, to you and yours. And happy editing. 🙂

  2. Lisa, THANKS for this post especially. After finalizing 12 years of my poetry this year I have found myself stalling that last year to get current. Now I know why!! Thanks for sharing all your years of study and your own experience, of knowledge and wisdom! This post cuts me slack to enjoy this season’s sociabilities guilt free since I must give all these things the same thought as I do when finalizing! LOVE your photo – we look at Montana internet cameras regularly, but your photo is an especially gorgeous view. Have a blast there; no landscape so inspires me as these huge sky scapes! Stay warm!!

    • Do enjoy guilt free, Pat; you’ve done an amazing amount of edit work yourself over the past year. So many changes from where you were twelve months ago. I’m looking forward to reading poetry when you’re ready to share more.

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