I am dead. Not literally dead, of course (otherwise I wouldn’t be able to write this), but metaphorically dead. Semantically dead. Metaphysically dead.
You know when Pocahontas in the Disney movie sings, “have you ever heard a wolf cry to the blue horned moon?”? I’m pretty sure she was addressing writers everywhere, because we’re the only ones who have been awake long enough into the night to hallucinate a moon with horns, let alone wolves in the middle of suburbia. Last night, I was up so late, the only reason I know that I slept was because I eventually woke up (with a crick in my neck and ink smeared over my face, but that’s besides the point). And this past-midnight escapade was because my stupid story was so shitty that I felt the need to begin editing immediately.
Have you ever heard a wolf cry- yeah, yeah I have. And it was me. I was the wolf, and it wasn’t a pretty cry either; it was one of those ugly cries that you never see in the media. We’re talking red eyes and a soggy throat and blotchy skin. My hair flopped in front of my face, and my hands were so busy with hankies that those long strands ended up getting encrusted with salt water. A little red crab called Sebastian tried to drag me off to the Atlantic ocean; I was covered in so much salty water, he thought I was Arial running away from home again. I don’t even have red hair!
I had so much snot on my face, the Bogey monster came out from under my bed to accuse me of stealing his thunder. And then I had to go to the underground realm of trolls and navigate my way through a labyrinth where for some reason, everyone thought I was looking for my baby brother and singing songs from the 1980s. Eventually, I came to the throne room, and the goblin king (who looked astonishingly like David Bowie) tried to hit on my nasty self, and threw me in the dungeon for impersonating a zombie! Yep, he basically trampled all over my vanity and then drew a moustache on it with a sharpie for good measure. To make things worse, my prince charming got hit by a bus on his way to rescue me, so I had to rapidly lose 20 pounds to squirm my way through the bars, and back up to my bedroom.
It was a long night, to say the least.
I think there are many long nights coming up for me; I only took notes on the mistakes in two chapters (tone fuck ups, voice inconsistencies, awkward dialogue, descriptions that took vacations and forgot to come back to their proper place in the narrative; that kind of stuff), and now I have five pages of “WTF Ella”s.
So, if you’re writing a book at the moment, and you’re feeling completely useless at the moment because you’ve hit a wall coming up with ideas for your first draft- don’t worry. You’ll get past it, and then regret everything as you’re forced to read it over in your first bout of editing.
So, tell me your editing horror stories. What goes bump in the night as you’re reading over horrible prose?