Editing

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Edits kill me.  If I could write the perfect manuscript right off the bat, I’d be a happy, happy girl.  But that, of course, is not to be.  So I find myself, again, in the middle of the editing process.  

 Why does editing distress me so?  Well because by the time I’m editing, that first rush of passion is over.  In my head, the book is done, so my motivation is rapidly moving elsewhere, toward the next new idea, a new character a new something.  But instead of being free to embrace all this newness, I’m in the past, editing the manuscript I’ve finished.  

 Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand the need for a solid editing process (and if you’re lucky a solid editor). Re-reading and editing are what produce the change from a good manuscript to an excellent manuscript.  In fact, with this latest manuscript, it will change the entire ‘vibe’ of the book.

 I write, you see, most naturally in third person, past tense.  Some time ago though, a wonderful mentor explained to me that tweens and their older counterparts, teens, prefer to read in first person.  So I changed the manuscript to first person (a process that wasn’t nearly as simple as I’d first thought it would be).  Now, I find myself changing it from past to present tense.  Why?  Because for this particular manuscript, the story feels more ‘immediate’ and spontaneous when written in the present tense.

 Being who I am, and hating, as I do, the editing process, to begin with I changed just the first chapter; hoping against hope that the changes would make no difference.  I was wrong.  The switch from past to present made as big a difference as changing from third to first person.  A good, positive, BIG difference.  

 Now I’m doing deals with myself.  A chapter of change, followed by something fun.  A chapter of change then a piece of chocolate.  You get the picture right?

 The other good thing to arise from this editing process is the new scenes.  New scenes aren’t editing really.  They’re still new and fresh and exciting.  I find myself thrilled with the way the new scenes provide new angles and understandings.  LOL…I also love the way they loosen up my thought process!

So here I am blogging (something nice) then it’s one more chapter of editing before dinner (another something nice!).  If you have any advice on a better way to tackle this whole editing process, please let me know.  If not, just wish me luck!

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11 responses »

  1. I use the AutoCrit Editing Wizard. It saves me a ton of that boring read-thru time. You can try it for free, so check it out.

    • OMG! There’s something called Autocrit??? You see? You learn something new everyday. I will most certainly be trying that out!

  2. Why thank you Ma’am, it’s coming along quite nicely, and yesterday was a whole new scene (rather than constant rehashing), so that made me very happy!

  3. Hmm, well it’s June now. I hope you’re done with the editing! lol. Do you proofread during this strenuous editing too? If so, to what extent?

    • Hi Lauren, I do proofread as much as I can (it’s not my strength). When I’m done with adding bits and pieces, working on character consistency, elaborating on the plot etc, I’ll send it off to my favourite crit. partner. She’s the proofreading queen. We do it using ‘track changes’ so I can see what she’s done and either agree or disagree (she’s American so sometimes there are discrepancies caused by our different worlds). Then after one more read, it’ll be ready for me to send off to a slush pile somewhere (sigh…best not to think about that yet).

  4. That’s pretty cool that you have a crit partner. I’m assuming the discrepancies arise because you’re British?

    And yes, Track Changes (or Open Office’s Changes) is awesome.

    Your post was interesting to me because I’m in the process of starting an editing/proofreading service, so an insight into an author’s process is useful. ^_^

    • I’m Australian (but yes, use British spellings for most things) and my crit. partner is American and you’re right, she is pretty cool. I like having her read and comment on my work because if I ‘lose’ her, I’ll definitely confuse or lose someone who doesn’t read my work regularly. Also, she’s nice and blunt which is what I need. In addition, she tells me when I get something right, so her comments are often equal parts criticism, praise and suggestions. Good luck with your new endeavour, proofing and commenting on someone else’s work is such a responsibility!

  5. Lol, yeah that’s the scary part, but I think I’ll do fine.

    I stick to just criticism and editing when I edit/proofread but I think I will start pointing out the things I like too. Thanks! I have thought of this before but the desire to keep it professional drove it away. I think friendly beats professional though.

    Good luck with your story!

    • I think you can make positive comments and still be professional. After all what you like is based on a sound professional understanding of writing and publishing. You’ll be great.

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