I recently edited my manuscript, I mean REALLY edited. It was 152,000, and now it is at 108,089. It was painful, slow, and consumed most of my thoughts. I took the middle and put it in the beginning. I then cut a lot of the beginning out, parts I loved about the protagonist. I then took out some scenes that didn’t really need to be there to support the story. Some of those particular moments were my favorite. One character, who I adore, is pretty much just in the background now. With all that said, the process was also quite rewarding. My manuscript reads better now, the exciting moments come sooner, and let’s face it…a publisher or agent is more likely to pick it up now with a smaller word count.
Now I know what editing is and its purpose. Six months ago I “edited” my first manuscript, which was finally finished. I ended up adding more description of things, more thoughts of the protagonist, and even more scenes. I also spent a lot of time taking out and putting back commas. That was not editing. What I did this week was, and I am thankful that I finally found the true meaning of the word edit. I also wish I would have “googled” the word count of some of my favorite novels earlier. A novice can be easily deceived by page numbers. I definitely was thinking my book was shorter.
This whole process reminded me of something I have learned along the way about God. He edits us. Sometimes it is painful, and the whole process can be slow. It usually consumes all our thoughts and time when God makes changes in our life to help us grow. The situations are usually the ones that hurt the most, but it is so worth it in the end.
My daughter was in the NICU for the first week of her life. We have ABO incompatibility. It was the toughest week of my life to watch her get poked and see all those wires connected to her tiny chest. I could only hold her for about five minutes every day. It hurt, but so many good things happened as a result of that time. My relationship with my sister is stronger, and God prepared me more for motherhood during that week than any book ever could.
I am thankful that God edits us. I don’t ever want to be complacent. I also don’t want to be a 150,000 word manuscript full of a lot of useless and confusing fluff. I want to be the easily read, fast paced 108,089 book that can’t be put down. As the author, I also know it needs more editing and can be even more concise. We’re never finished, and God, thankfully, is never finished with us.
Hebrews 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God