Writing Echoes

Delijah's Writing Blog

I hate editing – but it has to be done

I hate editing.

I really do. I find it tedious, frustrating and most of all, unrewarding. I feel that I keep focusing on everything bad, to the point where there’s nothing right anymore. When I was preparing Tokyo 893, however, I learnt how to motivate myself to edit, and that was something quite silly – I track changes. When I track the document changes I actually see the progress, I work faster and I do feel improvement. I tend to do big overhauls when I edit, so I guess that in a way it is logical that seeing the changes helps me work better.

So I end up with files that look like this:

A light scene which was not changed much

A light scene which was not changed much

The average look of the document....

The average look of the document…

I am at the moment embarked in the not too small work of going over Hyakki Yagyō. At the time I wrote it, it was the biggest word count per chapter and scene that I had ever done in a long piece, averaging around 5550 words per chapter, not counting the mini epilogue. It was a total of 51,000 words.

Of course, at that time I was not counting on the universe expanding, sort of what happened with the Shikigami. However, tackling Hyakki Yagyō felt like a more accomplishable piece of work to start the serious editing that I had decided this year.

The original Hyakki Yagyō story was followed by a series of short snippets that tried to explain what Ko was. Actually, that idea came almost by accident working on Axis 95/11, which had nothing to do with it – I needed some sort of legend, so I came up with the ‘tree of Shibakoen that does not lose its leaves in winter’ idea. It kinda caught on me so I scribbled a few short stories regarding Ko’s legend and its history.

Soon afterwards I wrote a short story, The Yukionna’s Claim, around 6000 words (which I am at the moment considering to include in the main Hyakki Yagyō story as a second epilogue of sorts). Then I went back, in 2014 to the original Hyakki Yagyō story and added two chapters, making it clock in at 62,000 words – these two chapters were inspired by places I visited during my trip to Japan in summer 2013.

Soon after writing these two chapters I started working on a second big story, the Last Yōkai war of Edo, set twenty-something years after the first one. I knew that after a couple of years I remembered the key points to write the skeleton of a story – and so I did, fully intending to go back to it when the time was right.

So here I am now, going back to the basics, and taking an insane amount of notes, Koreans in the bedroom and things to be reworked. It is creepy how the little specks that were not resolved in the first story are so open to be solved in the second one. And what’s even worse… fixing plotholes that you had forgotten you had already fixed!

Maybe I should have just rewritten the whole thing XD


Finally, a word of caution to the wise… if you ever plan to write a sexless character… decide on the pronoun right away. Else editing will become a bloody nightmare. You’ve been warned.


2 responses to “I hate editing – but it has to be done

  1. Alexis March 3, 2015 at 09:40

    Saw this post earlier but nothing came to me to comment, then I saw this and thought of your post again… the ‘prayer’ at the end especially hits home to me http://seananmcguire.tumblr.com/post/112547057515/terriwindling-forgiveness-the-ability-to#notes