Editing and losing the sense of drama

I’ve been working on my novel today (applause, applause) and generated some new material. The scene I was writing is quite dramatic and it reminded me of something that’s been lurking in the back of my head.

As I’ve been editing my novel, I’ve been losing the sense of impact. There are some shocking moments and some violence which as I go over it and over it seems less and less dramatic. The same goes for the emotional tension. When I write the raw material it’s very affecting: I make myself cry, laugh and occasionally feel very disturbed (hee).

The problem comes when I start editing and I’m in my rational, focussed headspace. At this point, I’m looking at sentence structure, word choice and punctuation and while I’m thinking about whether I need more detail or more sensation I’m doing it in an intellectual way. After a while I’m so familiar with the material I don’t feel it any more.

So, what about everyone else? How do you maintain that sense of excitement and drama with your longer works?

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