Right now I’m in the midst of editing my second novel, Picture Perfect, and this is really similar to refining one’s yoga practice. The character arcs are all there, the story structure is strong, the plot is compelling, but this is the point where you really scrutinize word choice, analyze the pacing, evaluate the emotional development. Just like in yoga, where once you learn how to do a pose, the challenge comes in perfecting your form and developing your stamina, the editing process is about enriching and polishing.
And it really helps to have someone else’s input during this process. Whether you’re trying to master Eagle pose or making revisions to your latest novel, it benefits you to have a trained eye overseeing your efforts. As a yoga teacher, I can see how a student can make a slight modification, such as moving their foot one inch, in order to achieve better form. The same is true for an editor. The mere fact that someone outside your head is reading your story, can make all the difference.
Sometimes, things like character motivation or scene description is clear as day in the writer’s head, but if it isn’t on the page, it isn’t going to be clear to the reader. And having an outsider with an objective view point overseeing your work will help you smooth out those little hiccups that would otherwise leave readers wondering what just happened or where the story is unfolding.
Luckily, I had a lot of input while writing Picture Perfect, and as a result, I have a wealth of notes to guide me during the editing phase. And it also helps that I’ve spent years studying my craft, so even though the story was created in my head, I’ve gotten pretty good at seeing the gaps where stuff from my mind hasn’t made it onto the page. Putting some distance between you and your novel also serves to create that objective viewpoint. I started working on Picture Perfect about five years ago. So, now that it’s finished, and I’m onto the polishing stage, it’s practically like reading it for the first time. And that allows me the perspective of a new reader.
So, whether you’re working on opening your hips in pigeon or putting the finishing touches on your debut novel, be sure to get the unbiased opinion of a professional to help get you into top form. One way or another, it’s important to get a fresh perspective.