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Surgery

Thought you all might enjoy this link.  For the lazy, check out the picture to the right: basically, that is a book that has chunks of pages cut out to highlight the illustrations in a medical textbook.  The link highlights more of this art, done by a very dedicated, very insane man.

Isn’t that crazy?

And while part of my soul screams out in terror (how can you have defaced a book this way?), the other part looks at it and goes, huh–that’s a good metaphor for editing.

Editing comes along slowly, the same way I imagine this man perfects his art.  First, take out the huge chunks–those unnecessary parts of dialogue, scenery and expositions that bore the reader to death, etc.  Second, go back in and carve with delicate tools, crafting, snipping, cutting, adding, bit by painful bit, until all you can see are the beautiful illustrations and words that soar and shine.

For that’s what you’re doing with your novel when editing–you are changing its shape.  Just like this guy is.

Granted, it’s not a perfect metaphor.  After all, this artist is taking out parts from a final form, a fully published work.  What makes editing even harder for writers, is that there is no final form.  At least, not yet.  You do not have a fully published work–you are attacking an imperfect draft to begin with.

But, unlike this guy, you are also adding things, bit by painful bit.

And I have confidence those who carve away, but are careful to leave beautiful parts intact, as well as add some new passages, will be the ones that see the publishing light of day in the end.

So keep on carving away fellow writers and editors, because judging by the above product, the end result is absolutely worth it.

May the Force be with you,

Jedi

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