Thursday, February 9, 2012

How Editing Is Like Car Repair

I took my car to the shop last Monday to have the turn signal fixed. Three hours later, they called with The List. You know what List I mean--the one with every possible thing that's wrong with your car, with a horrendously scary price tag attached.

The turn signal was an easy fix, but in their diagnostic test, they discovered my brakes are leaking (knew that) and my oil is leaking (knew that). When they went to fix the door, the realized it wasn't just a quick "reattach the pieces" but the handle was actually broken (didn't know that).

Grand total? $955.

I hesitated for a moment, until I realized that I have the money right now and I had planned to get it all done anyway. If I'm going to fix something, I might as well do a complete job of it.

When I started editing Col. Fitzwilliam, I thought I had one minor problem, but when I dug into it, I quickly realized that my lack of direction was symptomatic of larger problems. I axed an entire plot line, and because of that I had bring in some other elements and completely rearrange the novel. I went from my post-NaNo word count of 51,000 to 34,000 is the space of an evening.

I could have chosen to only  handle one issue at a time. It might have been less intimidating. However, I'd rather cut everything that needs to be cut and move forward with a solid draft. As long as I'm working on it, I might as well do a complete job of it.