You’re in the throes of creativity. Words fly off your fingertips like drops from a sprinkler. You’re in that curious state of mind where you’re just the court reporter to the plot unfolding in your brain. Those poor people who are shooting crank – they have no idea what a real altered state of consciousness really is.
Then the work is done. The plot ends. And scattered around your hard drive, like the litter from a fantastic house party, your work. Maybe you got lucky, and it’s all gathered in your kitchen, in a single document. Worse, you might have to go from room to room, from file to file, collecting all of the debris into a single coherent whole. Yes, you’re in that hell called Editing.
Like other chores, it’s far better with help. I am certain I would be far worse off without my Alpha Reader, my wonderful wife. She has an amazing ability to find errors in my prose, as well as tell me when I go astray on the page. Here’s a perfect example…
Before: “hustled the first two couples back tot heir seats”
After: “hustled the first two couples back to their seats”
NOTICE: Word’s automated spell-checker, grammar checker, and all around Mr. Fixit did not catch this one. Neither did I. I read that line at least twice. But The WW did catch it. This is why you have to have a trusted Alpha Reader in your writing life. Listen to them. Reward them. Because they will save you from failure.
UPDATE: Yes, I misspelled “editing” with two Ts. WW picked it up immediately. H/T Sharon for pointing it out.