When You Can’t Edit No More

I don’t know about you, but I think editing is the hardest part of writing. When I get past the editing stage, then maybe I’ll find something else about writing that is more difficult. But for now, I’m sticking with editing.

I’ve been working on my mystery novel for so long now.

I started it back in November 2013. I’ve written it, edited it, rewritten it, edited that, and then rewrote it again in a completely new way. I edited that version, rewrote it again, and now I’m editing it again.

But no matter how many times I go through the manuscript, the same things are always wrong with it.

There’s not enough character development here. The plot moves too quickly over there. There’s still some research to do.

I look for those things and more each draft I read through. Yet every time I end up wishing it was done already so I end up just finding typos instead. I don’t focus well enough on what I should be looking for. This is why I have a million drafts of everything.

I made a list of things I need to look out for, but every time I sit down to edit, I just… don’t. I stare off into space. I end up playing with the dog or cat (yes, I got a new cat!) or turtle. I find something to eat. I clean. I decide to get some other form of writing done because then I’m at least being productive, right?

Kris suggested I take a break from working on this particular novel.

My original plan was to have it agent-ready by January. Of course, at the rate I’m going that may not happen.

I don’t want to take a break, but I think I need one. The characters and I are getting on each other’s nerves.

So Kris is going to take over for me. She’s going to read through and edit the current draft I’m on. Meanwhile, I’m going to take an in-depth look at everything else. Do the research I need for it, really come up with a plan for what to look for in my next set of edits and how to fix them.

I can work on some other stories in the meantime.

Then maybe I can get back to my novel with a brand new outlook on it.

Do you ever get stuck on your writing or editing? What do you do to overcome it?

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23 thoughts on “When You Can’t Edit No More

  1. I often leave it and take a break..in order to get something new or fascinating that i could add but did not do that for i never picked that thought in my hurry to complete it. well written!

  2. I completely understand your dilemma. I’ve learned to step away and take a break (a long one). It’s always a difficult decision because you so want the book to be done…and perfect. But it’s the best thing to do, I believe.

  3. Taking a break sounds like a good idea, and lucky for you, you have someone willing to look over your current draft. With Kris’ insight, you might find the spark you need to finish editing it and getting ready to submit to an agent. In the meantime, rest, recharge, and don’t worry about it too much.

  4. I was just going to suggest you get a professional editor to read the book – they will take a look at it and give you some idea of what needs to be done. Can save you a lot of angst.

  5. In my town there is a group of authors from a variety of genres that meets once a month, the Mobile Writer’s Guild. It’s membership based, but guests are always welcome. Several guild members gave a presentation on writing to a student arts club I coordinated. One of the things the members do for one another is read manuscripts and offer advice and help. Maybe there’s something similar available in your area? Good luck on your work!

    • I’m part of a writers group in my town and they’ve been reading this book. But we recently got a new host and I would like the novel to move along quicker than it has been. So I’m not sure if I’m going to continue it with them. Their feedback has been wonderful of course.
      Thanks! 🙂

  6. I think this is an excellent plan. I had to take a break after my first draft. I was sick of it. It was the best thing I could have done. This time, I got it right and don’t need a break between draft completion and the next round of edits. But I completely agree, sometimes you can’t see the wood for the trees and the only thing you can do is step away from the computer!

    • Taking breaks really is the best thing you can do. But I already took a break from this, so that’s why I’m bumming. But I have a plan so it’ll work out. 🙂

      • Glad you got a plan. I know it WILL work out, because I know you WON’T give up. Persistence is key, ad your sisters fresh eyes too! Good luck, I’m right behind you 😀

        • Thanks! I actually started working on an old short story again in the meantime. And that’s coming along wonderfully! So it’s something. 🙂

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