Today’s daily prompt was: Blindly
It’s nudged me into a few different thoughts. Yes, it would perfectly fit into a ninty-nine word flash fiction for a certain season and I’ll see what I can do with that…
However, it’s made me think about the way that we edit. Blindly. Honestly you’re writing away and you do a few sweeps of editing and then you celebrate because the project is done!
A few weeks later, you look at the print out, or open up the file and there it is. A blatant error staring you in the face. A missing word, a missing letter… for me it evokes a visceral sense of fear. The – oh my goodness, if there’s one error there must thousands! (My mind races at this point) Maybe this is simply an entire manuscript of errors, there will never be an end to the editing, where do all the missing words go!?!
After some careful scrolling I tend to calm down, breath, and set myself a few targets.
What might be worse than the occasional missing word (because they’re easier to spot) are the sneaky phrases that just slip into the text.
I’ve written a previous post about editing here:
My current sneaky words however are as follows.
A little – this is a continuation of my earlier frustrations with this phrase. Why do I feel the need to modify every emotion, or image with ‘a little’. She was angry vs she was a little angry. She threw herself against the glass until it gave a little vs she threw herself against the glass – where do you come from ‘a little?!’ why are you in my work like a constant tiny plague of self-doubt! Commit to the image! Commit!
Though – like a little, this pesky devil is sneaking in. She was tired though. Why the though? Why can’t she just be tired? Again, I feel it’s a rebellion against the responsibility of writing, the sentences are self-moderated to have less impact. Why?
Just – similar to the others…another sneaky word that just…
She – now this is an interesting word. It’s very useful. For projects with female protagonists the tag of, she is inevitable. However, I can’t help but feel I over use it, despite my attempts to change it up with other phrases such as, the young woman or the solider – depending on whose point of view I’m writing from.
So how do I find these pesky little slips?
I suppose the easy way to combat editing blindness is as described above (with less panic.) Give the project, novel, poetic collection time to breathe. Then return to it with fresher eyes and fresher mind. Find all the devious inflections and then do a ctrl-f to find them in all their triviality. Then work through them, see where they’re needed and where they add nothing but doubt- remove them.