Much of what a writer does never sees the light of day. The thoughts of what the story should be about, the development of the characters’ personalities, or the necessary but usually hideous first draft. All these things are the ingredients to the final book. But like almost all recipes, the ingredients get peeled, chopped or otherwise cut up somehow.
It’s the same with writing. Good, meaningful, and hopefully, publishable writing. Once that first draft is down on paper, the writer must go over it again, and yet again. Cutting words, getting rid of extra verbiage, meaningless descriptions and long drawn out bits of back story. The editing process can take a long time.
From my experience it can take years, as the writer makes edits to that first draft and then shares her baby with critique partners and beta readers. Making more changes based on their comments and sending it off to more people, until the manuscript is all shiny and fit for submission. Even at this point, if the writer should be so lucky as to catch the attention of agent or editor, there will be still more revisions.
I remember receiving my first editorial letter from my agent. (Not hard as it wasn’t all that long ago.) It looked as if she had red-marked every single paragraph with something that needed changing. From reading other writer’s accounts, my editorial letter was actually pretty short. I also have a sneaking suspicion that once a publisher picks up the book, there will be yet more revisions.
I look forward to them. Really. Honest.
So what’s the things a writer needs to cut in the all important self edit? Here’s a good article. 10 Ways to Tighten Your Copy. Happy revisions!