Editing this novel has become a bit of a writerly journey for me. Since this is the first time I've considered something I wrote good enough to bother editing, each step has been a new journey. I've worked through lots of steps and re-written the first chapter dozens of times.
This week will be my last week of editing for this piece which is way ahead of schedule for my May 15th deadline to start querying. I've done all the structural changes that I think need to be made and now I'm just down to fixing words.
I recently wrote about the joys of Ctrl+F to seek and destroy words that bogged down my writing. However, I think I may have taken my joy too far. As I slash words with glee, I'm noticing a trend. Sure, my writing is getting tighter (read better) in a lot of places, but in some spots the change in wording is altering my voice.
Gasp in horror! The voice is often considered a crucially important consideration for a potential agent/editor. Dozens of agent wishlists specify things like 'an adult romance with a cynical voice' or 'a fantasy with a strong female driven voice'. Voice is something that is unique to each writer and can't be duplicated.
So if the changes I'm making distort my voice, is it ok to leave 163 instances of the word 'like' in my manuscript?
For now, I'm going to say 'yes'. I could be wrong and my betas might rip this thing to shreds. But right now, every word I change feels like I'm tearing the soul out of my story. Maybe this is what it feels like when a writer reaches the end of editing.
So that's it. No more. I offer up my work to the betas and then I'll make one more sweep to fix anything they find that needs fixing.
I guess it's time to get serious about that agent list cause this ship is about to sail.