Friday, May 7, 2010

2day's Tupik Has Beeen Brott 2 U Bi Da Ledder "E"

Disclaimer: I wrote this during breakfast, in which I discovered that I can't chew food and type at the same time. Go figure.

No, this ain't the ebonic version of Sesame Street. Shoot, this ain't anyone's version of Sesame Street.

Today's topic is Editing. Specifically, how I like to edit or in some instances, not edit.

I have a very funny way of editing. It wasn't always like that....scratch that, it used to be extremely funny, but now it's just plain funny.

A prelude is now in order.

Back in the day, when I first started writing, I developed a routine that was a bit unusual, in that before I started writing the next chunk of words, I would edit the daylights out of what I wrote previously.

Continuously. Endlessly. Ad infinitum. Ad nauseam.

Problem in doing it that way is that I would often screw up whatever it was I decided to write next, because I would often lose the flow.

Badly. Endlessly. Continuously. Repeatedly.


Last summer, I decided to try something different. Instead of editing before I wrote new schtuff and get myself hopelessly lost in the process, I came up with the brilliant idea of printing out whatever it was that I wrote, and edit during my down time.

Damn....I'm smart! Brilliant! A Rhodes Scholar! Genius! Experiencing a case of the incredibly obvious!


Fast forward to now.

After a few miss-steps (most notably of inserting my edits into my writing and printing out fresh copy, only to write a ton of notes on the fresh copy), I'd managed to get all 143 pages printed out in small, medium and infinitesimal chunks. I'd also managed to have all 143 pages (well, not all 143, but probably more like 125...or was it wait, it was definitely 130) covered with: cross-outs, added words, subtracted words, brackets around sentences, paragraphs, added punctuation, subtracted punctuation, and other assorted anomalies.


After getting writer's cramp for the past two months by pounding this bad girl out 'til it screamed for mercy, then it told me I was the best ever and shared a celebratory cigarette afterwards, I'm now ready to start phase one editing. In fact, not only am I ready, but I've already started the dreaded process of revamping my baby.

My babushka. My dumpling. My be-gentle-it's-my-first-time. My street walker. My high end escort.


I've gotten about 90+ pages edited and parsed a net total of about 200 words from my manustrip.

hangs head in shame

I promise with fingers crossed behind his back that I will try to get another 500 words parsed by the time I do another update of Line 21


I mean it.

Honest and for true.


  1. Oh G, I totally understand! Did you ever read Kurt Vonnegut's take on this, about "bashers" and "swoopers"? If not, you should. It's priceless.

  2. No I haven't, but I will tell you that the net result of this first round of editing was a paltry loss of 481 words.

  3. That sounds so exhausting, G! Myself, I write straight through and only correct glaring typos that I catch on the way to the end. Then I put it away and bring it out after it's simmered for a few weeks. With fresh eyes, and great anticipation, I hack away and away and away - lol!

  4. Probably does, but it worked for me. Doing it this way actually helped me properly formulate the few plot lines so that I wouldn't get so hopelessly lost while writing them.

    Not sure if the same approach would work for a short stoy, but then again, I don't write much in the way of true short stories.

  5. I edit only once I have finished a chapter and then only that chapter. Later I do more edits of the whole thing but not until I'm finished.

  6. Travis: That sounds like a good plan.

    I have a tendency sometimes to be a bit scattershot if I try to edit on the fly. Doing it this way affords me the luxury of not only thinking about the edits I want/need to make, but also writing notes about troublesome parts that will need editing later on.

    If you actually saw what the first draft of this looks like, you be amazed at how I was able to have a few pages emerge unscathed from the editing pen.

  7. Editing does sound exhausting. What's great is that the "heart" of your writing is there. I know you won't cut any major blood vessels :) Good luck!

  8. Thanks.

    I got a lot more rounds to go through before I consider it acceptable for submission.


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G. B. Miller

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