Who needs edits? I opt for Brain Surgery instead!

…No really I am not joking…after the round of migraine attacks I have had just this year I am ready for elective brain surgery, failing that a brain transplant from a non-perfectionist…

Archeological remains of patients of brain sur...
Archeological remains of patients of brain surgery performed by ancient doctors of the Inca Empire in the 15th century. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So March is National Chainsaw-Wielding Editing Month…However for me, I have been deep in editing mode for about 6 months. But for me March is the If I don’t step away now I will …. End-Game. So what have I hated learnt about the brain surgery editing process?


  1. … I am a Control-Freak Perfectionist and my own worst enemy not to mention my novel’s. 

  2.  …Don’t over-edit…That is what an “Editor” is there for.

  3. Step away from the manuscript slowly when you have the itch to wield a chainsaw. (Or make sure there is a tree nearby that needs pruning if you cannot step away.)

  4. … In the words of a very wise CP : Say to your EGO “SHOVE OFF” or use more colorful  4 letter terms, I am sure I don’t need to elaborate here.

  5. Step away from the manuscript when you want to kill all your characters from frustration.

  6. …Make sure you have someone in your life who will call you on the head-crap you put yourself through in editing mode…

  7. …Do not hit delete (as tempting as it is) instead Step away and send it to that person who does not accept head-crap from you. (Tip: Make sure you truly are scared this person will whack you if you don’t let them help. Fear is a great motivator to get rid of the EGO.)

  8. …Don’t be so struck with stage-fright or that dreaded EGO to not ask   demand help from any corner willing to give it.

  9. Step away from the manuscript when it starts turning your hair follicles white and your fingers are being chewed to the bone from tension and nerves.

  10. Step away from the edits and play with another WIP to rejuvenate your creative self-esteem…It helps if the next WIP is all about a serial killer…There is something soothing about killing off your secondary characters in a new story. Great stress-reliever.

When all else fails, buy yourself a bottle of red wine, a ginormous slab of chocolate and curl up on the couch with your favourite thriller (Then making sure all the windows are closed, you can scream out your frustrations with the excuse that you are scared of the killer lurking on the screen.)

… What doesn’t kill you, (or make you kill others) will make you stronger….Breathe…Count to 100…Stretch…

So nod yes if you have learned any of the same lessons above as I have. Nod yes if editing your own ms has given you grey hair and/or a license to wield a chainsaw. Nod yes if you wished a virus would eat up your ms so that you could just forget it and head onto the next story.

Now I am stepping away, putting down the chainsaw, staying away from the Destroy “Delete” key and off to play with my new WIP…Followed by red wine, chocolate and the scariest thriller I can find on the movie channel.

Rinse & Repeat: What doesn’t kill me (or make me kill others outside of fiction) will make me stronger!

19 thoughts on “Who needs edits? I opt for Brain Surgery instead!

  1. Yes, I have a love/hate relationship with editing. I usually love it the first couple times through, then I start hating it, with the exception of those moments when you discover some connection/undercurrent that you hadn’t noticed before that you can strengthen. I actually really like those moments, but I didn’t hit them with The Imaginings until probably the seventh run through. And by that time, yeah, I was ready to kill someone.

    Paul D. Dail
    http://www.pauldail.com- A horror writer’s not necessarily horrific blog

  2. Red wine.
    All three at the same time?

    Will you marry me?

    Somewhere between the third and tenth revision, I wanted to throw my novel away. The day before I was supposed to send the final ms to be formatted, I was in complete despair that it was The Worst Thing Ever Written, In Any Language, On Any World. I was distraught and found having that person who doesn’t put up with my shit to be invaluable. Because of him, I didn’t commit heinous murder upon my book. Or my laptop, where my book was convinced it was in some sort of non-extradition country and couldn’t be held accountable for the crimes of which I accused it. The laptop was gonna get it, I’ll tell you that much…

    Hope the trifecta of wine + chocolate + thriller worked its magic for you.

    1. LOL….I am so there with you…My person has just saved my ms’s life….This ms does not know how close to utter destruction and obliteration it came.
      Ah and that trifecta always works 🙂

  3. I feel the same about edits. When I start them, I go from–oh, I love this–to–OH, I hate this–to–okay, this really stinks! Help? But I always know it will be alright in the end. I have used the same advice you’ve given on several occasions. I’ll add that working out alleviates a great deal of stress and can push away those migraines you’ve been experiencing. Think about stepping away for a walk 🙂

    1. I agree with you on outdoor pursuits and exercise as being a good stress alleviator. Thanks for commenting. 🙂

  4. I feel your pain, Kim. I have been knee deep in the edits as well. I fight the desire to keep going over the same chapter time and time again. I force myself to move on. Nothing is ever good enough. Thanks for linking me.

    1. I loved your post so it was my pleasure to link to you. Yes edits and I walk a fine line between Love and Hate…You can’t live with them and you can’t live without them. 😉

      1. Thank you so much. I’m glad you liked it. Good luck on your edits. I wish I could be locked away from all other responsibilities to finish mine. Realistic? Probably not.

    1. Killing off people in fiction I am allowed to do…and I recommend for the safety of all in the editing writer’s closest vicinity 😉

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