"Editing is like untangling a slinky."
It made me wonder...what are others' takes on the editing process. So I did a Google search.
A lot of authors have editing analogy posts. Click on the author names to see the original posts. Remember, though, I know nothing about these people--they just came up in my search. This is neither advertisement nor endorsement--just me including their names to give credit for the quotes, and including the links for you curious people so you don't annoy me by griping that you can't go read them.
Editing is like:
A toothbrush. "Just like your teeth, your novel needs diligent cleansing. You may not catch every mistake, but you’ll stop them from multiplying into infections and cavities." (A.M. Harte)
A winter storm. "It’s a journey into winter, where hell can/and does freeze over. Where chilling winds sweep across the landscape of your novel and leave some parts bare. Where a writer can get lost in the mounting drifts of plot and character and setting, and lose sight of home." (Cat Woods)
Eating an elephant. "You tackle it one bite at a time." (Maria Zannini)
Car repair. "If I'm going to fix something, I might as well do a complete job of it." (Nancy Kelley)
Moving. "...all the big stuff is done. You can see the end. But between you and the end is all this little stuff. And...dealing with the little stuff takes SEVENTEEN TIMES LONGER than the rest of the move." (Miriam Forster)
Piano practice. "You have to take it a few measures at a time, zone in on the trouble spots, and really learn the music phrase by phrase, before you can smooth it out as a finished piece." (Taryn Tyler)
Mulching. (Okay, I'm not posting a quote from this one--it made no sense to me, at least not how it's mulching specifically.) (Rebecca Belliston)
Making the perfect pizza. "You don’t want to overdo it or underdo it, or you’ll end up with an indigestible product. Plus, everybody’s got an opinion on how much is enough." (S.L. Hoffman)
Frolicking in a field of needles. (Hm, this post never actually says HOW it's like that, but hey, I can't say I disagree.) (No name on the blog--why am I not surprised?)
Alright, this isn't from a blog, it's a Tweet, but I think it is my favorite of the bunch:
"Editing is like trying to spot the differences between two pictures when you only have one of them.":D
I guess I'll end on that note.
What do you think editing is like?
Editing is like very hard work, is what it is! I think it's like cutting a diamond. It's slow and painstaking, but man, when you're done, it sparkles.
It's like refining silver. You have some dull, icky ore and you throw it in a fire. Heat it just right, skim off the dross, and presto! Shiny.
Editing is like wearing braces on your teeth with periodic tightenings to ensure they line up.
These are great! Thanks for sharing them, Kessie, Caprice, and Janalyn :).
Editing is like trying to kill a nestful of hornets. If you miss one, it will come back to get you with a vengeance.
Editing is a little like a game of hide and seek, trying to find all those weasel words, find and plug plot holes, and make sure you end each chapter with a cliffhanger.
Lately I've been telling people that doing my edits is like wrestling an octopus! I've had to move some things closer to the front of the book which, of course, has repercussions all the way back--in every subplot as well as in the main story! Ack! This thing has too many arms!
This is a fun post--so many clever similes! From the perspective of the editor, I can toss this in: Editing is like unscrambling an egg. Like nudging through the broken yolk (plot) and runny whites (extraneous descriptions and scenes) to find the story that at one time was the perfect egg.
Ooh, more cool ones! Thanks, Carolyn, Ane, Anne, and Linda!
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