Self-editing, n. Hitting the keyboard with your head, repeatedly, until one of you gives in.
During the Great Edits of the Second Werewolf Novel in 2019, I’ve discovered several things. Obstacles. Issues.
#1 I migh be passable as a writer (the jury’s still out), but I’m absolutely horrible as a continuity person.
Earlier today I had to check the reference sheet for my main character‘s eye color. I’ve been writing her for seven years. (I’d remembered the colour wrong, because hey, if she’s as hot as she’s supposed to be, she must have grey eyes, mustn’t she? But, apparently, in 2012 or so I’ve decided her eyes were black. Go figure.) And it wasn’t even funny.
#2 Cutting your own sentences into pieces, all over the place, all the time, feels… weird.
Because, if I’ve done it to my S.O.’s stories, I need to keep a cool eye on the readability of my own copy, too, don’t I? (Have you learnt nothing since middle-grade?)
#3 I honestly cannot remember if some side characters were present in a certain scene earlier in the copy, or not.
And whether they had a good reason to miss being present at a scene, or it was one of those “to be filled later” things. And then I spend hours trying to track down their movements, and then I take another longish break from editing, and then I forget, again.
#4 I can’t stop shipping my characters.
Why, oh why did I ever think writing three parallel romance storylines in a single novel would be a good idea? I can’t concentrate! There’s shipping all over the place, and it’s distracting. (It’s obviously working, though, so… *shrug*)
#5 I can’t stop hearing other writers’ words in my own editing.
I’ve been having issues with one character, precisely, because I’ve recently read about a character in a rather similar situation, and I’m sometimes having flashbacks to them, and it feels wrong, and I’m losing faith in my own character etc etc etc… Hopefully, in time, it’ll go away. If it doesn’t… there will be blood.
#6 I tend to discover serious fact related issues rather, umm, late.
(At one occasion, after the book had been published.) And, if I discover I’d gotten something wrong and I’m already months into editing, I tend to… skirt the issue altogether. And then hope no one will think too much less of me, for turning a blind eye. Because, c’mon, if something was built a few years earlier or later, is it really that big of a deal?
(Yes. As a reader of the historical genres, a thousand times yes. But I still can’t be bothered to change the story, because that would take too much time, time I don’t have if we’re really doing this whole “paranormal romance series” thing. Which – we are.)
#7 Since I’m self-editing first… I’m to blame for the delays.
All of them, all of the time. Rejoice!