Editing by Feel: The first attempts at turning Vomit Copy into First Draft

 I made a deal with myself, because I thought Future Me would somehow have awesome powers or something. Editing would somehow seep into my brain because I needed it, surely. Writing had been part of my life so long, surely I would have a great time and be able to edit the mess into something readable. Maybe even good!

Oh Past Me, what dreams you had, that I must now carry…

Editing is not as straightforward as I thought it would be. It could partly be due to the ‘working from vomit copy’ issue, it could be because I didn’t have a clear idea of how to break the story up. Even if it’s something completely different, I find myself sitting at my computer and struggling to work out where to start.

Start at the beginning. A friend of mine, sick of my whinging I assume, pointed out to me that I really only had one place to start. The start. I had already read through the piece as a whole, cringing all the way, and had the plot outline to prove it. There was nothing for it except getting in there and reshaping the clay I had made.

I needed goals. ‘Edit the Vomit Copy’ was too big. It was nebulous. Impossible. Intangible.

  • Get the plot outline. Check.
  • Make general notes on story feel. Check.
  • Identify problems. Sort of there…
  • Work out how to deal with aforementioned problems. Aaaaahhhh….

Start at the beginning. I put down the list, and there were more things on it, and I asked myself what I really wanted from this process.

I want a first draft. It doesn’t have to be any good, it just has to mostly be there, about the length I want. That’s it. Preferably with the romantic subplot explicit rather than lingering in my shy writing mind. Left that our in the Vomit Copy somehow.

So I am starting at the start. I am going to rewrite as I feel the story needs, remembering that I can include huge chunks of words. I need to get another 50k in there somehow, and that’s not going to be done by cutting things out!

Chapter 1, here I come!


Dusty being my office buddy.

Dusty being my office buddy.