The Editing Black Hole

So, I’ve been absent for a while – perhaps my longest time absent from the blog ever. The reason? Editing/rewriting/proofreading!

Hand Proofreading a Manuscript beside LaptopI’ve had a couple of trips away (although I was still closeted with my manuscript in Cornwall), and a few other commitments, but generally I’ve spent my time reading, rereading, writing, rewriting – weeping, reweeping! No, I haven’t got a clue what reweeping is either – perhaps when you’ve already cried because you can’t get one bit right, think you’ve solved the problem and find it’s generated several more, so you cry all over again! They might only be metaphorical tears, but the angst is real.

Yesterday I stumbled to the end of the manuscript for the nmillionth (but not the last) time. I want to climb out of the editing black hole where everything is placed under the microscope. magnifying glass





I am desperate for a break from it, from the endless weighing up of








So, what are the positives and negatives of the editing experience?


  • It’s mentally exhausting. Holding every chapter, paragraph, sentence, word up to scrutiny drains the brain.
  • It’s scary – what have I missed? From the small but important things such as have I made any excruciatingly embarrassing spelling or grammatical mistakes? Or, have I said Joe Bloggs has got blue eyes on page 26 and by page 92 they’ve miraculously changed to brown? To the vital things such as a major plot inconsistency or a character who knows things he/she couldn’t possibly know.
  • It’s time-consuming.
  • It’s repetitive and boring.
  • It causes blurred eyes syndrome.
  • It’s never-ending.


  • Cutting words can be exhilarating as you realise a page or a paragraph or a word contributes nothing. It generates a feeling of lightness like clearing out a cupboard. Watching the word count fall is a literary trip to the tip!
  • It’s rewarding to feel the work becoming stronger, links identified, conflict increased, tension heightened.
  • You reread a scene and find tears in your eyes.
  • You can enjoy your characters as you get to know them better.
  • You start to see what the book is actually about.
  • There’s a huge sense of satisfaction as you draw ever nearer to a completed novel.

I’ve managed to get an equal number of positive and negatives, which feels to be a major achievement, and I’m sticking at that!

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  1. Good news…you’re nearly there! šŸ™‚

  2. Lindsay says:

    Thanks, Polly. Nearly, but the end still feels a long way off!

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