I just finished my first novel. It was really hard. My imagination was taxed beyond all get out. Seriously put through the wringer. I thought I knew what writing was all about. After all, I have have been writing legal briefs for decades. 10, 20, 50, 100 page behemoths.
Writing a fiction novel, however, is a beast of a different type. Something I am not used to at all. But the process is the same. Outline, write, edit, let is sit for a day or two and then re-edit and then go through for technical and grammatical errors. I used to do this everyday for my legal briefs. But the subject matter is vastly different. VASTLY. My legal briefs held my arguments. Took the law and I got to put my spin on it based on other people’s writing. I had a platform from which to spring.
Fiction writing is completely my baby. All the ideas, all the words, all of everything. Which made it both harder and easier to write. Editing was a nightmare. I had become vested in my words, my characters, my plot. Changing things, even to make it better, felt like a little slice into my flesh. Editing is like a death with a thousands cuts. You know that in the end, bled dry, you have the best product you can make but doing it hurts. Plus, it is just a bitch to do with 300+ pages. Time-consuming. And often fraught with peril because as you edit, more great ideas pop into your head.
I have been listening to voices in my head all my life. Sometimes they have steered me right, often they have lead me down the path of wickedness. I knew that if I listened to those voices about changing things too much, adding too much, that they would be leading me down the path of editing doom. So I argued with them. I asked them gently to stop. I yelled. I cried. I gnashed my teeth. To no avail, they kept whispering, whispering, whispering.
Finally, I just let them run and ignored them. Cause they just wouldn’t freakin’ shut the hell up. Now they are like white noise running in the background letting me know, definitively, that yes the universe does have a sound. Unfortunately, that sound is an awful like a nagging mother. Sometimes, it is like a seductive lover. When those two combine, my head will explode.
That is, if my head doesn’t explode from starting my second novel.