Woah. Did I really write that?
The most common thing I think while reading through my story. And it can go one of two ways.
Option #1: Woah, Did I really write that? That’s terrible! I must kill it!
Or, Option #2: WOAH! Did I really write that? That’s incredible! I had no idea I was that good!
There is very little in between.
My “editing” process has begun with a general read-through of my MS, and I’m taking notes on it as I go, highlighting things that need work, adding notes such as KILL THIS! or Deepen POV or What? She would never do that. I’m nearly done, and my MS has gained a lot of color and a lot of notes flying everywhere. And I’ve done a lot of thinking the two thoughts above.
You see, when I started out, I really. Could. Not. Write.
And as I wrote more (and had it critted) I got better! And now I can see how awful my MS is in a lot of places, especially at the beginning of the story. The first six chapters or so were brutal to read. And then in about chapter 7, I thought for the first time, woah. Did I actually write that? ‘Cause that’s not half bad. Actually, that’s pretty good. And then — AND THEN!!!! About two chapters later, I nearly made myself cry. (In a good way! A character died and I wrote it really well.) And it was amazing. My whole brain went this is why I’m a writer! (Not because I enjoy crying… but I love the feeling when you’ve written something well enough that it merits that reaction from anyone — even myself!)
The scenes like that give me the courage and perseverance to slog through the scenes where I think Option #1… and hopefully after a few re-writes, I can think option #2 for every scene in my book.