Polishing

A lot has already been said that writing is editing. But little is said about how much editing is enough. There is quite a bit about how to write first drafts are written but less about how this might affect the editing. Let's throw in the types and lengths of writing too.

So Hemingway said, 'First drafts are turds' and Sacha Baron Cohen said 'I'm in the turd-polishing business.' So we have a common base then for most writers. Or do we? If we follow the DBC Pierre, Stephen King and Ian Rankin approach and write in a fever, we will have vomit. But it will be completed fast and may push the subconscioius to provide more unusual turns. unexpected developments.

Many fellow writers plan. Others write by hand occasionally. Some write and edit almost simultaneously. I do not. In terms of editing, there a great suggestions such as reading it backwards or viewing copies in different fonts, screens etc. I usually just print it out and sit there with a pen. Double spacing definitely helps for prose. 

How many edits. I heard that one author may make a further twenty drafts of his novel after it being accepted by his publisher. I can't say how many drafts I will need for my novels, yet. It's too early. But for other writing, its easier. For poems, a few drafts. For short plays, six or seven. Why the difference? I don't know. It may have something to do with the comparative ease with which you can read the whole piece straight through. Perhaps also with stories more than poems, the logic needs to be accurate to avoid stalling your audience's comprehension engine. Poems need to flow too, but they less often tell stories - certainly, few with plot devices. 

I've started the second draft of The Proving. A small part of me hoped it wouldn't be poo. That I'd improved enough that my first go might be near perfect. Alas, it was dull, sticky mess. Let the polishing begin.