Paul.E.Bailey’s World – Living the Dream Part 4 (Editing)

Hello and welcome to the fourth instalment of Living the Dream; the series that delves into my dealings where reading and, more pertinently, writing are concerned.

For the first three of this series (actually for every single post to date) I prewrote them so that I could fine-tune when it came time to post. However, on this occasion I’m writing this just the day before it’s due to go live on Paul.E.Bailey’s World.

There is a good reason for that. The reason is the theme of this post (and raising a son of course).

I am feverishly and incessantly editing my ‘big project’. It’s the second time of doing so. After my good friend Steve (please follow his blog Just a few words about… by the way) proofread the first edit for me, he suggested a different route to take in the prologue and it was a route I immediately agreed was a better one.

So the second edit began in earnest. Not only have parts of the story had to change completely, but I’ve also been working on reducing the word count mainly by making the sentence and word structure more succinct (for example, he was extremely happy that they had arrived would now become he was happy they’d arrived. I might keep the extremely if it’s absolutely necessary).

It’s an arduous process, but I think any and all story writers will agree it’s absolutely necessary. It’s every bit as important as writing the story in the first place in my opinion.

You will never get a story right first time. It’s impossible. There’ll always be a bit or two that needs tweaking even if only infinitesimally. As my story is over 300,000 words long there will probably never be a time where I’m one hundred percent happy with it, but I need to get it as near as damnit.

Editing isn’t easy. It’s basically admission that what you did wasn’t right the first time. There’s no shame in it, but come on; we all like to think our literary offerings are absolutely brilliant, don’t we? It’s a real heart vs mind affair.

You have to decide what isn’t good enough that needs changing or even getting rid of bits completely.

My story was what it was. The change I ended up making hasn’t massively affected the way the story flows, but it has changed the story if only a little bit. In some ways, that makes me feel melancholy because for years that first version of events was the only version of events. There was no Plan B in that first instance. As far as I was concerned, the story was going to go the way it did and it was never going to deviate.

In essence, my changing the story in that one bit of the prologue means the original bit will effectively no longer exist. All that creative literature will never be seen aside from those who have been lucky enough to read it already. Obviously I’ve kept the first edit, but it’ll never be the edit I send to agents when the time comes.

When you think about it, that’s quite sad isn’t it?

Don’t get me wrong. The changes are necessary. They make the story better. In fact they make the story fantastic in my humble opinion. I absolutely love this mammoth-sized novel I’ve created and am genuinely excited to get it out into the public forum. Whether it’ll do well is in the hands of those who read it, but every bit of my heart and soul has gone into writing it.

Anyway, I digress slightly. This second edit is likely to be the edit. It’ll be the one that meets the eyes of agents and perhaps publishers and it makes me feel guilty for consigning that poor first edit in the dark corner of my hard drive somewhere. What did it ever do wrong?

Editing is seriously cutthroat. You have to be ruthless to do it. I remember editing Horror Holiday (the story I wrote in my teens) and I changed rather a lot about it. I never saved the original version and I hate that because I can’t remember how it went. I know it was rudimentary and lacking in a literary sense, but that’s not the point. I put so much into that story at such a young age and I should’ve saved that original manuscript.

I did the same with my current story. The first edit is there saved and safe, but the very original version I wrote is no more. I edited so much in the first edit that the story was almost entirely altered, but I have no idea how the original version read at all.

The lesson here is always save your originals! I mean every time! Even if you think it’s no good. Just save it. You’ll regret it one day if you don’t. Having that history to look back on is so important I feel. It’s so easy to just think “ah, that isn’t good enough” and then crack on changing it, but think for a moment about the effort you put into that original version. It was the first ever appearance of those ideas you had in physical form. That original deserves your respect and your love.

I might actually sound like I’m down on editing here, but I assure you that isn’t the case. It has its sadistic side, but that’s not the intent of an edit. Its primary purpose is to improve. It doesn’t intentionally kill the previous version; it merely looks to improve the product as a whole. So I’m very pro editing as long as the changes aren’t for change’s sake.

But as aforementioned, you should show the respect that the original deserves. Without the original there would be no product to begin with. I’ll never make the mistake of not saving an original again; for the sake of nostalgia if nothing else.

It’s fair to say editing is fun though. Frustrating, but fun. I love watching how the story transforms as I change little details here and there. I love knowing that I’m giving my story the time and attention to detail that it deserves. Each moment I spend making it better, the better it will serve me when the time comes to lay myself on the line and present to agents and publishers.

In conclusion then, the original has its job. It serves its purpose by being the middle. The idea, the brainstorming session you initially have, the synopsis; that’s the beginning. The original lays its life down in service to the grander scheme. It gives itself away to the edit; the end. Because everything has a beginning, middle and end. Not just the story, but the makings of the story too.

The edit is the finished product. The original is the product in production. The idea is the product being conceived. It all sews together seamlessly and beautifully. Each part of the process is just as important as the other.

I think writing is so simple. That’s not to say I believe I’m brilliant at it. I know I could be better. I could have paid more attention in English at school and learned the craft much better. To the day, I couldn’t properly describe what nouns, verbs, adjectives and all those things are. But I don’t think you need to in order to write a good story. All you need is a good idea and the passion to write. I have the latter and I like to think I have the former too. I understand what it takes to write a story and what ingredients are needed.

Hopefully I’ve taken what I know and written a story that’s going to kick-start the career I yearn for. I guess that’s something I’ll find out before long.

Have you ever had to edit your work before? Has the process of editing ever put you off continuing? Are you brave enough to throw your work out there without reading through and editing? As ever, your thoughts are welcomed and comments appreciated. Thank you for reading.


103 thoughts on “Paul.E.Bailey’s World – Living the Dream Part 4 (Editing)

  1. Great 👍 awesome 👏 advice Paul..
    It’s right for her.. we all have our own system of getting where we are going.. and getting it done…
    ” you write it In the way it makes you happy 😊 “.. brilliant concept..

    You write the way it works for you summer..
    second that motion…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. That is so full proof.. correct..
    I have done this same thing with my writing.. but unlike you I always have the original draft ..

    But going back over it.. every time I do I see something that could have been said differently or taken out..
    or revise In a different manner..

    It’s all good to tweak as a reader.. but as you stated sometimes we do so many changes we lost the very jist of we were trying to say or portray..

    Very interesting article and observations.. and it does make the amateur writer like me .. think about how we edit..

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey, I’m an amateur myself 🙂 We’re all helping one another aren’t we.
      We all have our different ways and styles of writing. I guarantee they’re all completely different too. But as long as what comes out in the end is good that’s all that matters 🙂


  3. Think of what a great sigh of victory you’ll take when you finally finish all that editing!
    Great new post and I couldn’t even tell you half assed it. Haha
    I have tried editing a story I wrote that is 35k words and I come away with the opposite feeling you obviously do.
    It makes me want to chuck it all and just rewrite it. Also, I get so lost in what’s been written, what was erased, and what’s new. Maybe it’s because when I write it’s like a show or movie going on in my head. How do you make those people in your headmovie go back and act differently. I don’t know. Anyway, I’m just planning on writing a perfect novel first time through. Lol What? …I could do it…😆 But then you might want to watch out for the flying pigs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It wasn’t half-assed as such, just put together much later than usual. Somehow I think it’s turned out better. I might have set a precedent here.
      It’ll be as big a sigh as when I actually finished it in May. But there was also a feeling of melancholy. I reckon that’ll appear too.
      You need more confidence in your story writing ability because you’re so fucking good! I’d read the shit out of a proper novel you wrote. Maybe you can do it first time. Write it carefully enough then there’s every chance

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was just joshing ya about being half assed. I agree that it was a great post, no reason to put so much extra time in when it’s great with out it too.
        I didn’t think how it might be a sad day, as like an era ending. All that time, energy, and creativity put in and have it go off into the world like a child. I can see how it would be a sad/happy day .
        How’s about you send some of your confidence over to me? Lol

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I did kind of imply it was half assed at the beginning to be fair, so it wouldn’t have been an unfair assessment. I’ll definitely do it this way more often in future.
        That was the perfect way to describe it! That is exactly how it feels. I’m watching my baby grow up. When it spreads its wings and heads out into the big wide world it’ll be a real bittersweet moment. It’ll be out there and I won’t be able to perfect it any further. It’ll be on its own two feet.
        If I could bottle some of my confidence up for you I’d send it in a heartbeat


  4. Another great read Paul.

    I would like to say in my defence that I loved the first, original draft you sent me. At that time I was just a reader and like the final quote on the blog implies, I read it rather than wrote it. I’m glad you think my suggestions help to improve the book.

    Back to the blog, once again you draw the reader into your world, into your thought process. This post feels more personal than the other three in the theme, I like it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. When you see this second draft I have a feeling you’ll love it all the more. The changes really improve the story overall and have the desired effect I was hoping for. That couldn’t have happened without your neutral eye looking over it.
      I particularly enjoyed writing this one. It was really off the cuff. I’m glad you enjoyed it mate

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I did enjoy reading the post, I’d like to see another couple written off the cuff so to speak and posted immediately. You still manage to draw the reader into your world, your thought process, which I feel is a great skill.

        Well done bud, great post

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I reckon I will. Especially this particular series. These ones more than most I want to get across my true feelings and emotions because writing is so important to me. I think taking too much time to read and reread takes away that personal touch

        Liked by 1 person

  5. To be frank, I hardly edit what I write on my blog. I pour it out as it appears in my head. Although once in a while I do edit with the intention of correcting punctuation marks. I didn’t edit my book until after I wrote everything, then I gave it to out for editing and proofreading. I really don’t buy the idea of editing my work while writing until probably much later. It gives me the avenue of seeing it from the readers point of view. Great post Paul. I also had to be very careful with my editor, they seem to have a way and excuse of trying to delete your thoughts.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes, I’m worried about editors trying to delete content. I’ll definitely give them a piece of my mind if I’m not happy with what’s missing from my manuscript.
      For the sake of saying you don’t edit your blog posts you do a fantastic job 🙂 But then when I read other people’s stuff I’m looking only for quality of writing. I don’t care about how technically perfect it is. Dan Brown isn’t technically great, but his stories are fantastic. That’s all that matters.
      And yet, I’m very technically aware when it comes to my own stories. I want technical perfection and story writing perfection.
      I really look forward to reading your forthcoming book. I don’t have an e-reader, but I might steal my girlfriend’s for the occasion 😉

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes one just has to give them a piece of the mind, they can be very dramatic. Technical perfection is good. It gives you a better score having it together with great content. Lol. I hope you won’t get caught while stealing her e-reader😀

        Liked by 1 person

      2. By steal it, what I mean is I’ll say “I’m using this”. She can’t moan; she never bloody uses it. Haha.
        Good to know they’re submissive if you assert yourself. I don’t mind changes that improve the product, but as I said in the post, I’m not down with changes for change’s sake. If you’ve written something in a story then it’s relevant in my opinion. They can’t tell you it isn’t

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Another mind fuck post from you Paul! 😂😊👍 Haha 😂 This is really interesting… I’ve began writing my book, but even though I’m only 10k words in, I’ve already spent most of my fucking tine editing it, as I can’t bear to write more till what I currently have written down is, in my view, word perfect. This is a totally different experience to how I blog. I write spontaneously, quickly and publish my stream of consciousness unedited. I don’t know why I’m too scared to be like that with my book. It just seems like my book must be written properly, whereas my blog posts are flippantly tossed out like imperfection is almost their whole attraction. Bonkers! 😂 I’d appreciate any writing advice you have please, you are welcome to mind fuck me any day of the blogger week 😂😆😍…says the married woman 😂😆 Awesome post Mr. Thumbs up 😎🤗😇 Summer x

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Haha. Mind fucking isn’t strictly speaking cheating so lets get down and dirty!
      You know why you don’t edit your blog posts don’t you? You spend so much time being meticulous over your book that the blog is a means to just let yourself go buckwild. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. You need to be free in some way because you’ve been mentally oppressed for so long. in your past. For me, I’ve never been organised. Always off the cuff and doing shit fly-by-night style (up to and including broads. Giggidy). My writing is something I want to be in firm control of. Becoming a father has perhaps triggered that change too. I still don’t give much of a fuck about anything else, but my writing is my brainchild. I love it as much as my son (well, almost as much as my son). I’m hellbent on doing it properly after years of fucking around.
      I don’t think your style is wrong. It’s right for you. Be as finicky and awkwardly precise as you like with your book. It’s YOUR book! You write it in the way that makes you happy. Same with your blog. That’s the beauty of this game. It’s the chance to be who YOU are, not what society tells us to be. That’s what Facefuck and Twatter and all that bullshit is for. Middle finger directly up at those entities and all the people who live their lives through them. Fucking idiots! This, the blogging world, it’s a world of our volition; of our creation. We don’t have to answer to anybody or conform. We be who we want to be! We’re fucking ace! We blow those Facefuckers and Twatterers out the damned water!
      You write the way that works for you Summer. Trust me; that’s the ONLY way to do this. X

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 😂😂😂 Pmsl! Your mind passion has blown me away 😆😋 I’ll reply once I’ve gathered my scattered thoughts up in a heap 👌 I also have dogs to walk. Thanks heaps for the amazing comment you left on my blog. Will you be one of my blog brutha bitches?😹😬🤓😋😊😍😋😆😉

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Get those dogs walked! I’d take myself for a walk if I wasn’t suffering from a slight cold (blokes and their intolerance to the slightest of ailments, eh?)
        You’re welcome by the way. I could feel a whole shittonne of emotions as I was reading it. I will be whatever you want me to be. I’ll even be your blog slut if you like. Haha x

        Liked by 2 people

      3. I’m on pizza duty now *pulling bored face* Man flu? Fuck, call for an ambulance!!! You poor sweetheart 😆 no seriously, I hope you feel better soon. I got myself a boy blog slut, YAY!!! 😂😆😉😊😎 👐👊💛

        Liked by 1 person

      4. We can create beautiful and ghastly mind children together by being a pair of utter blog whores! Hahahaaaa!
        It isn’t man flu in all fairness. Just a head cold. You know the kind that makes you feel somewhere in between pissed and stoned? The whole house has had it recently. I’ve not had proper flu for about three years. Alarming as I used to get in every six months without fail. Fuck you flu! x

        Liked by 1 person

      5. You’re bloody hilarious man!! I love ya to bits already 😂😊 Next step, We’ll have to name those mind children! If they gotta be ghastly names I’d go for Agatha 😂 or Bernard 😆 Head colds are shitty, I’m sorry. Hot water bottle and drink honey and lemon. I’m actually gonna get stoned for the first time soon. My hubby is bringing a treat home with him today-summer fancies experimenting. I’m 35 but never done it 😂

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Keith! As that episode of Family Guy taught us, it’s the most unattractive name in the English language. Haha. I’m glad you find my slight lunacy endearing. It isn’t even drug induced!
        I was drinking hot toddies last night. fresh lemon, honey, Jim Beam and hot water. I reckon I’ll hit them later too.
        I haven’t partaken in the inhalation of herbal remedies in about three years now. Not by choice. I’m just very choosy about who I get it from. By choosy, I mean there’s only one person. It’s the best I’ve ever had and they have a lot of variety. I have no doubt you’ll love it, but make sure you take it easy first time. Being a weed smoking hero never works first time. Haha

        Liked by 1 person

      7. My bucket list isn’t expansive. It’s just to visit certain places and get a book published. Not even arsed about getting a best seller. I just want something on the shelves. For a publisher to look at my work and say ‘yes, that’s worth putting in print’, but without selling my soul in the process

        Liked by 1 person

      8. I’m Paulish. Born in England, raised in England, living in England. But I’m a citizen of earth. Fuck the stereotypes of countries, creeds, religions, etc. We’re all people in my opinion. People fucking suck in general. But then there are those few who completely break the mould. People like you for example. You’re the ones who give me faith that humanity does still have some hope left in it. I’m no more British than you are and you’re no less American than I am 🙂
        (Spoken like a true astronomy geek or what?)

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Whoa, what an answer! That’s blown my head off haha!! Paulish is a great description of you. I’m Summerish 🙂 Thanks for what you said…I have little respect for humanity in general myself too. Are you like Prof Brian Cox? He’s sexily astronomical *swoon* 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      10. Prof Brian Cox is one of my man crushes. He’s from literally one town over; a shithole called Oldham. I’m not quite that brainy nor quite that sexy!
        I did wonder if my answer was a little too deep for a Sunday afternoon, but then I figured the person I was talking to would appreciate it. I know a dullard when I encounter one and you ain’t no dullard! Far from it! x

        Liked by 1 person

      11. Ah no way it’s not too deep at all! I don’t have loads of time to formulate detailed responses and I’m mid-blog post now…but I love chatting to you 🙂 I’m no a dullard and I love that you say dullard! Another fave word. I like Northerners as I am one 🙂 I’m glad you share the same crush even, WOWZERS haha! You can email me if you like…click on my contact page, otherwise our blog comments might get cramped with all our chatter 🙂 *hugs bitch* haaa 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      12. Check some of my previous posts and you’ll see about a million comments between Kira Scribbled and myself. We’ve had a tendency to pull the world asunder with our chats the past few weeks. Honestly met some amazing people since I started blogging.
        So you’re a dirty Brit too? I assumed you were American. The old adage my dad used to say springs to mind; when you assume, you make an ‘ass’ of ‘u’ and ‘me’. Whereabouts do you hail from?
        If it makes your life easier I’ll happily e to the mail you instead. It’d probably make mine easier too if I’m being honest with my crap bearded self *snuggles and shit*

        Liked by 1 person

      13. Wilmslow? Or another posh part of Cheshire? Obviously as a Tamesider I’m nothing more than scum. But at least I don’t sound like a Manc. I hate the Manc accent. I hate Manchester full stop if I’m honest. Full of City and United fans; or as I like to call them, bellends!

        Liked by 1 person

      14. Haha 😂 Bellend 😊 I love how we love the same words. I’ve been introducing the American folk on WP to the concept of bellends 😂 I’m building up to cunts 😂😆…that might take work. I’ll email you my precise ex location in a bit 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      15. Did you get my essay in response. Internet started being a bigger douche than Lady Gaga (if you get that reference I’m making you my blog wife).
        I have the occasional bit of American -Brit banter with Kira, but it’s all very good-natured


      16. No. No essays received Paul. Can you send it again please? I don’t think I get the gaga reference, why is she shit? Do I have to be relegated to the second division now. I thought I’d make it to the premier division 😂😒😫🙄🤔😥 haha 😁

        Liked by 1 person

      17. I just did. The internet has a habit of nosediving every couple of days for absolutely no fathomable reason. It chose the time I sent the email to do just that.
        It was a Family Guy reference, but a pretty specific one. Don’t worry. Absolutely no cool points lost. You’re still the absolute shiznit 😀 x

        Liked by 1 person

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