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Horrible, horrible, horrible editing


Baby dressed in professional office attire crying at her desk

Oh dear God, editing season is upon me once again. Why, why, why? Goddamn it, I hate editing. I HATE IT. It is the worst. The absolute worst. WORST.

I’ve been moping around the streets of my town whining and complaining in the above fashion for a week or so now, as I wait for the first of two annual editing onslaughts to begin. I know exactly how annoying my melancholy over the editorial process sounds, and indeed, I am being melodramatic. But there’s not a lot I get to whinge about in this job that people would understand. While it might be hard to relate to my crisis over a fictional character’s love life or my concern over how my afternoon nap addiction is impacting my word count, people who aren’t writers could probably understand that editing sucks. Twice a year I hand in something I’ve been working on every day for six months and someone sends back a half a dozen typed pages of things wrong with it. There will be parents who have watched their kids pick dejectedly through their carefully constructed dinners. Romantic partners who have watched their loved one’s face fall at the opening of a badly chosen birthday present. No matter how well you write as a writer, I think, there’s no way to interpret an edit other than that – no matter how hard you tried – what you wrote wasn’t perfect. And of course, being a writer and thus an egomaniac, I inevitably take this to mean that not I do is perfect. I’m not perfect. I’ll never be perfect. And I so desperately need to be perfect.

*calls shrink*

There are writers who love editing. I know who you are. I can almost hear you reading this – probably squinting at it, looking for dangling modifiers and the like, snickering pitifully to yourself at how ignorant I am of the satisfaction that comes with improvement (and self-righteously, because you know what a goddamn dangling modifier is – you saw one in the Herald this morning). You call editing ‘polishing’, and you have a collection of expensive red pens. You take pictures of your editing, spread artistically over a hardwood table, cappuccino in the corner of the frame, dusty sepia filter. Hashtag editing, hashtag awesome, hashtag with-each-typo-discover-I-become-more-pure. Well, this is what I have to say to you, editing lovers: You are weird. I don’t understand you. I am unnerved and suspicious of your enthusiasm for this horrible business of raking through work for opportunities for betterment. Hhmph!

Editing is like agreeing to meet with an old boyfriend to sit down over a series of hours and investigate how your relationship might have been better performed. Where did things go wrong? Who was at fault? What wasn’t convincing, and where were feelings felt wrongly or not felt at all?

I don’t want to go back into a book once it’s written. My tight schedule of two books a year means that by the time I’m wrapping up a novel, I’ve been having an emotional affair with the next book in secret for a couple of months. Now, finally, we get to be together. We get to embrace and explore each other after so much quiet yearning. Buttons popping. Hair pulling, gut-wrenching intimacyyyyyy…

Oh wait. Hang on. There’s that other guy – I just need to go deconstruct things with him before I can continue on here. Excuse me. *pulls jeans back on*

Urgh. Fucking editing.

So anyway, here I go, having successfully procrastinated here, constructing this blog post and not beginning the nightmare-monster-horrible-horrible edit of Redemption Point, the second in the Crimson Lake series. Feel free to contribute to my diatribe about editing, or to profess your hopeless devotion to it, in the comments below.

*epic sigh*



12 thoughts on “Horrible, horrible, horrible editing

  1. I’m one of those people who enjoys the editing, but it certainly doesn’t make it any easier. I’d say each draft feels like you’re constantly going to the optometrist for a new checkup/prescription until you come out with a pair of lenses that allow you to finally read all the letters on the board. Whether or not your optometrist is an old boyfriend would be a different story altogether though 😉

    Posted by ez93 | June 29, 2017, 6:21 am
  2. Wethinks you feel the need to vent. Poor you. Nobody’s perfect, why should aspire to be perfect? let yourself off the hook, it’s much more fun that way…
    I like this one, saw it on an Ashleigh Brilliant postcard pot-shot, goes something like this :
    It’s been a lifelong ambition to get back up to sub-normal. We use it all the time, laughing all the way

    Posted by Jan | July 23, 2017, 7:26 am
  3. Hi Candice, I’ve just read through your novella “Black & Blue”, and it had me completely captivated. You’ve created such amazing characters, with memorable quirks, and they all seem larger than life. It’s a colourful and vivid story, sprinkled with a brilliant sense of humour that had me in stitches. I feel so invested in this world you’ve created.

    I especially loved your protagonist, Harriet Blue, as well as her partner, Tox Barnes, and her new partner in the next book, Whittacker. I haven’t read Never Never yet, but I can already tell from the sneak peak that I’ll love it.

    I really hope we’ll have a chance to see all these characters again in future novels. I loved your work so much, I had to find some way to let you know.

    All the best, & good luck for the tough editing phase!

    Posted by Snaz | August 15, 2017, 4:36 pm
    • It has also led me to your other books, which I can’t wait to read!

      Posted by Snaz | August 15, 2017, 4:39 pm
      • Oh, Snaz! What a beautiful letter. You’ve absolutely made my day. Well, you have plenty of grand adventures ahead with Harry, Tox and Whitt, although Tox doesn’t appear in Never Never because he was actually invented in B&B, which we wrote later. I think if you like these sort of dark, edgy people you’ll really enjoy my Bennett/Archer series. Let me know how you go. Thank you again for taking the time to write me such kind words! Happy reading to you!

        Posted by Candice | August 15, 2017, 6:52 pm
  4. Hi
    I want to thank you for writing such amazing books that are totally different. I read a lot and most books are similar. I have just finished Fall, I hope that you continue the series, not the ending I would have preferred and not sure where you can go from there, won’t write anymore on it as I do not want to give anything away. Crimson Lake was also brilliant.

    Posted by Robynne | September 5, 2017, 3:38 am
    • Hi Robynne! Thank you, you’re very kind. Yes, a lot has changed in my career since Fall. While I never say never, continuing on with Frank and Eden isn’t in my current plan. But things change day to day. I hope you’ll continue reading my work, and thanks again for your support! Xxx CF

      Posted by Candice | September 5, 2017, 4:14 am
  5. Reading the comments I see I am one in a growing group of people. I read the Harry Blue books first because I am a huge fan of James Patterson. I was hooked immediately. I have been reading Alex Cross for over 20 years and love James Patterson’s newer characters but Harry Blue is GOOD. I stopped and looked up Candice Fox immediately and read Hades and Eden. I am now reading Fall. Eden Archer is a brilliant character. The scene where she kills Skye and Pea is so good I had to do what I rarely have to do, put the book down, take a breath and SAVOR it. To read it too fast just wasn’t right. I started Fall and almost immediately went back to read that part again since Eden is still healing from her almost fatal injuries. Hades…. he himself is a character I want to know more about! He has just rescued the dog and I am a huge (almost obsessive dog rescue person) so now I am hooked even more. Imogen…. well I may be wrong but I don’t see this working out well for her since she has decided to “out” Eden. Frank…. sweet Frank. He is a man we root for. He came so close to happiness with Martina. Now he battles his addiction trying to be that man he saw he could be. Martina’s will to live and battle against evil had me entrenched in her story. Such good characters and written in a smart and edgy way. I don’t envy you the editing, but please hurry up and keep these incredible books coming.

    Posted by Traci | September 27, 2017, 8:34 pm
    • Traci, I’m so chuffed with this fan letter! Thank you. You’re too kind! I haven’t had one of those ‘stop, breathe and savor it’ moments in reading for a while now – they’re rare and wonderful and I’m so glad I gave you one. Bit of an obsessive dog person myself, although I love cats too. Please tell me what you think of Crimson Lake and Redemption Point when they come out – there will be all new characters for you to try out. Thank you so much once again for your kind words – they mean the world, and I’m very honoured and grateful.

      Posted by Candice | September 27, 2017, 9:44 pm
      • I will definitely read Crimson Lake and Resemption Point when they are available. I read today where you wrote about the need to get the reader to buy in on the first page. Especially as a writer to get a publisher to read a manuscript. That is usually true. I have a hard time with books that take 30-40 pages before I am interested. I have read books where two weeks have gone by and I am on page 19! I usually will not put a book down once I have decided to read it. Some of my favorite books have been the ones that were hard to start. I don’t know why that is…. I don’t even like music with long introductions before the lyrics start!

        I like cats too! Just can’t have one because I have family members who are allergic but I help rescue them. I am reading on my lunch break right now. Imogen just brought Frank lunch to check out Hooky. You are so awesome!!

        Keep editing 👍

        Posted by Traci | September 28, 2017, 5:27 pm
      • Harriet Blue, Eden Archer and Ted Conkaffey. I am hooked.

        Posted by Traci | October 4, 2017, 5:30 pm

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