Writing: Evil Inner Editor’s Return

Observant readers may notice my avatar is different.  It’s still me, err, Mrs. Lovett, but I’m looking a little haggard after NaNo.  Plus, there’s that whole deal with blood stains on my collar.

Red Smith once said, “Writing is easy. You just sit down at the typewriter, open up a vein, and bleed it out drop by drop.”   Who am I to argue?

I finished my draft Friday at 8:00 a.m.   Oh, what a Beautiful Morning, Ode to Joy, Supercalifragilistecexpialidocious!

Aha!  But wait.  That means it’s revision time.  And that means it’s the return of …. (cue creepy horror theme music.  The Omen will do, thank you)….. The Evil Inner Editor.


Over the weekend, I dug out my key from its hiding spot and unlocked the closet door in which I’d thrown Ms. Evil Inner Editor.   Ms. E did not glare at me or even smirk.  She is above such things.   Ms. E knows she is needed as much as she is despised.   She walked by me, took a seat at the table, stared at the 250 typed pages and three different colored pens, and set to work.

“Bring me tea and play music.  Nothing with lyrics.   Rachmaninoff,” she said.

Ms. E is following author Holly Lisle’s One-Pass Revision Method that another blogger was kind enough to mention on her blog.    The method is brutal.   Ms. E must go through every single scene, one at at time, searching for different elements.  Some of these elements must be deleted out with a huge X.  Other elements must be added in.  Hence, all the pens.  Ms. Lisle says,  “Your final clean pages  to scribbled on pages ratio is probably 1:2, 1:3, or even 1:4.”

Har! Ms. Lisle obviously never attempted this against a NaNo first draft.   Ms. E is on page 60 now, and there is not one single page not splashed with ink.

It may come as no surprise that Ms. E is absolutely loving this.


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27 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Too true- our inner editors must be appeased, after being bound and gagged for a month or three. Enjoy one-pass. It’s painful, but it’s a *good* kinda hurt. 🙂


  2. Good luck. Revising is more fun for me than writing. I’m a sadist that way!

  3. Hey Amy,

    Yup. Hurts so good. I don’t mind hard work when it’s something I’m passionate about. And, I see this method *working*. Not like the haphazard edits I usually do.

  4. Hiya Rachel,

    Me too. First drafts take a lot out of me emotionally and mentally. I like to think of editing as sculpting.

  5. I’m about to dive into my NaNo first draft tonight, and I’m ready! I want to get this novel prettied up and queried around. : )

    Since my first novel is 150,000 words, it makes this second, with its 51,000 words, a little less daunting.

    My only hope is that the inner editor comes out, but the crazy perfectionist remains in the closet!

    Em : P

  6. Hiya Em,

    Me too! I’m itching to finish this thing and send her off into query hell. No, query heaven. (positive thinking)

    You might want to read up on Holly Lisle’s revision method to see if it might work for you or not.

    Sending you tons of luck. 🙂

  7. My inner editor take a pass on my NaNo until February. He is still busy with my first project.

  8. Hey Ralfast,

    I’m sure your inner editor is pleased there’s more work in store for him. 🙂

  9. Oh I know my inner editor will be VERY brutal come January…since I still have to finish the NaNo novel this month.

    I was pretty much a slave to her for years; she wouldn’t let me submit things to critiques or even for other reader perusal because it was not up to her standards.

    I’ve since tamed her a bit, but she’s still fairly brutal…:P

    Great post!

  10. Hey Dara,

    Thanks. I’m glad you liked the post. 🙂

    I’ve recently made a peace bargain with Ms. Evil Inner Editor. She can be as critical as she needs to be during revision/editing stages. But while I’m engaged in the actual writing of the story, she must go back into the closet. (which is quite comfy- like Jeanie’s bottle)

  11. My evil editor outsmarted me this year. Somehow she kept slipping her bonds and every time I made progress in the story I found her hovering over my shoulder. I finally just bribed her with chocolates and tea to sit quietly in the corner. She didn’t scream and howl her derision at my every hackneyed phrase, but she did make gagging noises every time I used an adverb. It was a fair compromise.

  12. Hey Mary,

    I can actually *see* you stuffing chocolates down your evil editor’s throat.

    Locked closets, death by chocolate…there’s a lot of ideas for horror stories here.

  13. I was a NaNo rebel this year and instead of writing a new novel, I finished the major revisions of my already completed one. It is hard work, but so worth it. And when I finished…WooHoo, it felt great! Good luck to you on yours. I like your thoughts on revising beiung like sculpting. 🙂

  14. Hey Bloggingexperiments,

    I was a NaNo rebel too- mine was an already started project. I just didn’t count anything written before Nov. 1st.

    Major major congrats for finishing your revisions. (hands you brownies) Must be an incredible feeling. 🙂

    Okay. I’m inspired. After this cuppa tea I’m heading offline and into revision land.

  15. Good luck with the revisions, Gypsy. I know my evil inner editor is back and with a vengeance. She wasn’t too happy about being duct-taped and shoved into the closet, I guess.

    Gotta pay the piper, now. LOL!

  16. Thanks, Jen. Good luck on yours, as well.

    Heh. If your inner editor saw what *mine* was grappling with, she’d feel a lot better. 🙂

  17. “three different colored pens”…

    …are you watching me!?!?!

  18. Of course not, Colby, dear. Why would you think such a thing? (adjusts binoculars)

  19. How goes the one pass?

  20. Hey Mary,

    I’m on page one hundred. Only about 150 left to go. I have a long weekend coming up. I hope to finish going through the pages during it. Then start typing in fixed scenes, added scenes, etc..

  21. Wow, good luck with Inner Evil Editor! Let me know know the editing method goes–I might try it on my next novel. I’m going to have a mini Nano session coming up in January….

  22. Hi Nancy,

    Thanks! Today I just finished going through the draft: editing, writing down scene ideas to be added, deleted, moved around. Tomorrow I’m starting the 2nd draft.

    Good luck with your own NaNo this January. 🙂

  23. I know —


    That should keep the inner editor at bay!

    (I love the snow! It really shows up *great* on your blog theme.

    Em 🙂

  24. Thanks, Em. I never would have even known about it if you hadn’t mentioned it on your blog. 🙂

    You wanna snowball fight? Bring it on! (hurls big, fat snowball towards Emily)

  25. (Ducking, scooping, quickly molding and hurling a fat one back atcha!)

    Brrrr, it’s cold out here for us desert girls. : )

    Em says, shivering.

  26. Congratulations on winning NaNo. I started Holly’s One-Pass Revision Process on my WIP last week as well. I’m on page 76 and there are no clean pages at all (I posted some pictures of what the marked-up pages look like — it ain’t pretty). My inner editor is pretty good about leaving me alone during first drafts, because he likes to laugh at me during the revisions.

    Sounds like your inner editor is faster than mine. Good luck.

  27. Hey Unfocused Me,

    All the best with One-Pass. I’ve started typing out the second draft.

    Heh. You should see my pages. All of them were scribbled all over with colored ink.

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