Saturday, June 20, 2009

The thing is dead, long live the thing...

So my beta-reading task is complete and man I am fucking glad to be done with it. Editing is a multi-layered activity and might even merit recognition as a meta-talent. Writing is so much simpler in so many ways.

When I design a story I am the lord and master of the universe. I don't just lay the bricks and plant the seeds of my garden I whip them out of the cosmos, fully formed with ribs intact. Whole worlds, cultures and journeys coalesce from the bricked off catacombs of my conscious mind and words escape into reality through my fingertips.

Writing is awesome, and I constantly tell myself I need to do more with it, immerse myself deeper, obsess even further over that one killer line, that singular phrase which will elevate an interesting read to the caliber of literature that haunts my dreams and causes me dissatisfaction with my brain in its current form.

Yes I know that was one giant sentence/paragraph but that's license baby, suck it if you don't like it.

Now editing, well there's a pickle I don't want in my pot. Editing is like playing an action game with a non-destructible environment. You can nudge and explore, poke into the secret hidey holes left by the author and pillage whatever hidden treasures you may find. But you can't change the rules, the scope or the tone of it all.

That's what bothers me. Sometimes a suggestion just isn't as good as a sledgehammer, and sometimes you don't have to hide the fucking hammer 5 caves deep behind a thousand armored gun emplacements. It's maddening, the inertia and infrastructure to which you are confined. Reading is different, you can drop a book or close a browser at any time.

Editing demands getting your hands dirty, pausing to scoop and scrutinize, point fingers at soft spots in the apple and scream when a stone is left unturned. It is poetry to create and poison to execute one's duty upon another's fantasy.

Sheer effort is not enough, mere spell checking and syntax algorithm's do not suffice. You only get the output but have to suggest changes to the underlying code, the real binary shit behind the glossy GUI of the work. I am exhausted, mentally and physically from tearing my teeth through a mere 7300 words.

I truly pity whatever soul bears the misfortune of digesting 300,000 or more of mine.

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