~ Jerry Seinfeld (Sein Language Bantam Books: 1993)
I've always loved this piece by Seinfeld. It never gets old. I think this is how we sometimes feel when we've completed a manuscript and it's time to hit the editing button. From the suggestions of CPs or betas or editors, pointing out our areas of "unclear" and "hazy", we get an opportunity (yes, opportunity) to strengthen our characters, our conflicts and resolutions, our story.
At a workshop I attended, Ralph Fletcher shared his original "final draft" of the PB Hello, Harvest Moon. I liked it. Then, he shared the letter he received from the editor at the publishing house after they reviewed it. OUCH! I was shocked that a writer like Ralph Fletcher could get spanked like that. There were 18 separate comments - two of them were positive. After we all recovered from the shock of this revelation, we read the published version of Hello, Harvest Moon. Some of my favorite parts were missing, but I had to admit that the story is much stronger with the revisions.
No writer, however brilliant, should think revisions aren't necessary. Therefore, we should think of the ugly, editing monster as writer weightlifting, making our story stronger with every tiring repetition.
How do you feel about writer weightlifting?
Do you approach editing as work or as an opportunity?