Edit is a Four Letter Word

I have been sitting with my nearly finished full-length WIP for eight months. While I’m still struggling with the ending I think the real reason I haven’t been able to complete it is because the next step in the process is editing.

Not only do I not like to edit, I don’t have the first clue how to go about such a task.

And I’m not talking about copy edits. Those I can do. Or continuity edits. I can also catch most of those on a second or third pass. It’s the substantive edits that I have a problem with. Reworking a scene. Rewriting a character. And the dreaded *gasp* deleting of a scene or scenes.

While I am not a plotter – how can I plot something when the story hasn’t revealed itself to me yet? – I tend to edit as I go along. I’m not one of those writers that can lay the foundation, add in the “meat” and come back later to fine tune. If I can’t formulate a sentence in the exact way I want to that sentence won’t get written. I’ll rework it in my head until it sounds right – not that it is – before I put it down on electronic paper.

So this idea that I have to go back to a 250+ page story and whip it into shape is more than daunting. I don’t have the first clue how to go about setting things to rights.

And so it sits. Unfinished. With that ending just out of reach even though I know exactly (well, almost) how I want it to wrap up.

I do know my story needs work. I’m also not one of those writers who thinks that every word I write is golden. It needs a lot of help, actually. I have to decide if the tone got too dark as the story progressed or if it feels natural. I have to decide whether I went too OTT with certain misfortunes. I have to decide whether the romance that seems to have forced its way into the story is as developed as I need it to be.

And, frankly, I need to have someone – other than my family – read it to tell me if it’s a piece of crap and I should go back to the drawing board. Maybe take a writing course and learn how to outline. Or if I¬†should keep at it.

I met these characters the day before NaNoWriMo 2011. I’m not entirely certain I’m the best person to edit their lives. We’re way too close. We’ve had too much history. And I think if I take the “red pen” to theirs, they might rebel.

The thought crossed my mind about hiring someone to do this task I equate with cleaning windows, dusting or getting chased by evil clowns, but I’m not certain how to go about that either. There’s a trust level that’s needed. There’s also an experience level that I’m not certain I could afford.

So I sit with this unfinished project of mine debating on whether or not to just toss it in the trunk and start on something new just so I don’t have to E.D.I.T.