Too Much Edit?

I was rewriting a personal essay for my Master’s Writing Workshop. It is a story of financial survival that had a soft metaphor of personal health: physical and mental well-being embedded. I then extenuate this metaphor to be one of life or death. I also personified the sick home bringing it back to life with the renovations. When I was finished I questioned myself… did I go to far?

I was able to breathe, I needed and got water, it was close, all these terms seemed to work within the piece. I had to draw the line then, seeing as I had carried the metaphor too far. “Homeostasis” although it was where I arrived and can be defined as both physical and psychological health, thrilled me, as it came as the big “Aha!” in this story of survival. Yet, as clever as I like to be throwing it in there it needed to be striked. It shouted “Here’s the writer showing off!” This word, although it worked on so many levels is too scientific for the piece.

I admit I felt uncomfortable changing the story at all, coming out of my comfort zone as a writer with these many layers of the metaphor strung within the piece. I submitted the finished piece and linked the original uncertain if I worked to hard and wrote the piece into the garbage. Only you will know I considered adding the word “homeostasis”. What an embarrassment that would have been.

How do you know when you’ve worked too much?

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About Aligaeta

I am a life time resident of NY State. A graduate of Nassau Community College, AA in Liberal Arts and Queens College, BA in English and Sociology. I am the mother of four children, the survivor of divorce, and I love to write in prose. This blog will be a record of my journey... destination unknown. Read more... https://aligaeta.wordpress.com/
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2 Responses to Too Much Edit?

  1. jannatwrites says:

    That is an excellent question. I wish I had the answer.

    The way I see it, there should still be imperfections in the writing (not typos, but different phrasings or sentence structures that make a reader pause.) If we smooth all of that out of our fiction, then it becomes less of us. If you read through the edited version and feel ambivalent about it, then there’s a chance overediting happened.

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