I finished the revisions on my latest book, which is a good thing, but now I’m editing.
Which I hate.
I hate it because it reveals all my writerly tics and bad habits, all the rules I have broken. It confirms once and for all that I am unfit to write a grocery list, let alone a novel.
Yes. And I’m horrified with myself.
Why do I insist on using the word “suddenly” when I cringe even as I’m typing it?
Why are my characters always shrugging, nodding, or shaking their heads?
Why is everyone glancing at each other all the time? Or, worse, looking sharply at one another? (Kill me now.)
Why is it necessary to brush someone’s teeth 25 times in 100 pages?
And why, WHY, are my characters always turning around?
I have a novel of bobble-headed people with very clean teeth who look at each other before spontaneously pirouetting every three minutes.
They’re also choking on their dialogue tags.
I need a drink. Or five.
|This is me after an hour of self-editing.|
So in order to make things less hellish, and incorporate a favorite activity (drinking), I came up with my own personal drinking game for editing. It goes like this:
Adverbs = 1 drink
Cliches = 1 drink
Dialogue tags other than “said” = 1 drink
Adverb used to modify “said” = 2 drinks
More than two dialogue tags in a conversation=3 drinks
Exclamation points = 1 drink
Grammatical error using any form of their/its/your = 2 drinks
“Suddenly” = 2 drinks
“And then” = 1 drink
“Glanced” = 1 drink
“Turned” = 1 drink
Any phrase that makes me smile at my cleverness = 3 drinks
Any phrase where I’m clearly trying to be Faulkner, Fitzgerald, or Franzen =3 drinks, toast author
Any scene where a character brushes his/her teeth when she has JUST brushed them on the previous page = 5 drinks
“JUST” = 1 drink
I’d go on, but it’s getting depressing.
Also, I’m drunk.
(“Also” = 1 drink).