Sunday, November 06, 2005

12 Step Editing

1. We admit we are powerless over our work-in-progress -- that our manuscript has become unmanageable.

2. Come to believe that an Internal Editor greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. Make a decision to turn our ego and our manuscript over to the editing of a novel as we understand it.

4. Make a searching and fearless inventory of our protagonist and characters and determine how much they suck.

5. Admit to the Internal Editor, to ourselves, or to another writer the exact nature of the holes in the plot that desperately need reworking.

6. Are entirely ready to have the Internal Editor remove all these defects of manuscript, including those we're not willing to admit we have in public.

7. Humbly ask the Internal Editor to search and destroy all of our lousy writing.

8. Make a list of all other areas needing rewrites on the corrected manuscript, and become willing to fix them and not kick ourselves for missing them the first time.

9. Make direct amends to ignored spouses, partners, family members and other such people whenever possible, except when to do so would mess up our editing time.

10. Continue to edit on the final read-through of the manuscript and when we are wrong promptly edit it again.

11. Stop editing, seek through queries and submissions to improve our conscious contact with Publishing as we understand it, praying only for a shot at full manuscript request for us and the power to carry the edited manuscript to the post office for mailing without running back to the car shrieking Jesus I can't I've gotta read through it one more time.

12. Having had a professional awakening as the result of these steps, we will get over the finished manuscript, get off our asses and write the next book, try to carry this message to other writers, and practice these principles in all our editing affairs.


  1. LOLOLOL!! This is great.

    You know, though, Sheila, it occurs to me that in light of your previous post about NaNo, you really should have saved this one for December 1--after they've gotten the words out. So, NaNoers, chuckle, snort, snicker--then ignore this post and don't let your internal editor wake back up until after NaNo, when you're ready to edit the thing. For now, WRITE! ;)


  2. Anonymous12:28 AM

    Oh, lord, this is so perfect for what I'm going through at this moment.

    There are moments, though, when I'm convinced my inner editor is sitting there with a bottle of Jack and laughing at me.

  3. Anonymous9:30 AM

    This is timely for me because I just received my first request and the temptation to just look over it one more time is huge!

    Thank you for reminding to LET IT GO.

  4. But, but, but ... all this time I've been trying to BREAK my addiction to the internal editor! I need to abstain from over-criquing during the writing process.

    Great post. *g*

  5. Anonymous7:25 AM

    My God, you nearly made me cry with number 11. Very true. Thanks for the laugh.



Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.