A Few Words On The Editing Process

A Few Words On The Editing Process

The best advice I've learned about becoming a better writer.
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This week, I return to editing. I unpack my pens, take out my notebooks and open my word processor to the same opening chapter, visiting familiar first lines I have visited hundreds of times before—begrudging passes and red ink at 3:00 a.m. with only caffeine to fuel me.

It's nothing new for me. My world seems to always come back to editing at some point. In 2013, I started and finished a journey in writing my first novel. Quite coincidentally, I began attending college around the same time. A full plate of writing and essays since entering school and an even bigger project when I realized that my lovely first draft of a novel was not finished until I had edited it. For most students, the idea of editing the average essay is a painful thought. My novel had landed somewhere around 155,000 words.

It fills me with dread just thinking about it.

After three years of working, college and writing in conjunction, I've learned a thing or two about the editing process. That which has brought out the best in my academic writing has, in turn, brought my novel where it is today. The struggle is ever-present and complicated, but these are a few of the best pointers I've found for editing one's writing, both creative and professional.

Distance is key.

Contrary to the popular trend of the all-nighter, most of us need more time to edit than 24 hours (not to say I haven't been there, but hear me out). Any time we write a first draft, we are only experiencing what Terry Pratchett called “telling ourselves the story.” Whether it's a 2,000 word essay or a 50,000 word novel, early drafts tend to spill out in messy, unpolished concepts. Revision and editing are not new applications to remedy the chaos of a first draft, but distance is often very important in churning out quality products. I usually give 48 hours to return to papers for classes, and a minimum of two weeks before returning to any creative project. The less familiar you are with your work, the easier it will be to edit and find your own errors in the long run.

Kill your darlings.

The art of writing is paired, hand in hand, with the art of deleting. Another quote about writing often coined and used is the famous “kill your darlings," meaning we must part with aspects of our projects, even if we love them. Once you're put some distance between you and the draft, you often find yourself with a slew of content you no longer need. After multiple edits, actually, a work can begin to reshape or even change altogether. Some of the most difficult points in the writing process are where you have a piece that you absolutely, completely and totally adore, and it no longer fits with the rest of the work. I tend to keep a file for deleted scenes or sentences I'm fond of. They always find their way back into your writing, one way or another. Sacrificing words from a work will often strengthen it, in the long run.


The more eyes, the better.

When all editing is said and done and you have properly cleaned up your work, it is in your best interest to hand off your writing to a few trusted friends and well-read eyes. For some, the idea of opening an unfinished work to criticism causes more anxiety than finishing the work itself. Nevertheless, there is something great about the presence of a reader in a project. My beta-readers, past and present, have been some of the most valuable voices in changes and last edits. They can catch errors, continuity problems and tone changes that you might have otherwise missed. It can be a frightening part of the editing process, but worth the bravery it can take.

What are your favorite pieces of editing advice, or tricks that get you through a drafts? Do your processes differ with your creative and academic work?

Cover Image Credit: My Shelby Library

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22 Post Malone ‘beerbongs & bentleys’ Lyrics College Kids Will Use As Insta Captions This Summer

It's here, and it's fire.
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If you didn't know, I am really not sure how you wouldn't know, but it's fine, Post Malone's new album FINALLY came out! Posty has time and time again proven that he's a trailblazer in the music industry. His genre is a mix of everything, from rap to acoustic guitar, and he sounds like he's at home in both settings.

Here it is, a list of Post Malone lyrics you'll use or see as Instagram captions. I can already feel it, this summer is Posty's summer –– a summer for "beerbongs & bentleys."

1. "Spoil My Night" - "Won't you come spoil my night?"

2. "Spoil My Night" - "Feelings come into play and I'm thinkin' this happens every time"

3. "Spoil My Night" - "Yeah, when I walk up in a party, they all act like they know me"

4. "Zack and Codeine" - "Been livin' fast, no I can't take it slowly"

5. "Zack and Codeine" - "But it don't mean nothing without all my people"

6. "Zack and Codeine" - "Pour that drink 'cause we ain't sleepin' tonight"

7. "Takin Shots" - "Heard that there's a party, I might pay a visit"

8. "Takin Shots" - "Baby, just for the night, you my soulmate"

9. "Over Now" - "I'ma turn the tables, promise you will not forget it"

10. "Stay" - "Damn, who are we right now?"

11. "Blame It On Me" - "These hurricanes inside of my brain"

12. "Same Bitches" - "Bottles on deck, and my drink full"

13. "Same Bitches" - "Population four million, how I see the same bitches?"

14. "Jonestown" - "It happens every time"

15. "92 Explorer" - "She in the front seat head bangin'"

16. "Sugar Wraith" - "And then I went and changed my life"

17. "Sugar Wraith" - "I take the lead, they just follow"

18. "Rockstar" - "Sayin, 'I'm with the band'"

19. "Rockstar" - "Livin’ like a Rockstar, I’m livin’ like a Rockstar"

20. "Rockstar" - "Sweeter than a Pop-Tart”

21. "Psycho" - "Can’t really trust nobody with all this jewelry on you"

22. "Psycho" - "I got homies, let it go"

Cover Image Credit: Post Malone // Instagram

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Fiction On The Odyssey: Without Chaos Part 2

The world is a broken record; history is a pattern that repeats itself.
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Click here to read part one.


25. Stove

There is no massive pot of potato stew when she returns.

Instead, the living room is filled with barrels.

26. Smug

She used be so smug when she was younger, back when everything was perfect.

God, she wants to punch that brat.

27. Emotion

Her first emotion, when the boy with the steadfast gaze offers her a shower at his house, is fear.

28. Chin

The boy with the steadfast gaze, she learns upon closer inspection, has dimples when he smiles, as well as a small mole on his chin.

The mole fascinates her.

How must it feel to have such a perfect life that even something as insignificant as a mole sits perfectly equidistant from either side of his face?

29. Winter

When she’s not shivering, dirty, and sitting beneath the shadow of a leafless tree, she can appreciate the beauty. The view from his bathroom is positively gorgeous. The world, powdered with white and covered in icicles, is a winter wonderland.

With this comfortably sheltered view through the window frame, it’s hard to believe that such beauty could be so deadly.

30. Knots

The clothes that adorn her body are clean and warm. The air smells deliciously salty, wonderfully sweet, and perfectly spicy. For a moment, she can almost believe she’s somewhere else - somewhere where the view is vast and blue in the best possible way, the wind tangles tangles her hair, and she feels her father’s hand on her own.

“Dad, how fast are we going?” she had yelled.

“Twenty-three knots!” he’d screamed back.

“Don’t yell,” her mother had reprimanded.

But when she had glanced behind at her mother, she had seen that her mother was smiling, too.

31. Stay

“Thank you for everything,” she says to the mother of the boy with the steadfast gaze. “I’ll return the clothes tomorrow.”

“Oh, honey,” the mother says, “Wouldn’t you like to stay? I’ve made you tomato soup. My son says it’s your favorite.”

She would love to stay if not only for the tomato soup, but her mother had once told her to never, at all costs, leave herself indebted to another. “Oh, um - “

“I insist.”

But then again, her mother spends most of her time unconscious on the apartment’s puke-filled couch.

32. Rarest

The rarest feeling in the world, she decides, is that of genuine belonging.

33. Describe

“What’s the world’s most impossible task?” he asks her one windy morning.

Her shoulders lift into a shrug.

“Describing a color to a blind person.”

34. Surrounds

She learns quickly that silence is one thing that he cannot tolerate for long. As a result, the space between them is often filled to the brim with random trivia facts.

She doesn’t mind. To her, it’s a welcome distraction from everything else that surrounds her.

35. Step

She takes a step towards him and stumbles.

She’s righted before she ever had the chance to fall.

36. Eyes

His gaze still speaks of steadfast loyalty.

She no longer wants to punch him.

37. Know

“Did you know that vodka is made from potatoes?”

“Nope,” she replies breezily before feeling the full impact of their words. She pauses.

The potatoes. The massive pot. The barrels.

Oh, no.

She’s off before he can utter another word.

38. Can

She can make it home before the officers arrive.

She can make it home before the officers arrive.

She must.

39. Tasteless

His mother sets a bowl of steaming tomato soup down in front of her.

Her stomach churns.

The soup is red, bright red. It’s the exact shade of the ugly red tape that had been hastily applied in a severe “X” across the front door of the apartment: the one that read: RESTRICTED AREA: AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY.

Her mother was arrested. The apartment was locked up.

All remnants of her previous life is gone.

And it took her four days to realize.

Briefly, she wonders why she has yet to be pulled aside by the school and placed in a community home. She wonders if, when her mother told the police that she was childless, her mother had been thinking of her daughter, for once, or if her mother had simply forgotten about the existence of her daughter.

Bitterly, she concludes that it was the latter.

His mother frowns at the untouched bowl. “Eat up. You’ll need your strength.”

The soup is tasteless.

40. Aimless

She aches from the sudden detachedness from her previous life. And yet, her release relieves her.

She thinks of everything. She thinks of nothing.

She doesn’t know what to do.

41. Weary

When he smiles, she’s too weary to smile back.

42. Tentatively

It’s a few days before the sky finally decides to reflect her the state of her soul.

He has kept quiet for the past few days. Their silences aren’t tense like they once were, but they haven’t been comfortable, either. She can feel his pressing curiosity, threatening to crush their delicate silence. She knows she should tell him before he asks, as he’s bound to find out either way. And yet, she can’t find the words.

“So, uh,” he says, tentatively.

His voice wavers slightly.

He’s also scared, she realizes with amazement. Of what, she doesn’t know. But she can guess.

“I didn’t realize that -” she breaks off abruptly, temporarily shocked by the sound of her voice. After a brief glance at him, she catches sight of the encouraging smile tugging at his lips. She continues. “I didn’t realize that my mother had been making vodka until you told me that bit of trivia, the one about vodka and potatoes.”

“You didn’t realize?” he asked, astonishment written all over his face. “But, wouldn’t you notice if your apartment started smelling like alcohol?”

Has she really not told him?

“It always smells like alcohol.”

43. Remembers

For the first time in years, she gets tucked into bed, complete with a kiss on her forehead.

Tears slide silently down her cheeks as she thinks of her father.

44. Signature

“Did you know,” she says, testing his signature phrase on her lips, “that one time, a crack junkie complained to the police about the cocaine he bought being of subpar quality?”

His head is back and he’s laughing, laughing, laughing.

She can’t process anything, she can’t process nothing, not when that jovial sound is cascading freely though his mouth. Her heart has stopped beating. She stops breathing. Her eyes are wide. She watches, and watches, and watches, and -

“W-well?” he asks, still wheezing and still giggling. “What h-happened t-to him?”

She’s caught completely off guard. Her heart is still in her throat. “Um. Oh. Right, er, uh - arrested. Obviously. He got arrested.”

He roars into laughter once again.

After a few seconds, she stops watching.

She joins him.

45. Intelligent

She never has the the guts to say it herself, but she’s grateful for his presence in her life. He always knows what to say, what not to say, and when to say nothing at all.

She’s glad to have met someone as intelligent as him.

46. Notice

It takes her a while, but finally, she visits her mother.

Her mother doesn’t even seem to notice her presence.

It takes her much, much longer, but eventually, she realizes that it’s okay that her mother cannot recognize her, much less pay her any attention. There are better people that can.

47. Strong

Once upon a time, she thought she was strong.

Fate has confirmed that.

48. Home

Over a bowl of ripe raspberries, in a blanket fort, they do silly, memorable things in the way that friends do. They talk of unimportant things and make unspoken promises. It takes her some time, but finally, it registers that she has inadvertently found herself a home with the boy with eyes that speak of steadfast loyalty.

She might as well make herself at home.

49. Carve

“What's your name?”

He smiles broadly. “I thought you'd never ask.”

She takes his name and carves it onto her heart.

50. Everything

The world is a broken record. History is a pattern that repeats itself.

Without chaos, everything remains.


Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash / Lane Jackman

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