I really like this quote from Shannon Hale. I used to feel differently about first drafts. I loved the process of writing a story for the first time freely and used to wish that I could make a first draft perfect so that I wouldn’t have to do any editing.
I have just finished the latest edit on my novel, the first working with my editor at my publishers and I realised as I finished reading the novel through, and tearing up a little at the final paragraph, that I’ve really enjoyed the process. The story is essentially the same as it was in the first draft but it has developed into something much more. Into what it was meant to be. An editor is there to help you turn your novel into the best novel it can be. To help you to turn your sand into a castle. I can already see a vast improvement in the story from this first edit. Although there will be many more steps to work through before this story will be a printed book on the shelves, I’m really excited about what it is developing into.
It feels like the biggest journey I’ve gone on as a writer so far is to go from hating to edit to enjoying the process. Because I now know how important it is and what a difference it make to your novel.
I spotted this quote about the process too and it really rings true for me. Writing a first draft is a solitary process, your telling yourself the story, and then you open the door to feedback so you develop the story for others to read. I think perhaps some of my dislike of editing came from fear. I hated putting my work out there for someone to judge. But an editor isn’t there to judge. Hopefully they love your story as much as you do but because they are not as close to it as you are, they are able to advise you on areas to develop so the reader has a better experience.
It will always be your story but hopefully a better one.
So for now, I am sat in front of my novel having worked through my editor’s notes feeling hopeful that I’ve laid the foundations of something that may one day become a castle.
How do you feel about the editing process?