Sometimes you write something, edit, edit again, edit yet another time, and then something comes out that blows you off your feet. Stephen King talks about not really having the ability to shoot out gold laden brilliance from his fingertips every time he writes. What he is eluding to is the need to edit, edit, and more editing until something beautiful emerges.
This isn’t to be confused with polishing a turd! The writer’s first draft is never brilliance ready to hit your local bookshelves. Anyone who tells you that’s possible is probably not an author at all. Admittedly, I still have things that are less than brilliant, but occasionally I get something right.
Today I was editing a paragraph and removed, tightened, and changed a few key elements and I saw the paragraph jump up off the page and smack me around a bit. I suddenly fell in love with that paragraph. That isn’t to say that when I send it to a professional editor, I might not still change it slightly, but for this edit, I fell in love.
I wanted to share with you what it looked like at first draft and then what it looked like after I had a couple of runs through the paragraph. While I am not really done with it, I hope you see the changes and what it looks like after I have worked with it a bit.
First Draft! Not bad, but not great. It lacked pop and sparkle.
After what seemed to the assemblage like an hour of staring at each other in silence, he turned towards the large globe next to the desk. Flipping open the secret compartment, he brought out three glasses and filled them with bourbon. Placing two on the desk in front of the men, he sat down in his chair. “You two had better sit down and have a drink.” For the next few minutes, the three sat in stunned silence.
Here is the paragraph after I re-wrote it. A lot more pop and sparkle. Probably not 100% yet, but much better.
After a timeless expanse where no one dared utter a word, Donny turned to the large globe next to the desk. Flipping open the secret compartment and retrieving three glasses, he filled them with bourbon. Placing two on the desk in front of the men, he sat down heavily in the leather office chair. “You two better sit down and have a drink.” For the next few minutes, the three observed a moment of stunned silence.
My point is this. Editing matters! While I am far from perfect, I am striving for it. Will I ever get there? I don’t know. But, I’m having a great time working towards it.
-Your Humble Servant,