Friday, January 25, 2013

Ice and Editing

Last night I was scraping ice off of my driveway.

But let's back track a bit.

Earlier that day I had an errand to do. I got in the car and slowly went down the driveway. I knew there was ice, but  how bad could it really be? (For those of you who don't know, my driveway is more like a sloping hill leading into traffic. Yes, I'm also on a main road).

And so I began the journey. Suddenly, the car, which was going about 1 mile an hour, began slipping. I couldn't stop it, and by the time I reached the end of the driveway my car was facing the other way. I was also glad I was able to maneuver the car into a snow embankment on one side of my driveway.

I was pretty scared but grateful that I was safe.

Photo by: kvanhorn, courtesy of Flickr
After the errand, I returned, but I knew better than to try and make it up the hill to park. So I parked below. In order to salt the driveway, I used the other snowy side of the driveway to throw out the salt. And then I waited for a bit so that I could scrape.

It took about an hour and a half to get most of the ice off. I think I could have actually put on ice skates and they would have worked, too; at least behind the house, not on the driveway.

At any rate, as much as I hate editing I know it must be done. Some of the tricks I use; some salt ideas if you'd like to call them, include:
  • Let it sit with salt. Putting the book aside for at least two weeks before I go back to it for the first edit. If I can manage to wait even longer, so much the better. The less I know what sentence is going to come next, the better. I need a fresh pair of eyes when it comes to editing. Salt works on a driveway, but it works better if you let it sit awhile.  
  • Get some help. I am a pretty good editor, but not always the best with my own work. Always, always get others to go over your work. They will see things you never will simply because they are a different person without the emotional stake that you have in the project. A sidewalk is always an easier project when you get assistance.
  • Take it slow. After your first edit, clean it up, make adjustments, but don't call it done. After the salt melts there is still some scraping involved. Don't overwork yourself. If you need breaks while getting the rest of the ice off, let it sit even longer. There will usually be spots that need a deeper scraping anyway.
Editing is really a writer's best friend and if done with salt, help and some time, your manuscript will be just where you want it.

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