The Unicorn Method to Editing (which I just made up)

I don’t know about you other writers out there, but editing stories is not my favorite part of the process. Which is not that great since a large chunk of the writing process is editing. I just really love drafting. I love writing without worrying about the content. I have freedom to write whatever comes out. My characters have free range, and if I want to spend a page describing a forest, I can.

It’s fun. It’s fun to see how the story turns out and what unexpected things can happen along the way. I love the excitement of seeing subplots turn up and then realizing you forgot about half of them. I love that race against time to write the words THE END.

That’s not to say that I hate editing. Editing is an integral part of writing, and it feels amazing to fix an MS and get it all polished and see how the story gets stronger and better and cooler and more exciting and *stares off into the distance at invisible golden towers* *a spire of gold, no, a trick of the eye, that’s all, but the beast was gone and a voice was heard* *gets up and dances*

And that’s the thing about editing –  you need to look forward

I’m a dancer. One of my favorite instructors always says that you have to pretend that you are a unicorn with a horn on your head, always going forward. (There is a technical physical reason for a dancer to do this, but I’m not going into that right now.)

Same with editing. You have to not only go forward but think forward. Your MS may be a mess right now, and fixing it may feel like searching for a needle in a swamp with just a magnet, and it’s raining and mosquitoes are biting you, BUT if you think forward to the end goal, that will get you through.

Think about that manuscript being published. Think about how polished it will be, how emotional, how exciting, how fun, how it will turn out to be what you always wanted it to be. 

Be a unicorn – always go forward, especially when you are editing and feel stuck in the muckety muck.

I guess I’m talking about this because this is what I am doing right now. I picked up my novel Silver after setting it down for a few months. It was a good thing that I hadn’t read it for a while, because I realized what needed to be fixed. A LOT needs to be fixed. I’m trying not to focus on what I have to fix but what happens after I fix it. I get to start querying.

Shameless sell plug: Since we are talking about unicorns, here’s a felt unicorn I made. You can find more on my Etsy shop, Fifteen Magpie Lane.



2 responses to “The Unicorn Method to Editing (which I just made up)”

  1. What happens if the horn on your head feels so heavy that you keep falling over? I love editing. But sometimes getting back up is a struggle. I like the idea of being a unicorn. Writers in tutus clacking away on laptops!!


  2. Yes!! I totally love this method!


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