Monday, March 5, 2012

The Never Ending Sea of Editing...

How many of you absolutely LOVE editing?

*crickets*

I, for one, really don't like it. Don't get me wrong, I love how my book ends up after editing and revising, BUT getting there is so time consuming and really draining.

When I first started writing, I thought I knew how to edit. Ba ha ha ha ha!! Obviously, I didn't. When I look back at my first manuscript, I shudder. I had no idea what I was doing. After I joined my critique group and found some beta readers, I finally realized how much work I'd actually be doing to get my books polished.

I used to write and edit at the same time. I can't do that anymore. I just get the story out and edit after. Sometimes I'll go back and read what I wrote the night before and fix any glaring mistakes, but I don't do any deep editing until my story is finished.

A lot of people wonder how other writers edit. Me? I'm a list maker. Once I figure out the problems in my book, based off of my beta readers/crit partners feedback, I write everything I need to fix down. I start with the major things first. Like, scene cutting, character cutting, re-writing a scene or two and any plot problems. Once I get those taken care of, I move on to smaller things like doing a search for "just" , "was", "even" ... and deleting half of them. Those are my problem words, FYI. :) I tweak sentences, add more character thoughts, make sure my dialogue is okay, etc.

Each time I finish something, I cross it off my list. I LOVE crossing things off my lists. It makes me feel like I'm actually getting somewhere.

Once I'm finished editing, I have a few more betas read. They catch any leftover mistakes, and once I get their feedback back, I go over things one or two more times. Then I'm usually ready to query or whatever. Well, I think I'm ready to query, even though no one is ever really ready for that, you know? :)

What is your editing process like?

28 comments:

Tobi Summers said...

I'm starting to realize I write a lot like I took the SATs. I do the easy stuff first, then go back and do the harder questions. Editing for me is the harder questions.

I like to do the list method too, though this time it degenerated into a complete rewrite of the WIP. And since that's the farthest I've gotten so far... But yeah, after this I plan to let some more people read it, get some more feedback and eventually get down to just the copyediting (which I'm very much looking forward to actually).

Meredith said...

That sounds a lot like my editing process! I try to get the story out, and then I make a list of all the big things I need to change. Sometimes I end up cutting almost half of my writing and rewriting it. Fun times!

Kyra Lennon said...

I edit in a very similar way, and I kind of enjoy it. I am BRUTAL when it comes to cutting scenes, but it makes me happy to know that the overall story will be better without them. It isn't as much fun when a scene I love has to be taken out though!

Angela Brown said...

I can say that your editing process sounds a lot like my own. A list is very helpful when editing. Especially since I DON'T like editing.

At all.

David P. King said...

I love editing! It's my favorite part. It's getting the words down the first time around that drags my feet. I guess I just like taking raw work and making it shiny! :)

Jolene Perry said...

I make lists WHILE I'm writing - like if I change something and I know it needs to be changed earlier, or if I find a way to tie in a new thread, I'll make a note.

And yes - LOVE crossing off those changes!

Rebecca Belliston said...

I personally love editing. Weird, I know. But I'm a horrible first drafter, so I enjoy fixing things (or pretending like I'm fixing things). Overall though, I consider myself a tweaker. Pushing things in the right direction. Hopefully.

Small Town Shelly Brown said...

I'm with you on not being a fan of editing. I like things that have had a good editing but the process feels so tedious. I know, I must grow-up some day ;)

This was helpful to see how you do it. Thanks

Jessica R. Patch said...

I actually enjoy editing, but I like the freedom of simply writing the first draft.

I cover plot issues first, then I move on to smaller things. Much like you do! After I get all that done, I do a search on over-used words and phrases and fix those! :)

Have a great week!

S.P. Bowers said...

I don't know if I have a "process" yet. During early drafts I make notes while I write then go back and fix it in the next round. Mid drafts I print it out read it and scribble all over it then go fix it. Polish passes I try to go over it so slowly, giving each word, comma, and question mark my complete attention. Those passes are hard, and kinda boring. Shhh, don't tell anyone I said that.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I never minded editing.

I tend to do it in sections. I had write everything first, then I go back and enter it into the computer. Much changes during that part, including major scenes, dialogue and plot. Then I print it out and go over it again several times. Repeat that. At least five times. Usually by the time I am satisfied, I've gone through the whole thing 100 times.

Angela Cothran said...

I edit in a few passes. First time through I fix plot holes. Second time get rid of filler words and "was" verbs. Third characterization. Then I tighten everything by cutting words. I know there is more, but I can't remember. Editing is traumatic :)

J. A. Bennett said...

A list, huh? That is a GREAT idea!

J.L. Campbell said...

Draining is a good way to describe editing. When I begin to feel exhausted by it, that's when I know I'm coming close to the end.

Lynn(e) Schmidt said...

I loathe edits. Round one, I do by myself, and that's okay because it's really bulking up the story. But when I send to betas and they're like "You missed this" I'm like "Maybe I want to start a new project and slack off..."

M.J. Fifield said...

I make lists too and crossing things off them is so my favorite part of editing. Otherwise, I hate it all.

Leigh Covington said...

I think my process is going to be similar to yours. My story is such a mess right now, but I just want to get it out and done. Then I'm going to go back through each chapter - make notes of what I need to fix, cross them off the list when done then out to betas again! lol. I'm glad I have you to help me learn the ropes along the journey. LOVE IT!

Peggy Eddleman said...

Wait, what? Didn't you see me jumping up and down waving my hands when you asked about who likes revising? That crickets sound was just my ringtone when my kids call (seriously).

I'm a list maker, too. I make a list of all the big things, edit, then go through all the notes from my writing group and make sure I've fixed everything. Then I go through it again and work on something specific, like a certain character arc. Then again for something else. A dozen times later, one more time just to make sure every single sentence is as concise as it can be.

JEFritz said...

That's a lot like my process--almost exactly! I make a list of the problems, notes from beta readers, words I should get rid of...It's getting a little eerie.

Kelley said...

I like editing actually. I make lists which I usually get from my CPs or while I read through it.

Kate said...

I do my editing almost exactly the same way you do. Oh the sweet power of the list.

I also go through the document and add *** and an explanation in bold letters wherever I need a big change. This way I can do a quick search for *** and hop directly to the spot that needs editing. It's a great way to cruise through editing.

Nancy said...

I love lists or I should say I love crossing things off lists. I am not a fan of editing but am glad when it is finished. Unlike so much of my stuff that still needs to go through the process.

Patti said...

I try to get the story right first and then work on the little stuff. No use fixing sentences that might not stay there.

Shallee said...

Um, I'm actually raising my hand...I love editing! I love being able to go back to what I've written and making it what I really meant to say.

I've gone through a lot of trial and error with my process, but I'm a big list-maker too. I also like to re-outline. I usually go into each subplot and outline it to make sure I'm not missing anything. I even go through and make sure my main points line up with the write plot points. And sometimes I do a whole draft just to fix a character...

It's a lot of work, basically. :)

K.S. Lewis said...

Making a list like that sounds like an amazing idea! So much more organized than my method.

I take things one chapter at a time, completing each one before moving onto the next. Then I go back and look at dialogue. Then I go back and look at tenses (my weakness). Then I go back and look at it chapter by chapter, again. Repeat until I think if I make any more changes I'll overwork it.

I make myself sound organized, but it often doesn't feel that way, haha. I should jot these things down in a nice list, because I love stuff like that.

Stacy Henrie said...

Since I'm usually adding words when I edit, I write down what happens in each chapter and print it out. Then I figure out where to plug the new scenes or background stuff in to what I already have.

Samantha said...

Um are we twins?


Because I do the exact same thing O.o

Melanie said...

I love the idea of making a list and then fixing one thing at a time. I'm editing right now and feeling a bit overwhelmed with knowing what to work on next.

I make lists in every other part of my life. This makes sense to me.

Thanks!