People don’t talk about editing as much as writing. I know a lot of people hate this part, but important and a difficult skill to master.
Just like writing, approaches to editing seem to be as individual. Some people edit as they go, take what they worked on the day before, and edit it before proceeding to the next part. Some people work on one piece at a time and produce something polished in one session because they incorporate the editing into the writing.
I have to leave the editing until the story is done or I’ll get too bogged down with worry. I’m also a refiner. I like to do multiple passes, because I tend to focus on one aspect of the story at a time. Word choice comes last.
There’s usually one point I get to where every story ‘clicks’. It’s a bit like digging through dirt, and finding a little bit of gold beneath the surface. The click is when things get exciting again, I see the potential, the true story beneath, and I can’t wait to get the story done so that I can share it with someone.
Editing a novel has been a challenge mainly due to scope. There are so many details to remember and sort through, and threads to pull through to the end, it can be daunting to keep track of them all. It’s a lot of words to go through again, and again, and again – but it just has to be done. Every time I know I’m getting closer.
I’ve also discovered the benefits of doing a quick pass. Going through the printed page has made it so much easier to spot mistakes. The speed also makes it easier to identify the flow of the story. It’s much more like a reading experience than a writing one.
Honestly, I was worried a few weeks ago because even after 4 drafts, I hadn’t seen the gold in the mud yet. It usually takes me no more than 4, but every story is different. I needed a little faith to persist, but I’m finally at the point where I’ve seen the glitter. There’s still a whole lot of work to do but I’m getting there. I’ll be done with the paper by the end of the weekend, and then I’ll have to type in all the changes. This is the last stretch!
Do you have any editing tips you’d like to share? How to you manage revisions?