The Heartless Bitch That Is Editing

So about a week and a half ago, I finished the first draft of the first Dangerous Faces novel.  Clocking in at just over 25,000 words, it ended up at just the length I'd expected.  Sure, the hard part of getting the words on the page had been accomplished.  The story was out, and ready to be tampered with.  Now comes the real fun.

Well, present Jammer is cursing the hell out of past Jammer right now.  I can count on two hands the number of times I made a note to make a complete overhaul of a scene, or where I wrote another note to write several bridging scenes.  In the first draft phase, I was perfectly content to push this work onto future Jammer.  He wasn't busy.  He didn't care.  But now, future Jammer dreams of better days when all he had to do was throw words on the page and not worry about their quality.

The idea of rewriting is a double-edged sword.  

First of all, I would never recommend anyone let their editing side come out in the first draft stages.  Despite my bitching, if I'd let my inner editor out of the bottle during the first draft stage, I never would have finished the book in the first place.  I'd been down that road before.  I have well over ten projects I have simply never finished because of that bastard of an inner editor.  He's probably a dream-crushing asshole.  Don't listen to him.  So yes, by all means, push those tough details and creative-stifling problems to your future self.  You'll thank yourself when you're looking at an unfinished manuscript weeks later.  It sure beats looking at a blank page or incomplete story.

Having said that, the rewriting stage is no easy task.  Sure, the first draft stage is exhausting.  Yes, you're pushing yourself on a daily basis to get your word count goals out.  Hell, you're likely even dreaming of a time when all you'll have to do is rearrange your existing words on the page.  But when rewriting, you'll be dreaming of an age when all you had to do was meet your word count goal.  

Now's the time where character, word choice, and straight-up solid storytelling actually matter.  Flat characters can no longer simply go through the motions.  That floating island scene that has no relevance to the plot?  You should probably work that in some how (unless it plays a role in a later book in the series).  I'm not here to give you advice on how to make it easier, because nothing will make it easier.  I'm just here to tell you that you'll have to put in the hours and hard work to make rewriting count.

You dreamed of this stage for weeks, months, or years (depending on how long you've been writing the story).  Time to take advantage of it.