Edit letter has come and let the hacking begin!!! I love editing, because, as fun as the purely creative drive of the first draft provides its own high, it's edits where the magic happens, where the art is finally crafted closer and closer to a finished entity, able to go live on its own out in the world.
I've forced myself not to look at the manuscript for months. And when I came back to it, editorial suggestions from my fabulous editor in hand, I can suddenly SEE it with fresh eyes. And yeah, then go in with a hack saw to pages at a time. All this shit I thought was necessary for character building, sooooooooooo slow--hack out all the boring crap, keep the heart of the cinematic, emotional moment, get back to the moving action, the active tension. I love editing because in my mind it seems like sculpting.
The first few drafts have created a real living entity on the table, but it is blunt, awkward, and ugly (not to say that it wasn't hard as hell to get it that far, but still, it's not ready for the world to see). The edits are the crafting of the crescendos and diminuendos of action, all working toward a truly dynamic climax at the end. Each scene should have shape to make it cohesive, cause-and-effecting as it goes. The middle and second half are really where most of this work needs to be done.
After the plot gets shaped up, then I want to go through a pass at the language level--making sure the most potent moments of emotional impact are the most lyrical, and the language of dialogue is unique and distinctive. Here's to the Hermit Cave of Edit-land, kids. I raise my glass to toast, and I'll see you on the other side.