My sister is visiting at the end of the week – yeh hey 🙂 She’ll be sleeping in my daughter’s old bedroom. The thing is, the room looked pretty shabby so I decided to give it a bit of a freshen up. At first I was just going to give the walls a lick of paint but the carpet was so shot, I decided to pull it up and dump it. That meant new flooring. Luckily, there was a special offer at Floors4u and I’ve got this great wooden floor to lay, just as soon as I’ve finished painting. As I was changing the floor, I thought I may as as well do the ceiling – there’s been a huge crack in it forever which badly needed fixing. Suddenly, it’s Tuesday, I’m still painting and plastering and the room looks will it will never be ready and I am wondering why I ever started! Fortunately, a couple of hours ago the calvary arrived in the shape of my daughter. Phew! Together we’ll get the room finished and it’ll look great – and worth all the effort 🙂
What has decorating got to do with editing? Well, freshening up a bedroom is not unlike editing a story… you put it off and put it off because, frankly, it’s a hassle. Then when you finally start, you’re just looking to tidy up the odd spelling mistake and misplaced comma. But, little by little, you realise the story is full of cracks – and there is no helpful daughter on a ladder to assist you. You are tempted to gloss over the cracks, after all, they’re not that bad, are they? But the more you look, they more you know you can’t ignore the tired sentences; the iffy plot that doesn’t quite work; the monotonous paragraphs that drag the writing down; the two dimensional characters that are flat and wooden, yes, wooden! You face your fears and start digging out the rot and mending the mistakes. It will probably take much longer than you anticipated and you will wonder why you started – more than once. You will be miserable. But eventually you will be done and it will be worth it because editing is your last chance to be truthful to yourself and to make your story as good as it can be, to make it great 🙂
If you are a reader, can you remember coming across ‘cracks’ in stories? Did they put you off? Do you think there are more cracks in stories nowadays? If you are a writer, do you agree with me? How important is editing to you?