Importance of Video and Novel Editing

Editing is the bane of any content creator’s existence. Whether you’re writing books or filming videos, editing is every artist’s least favorite part of the process. I think most writers and filmmakers can agree that they would much rather allow an entire universe exist than shrink that universe down to like maybe just one neighborhood.

But it’s also a necessary part of the process. If you’re going to present your work to an audience, editing is absolutely essential in translating one thing in your head mean the same thing in multiple heads. For filmmakers, editing is the only way to create a fully functioning story. I mean, if you just published all the raw footage you’ll most likely have a lackluster, run-on film of actors messing up and long pauses as scenes change.

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 5.03.26 PM
Also shots like this. But that’s not important.

Personally, the effort I made while editing the novel I’m currently trying to publish (Superhero Story) has reflected in my YouTube videos. It’s an odd connection, but bare with me. I swear it’ll make sense.  If you read my previous blog post about how my hobbies of YouTube and writing are connected, it’ll make even more sense.

Now Superhero Story had a rough start. I wrote the very, very first draft when I was 15 and then spent the next four-five years editing it. When I finished those edits to create the second draft, the second draft was a whopping 140k words. If you’re unaware of how big of a book that is, 140k words is roughly the size of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. For a debut YA novel, that’s roughly 70k too much. Basically I had to split my book in half. That’s a lot of editing.

Yes my first draft really was this big.

Splitting my book in half took a lot of heartbreak and lot of baby steps. For the first round of edits, I legitimately cried as I cut scenes I loved with all of my heart and tried to keep as much of my beloved novel together as I could. The more I edited and the more I pushed myself to make a lower word count, the easier it became. I even started cutting entire characters out of my novel without blinking an eye. Now, on my fifth draft, it’s sitting at a pretty 84k which is about as big as Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. There really was a lot of heartbreak behind cutting that 140k to 84k, but it improved my novel by tenfold.

Current draft. Much more reasonable.

While I was going through the heartbreak of cutting my entire novel in half, I was still making videos every week on my main YouTube channel. This was before the Mercenary music video that really taught me how to edit videos,  but the experience from editing my novel really taught me a lot about editing the content of my videos.

For example, it made it a lot easier to edit out jokes that I loved but didn’t match the timing the video after I single-handedly made myself cry from cutting out my favorite scene in Superhero Story (RIP Pancake scene). The minor edits in my novel (cutting out “very”, replacing filler words, etc.) also helped speed my videos up. Once I started to notice how minor changes to my novel majorly improved it, I applied the same principle to my videos. I quickened jump cuts, added text, and created breaks in the music to set mood, timing, and create an overall better quality video.

Editing is a lot of work. There’s a lot of heartbreak involved and it’s never going to be a walk in the park. But with the right amount of practice, your content will improve overall and you will become a better creator. Unless you’re one of those “I work alone” artists that live in solitude without anyone seeing your work, then good luck with your paintings, Batman.

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