It’s a hobby of mine to read how other people edit. I know, it’s a strange hobby, but I do enjoy it so. And you sometimes pick up on some cool ideas. Like when I went to TeacherWriter‘s blog via Novel Girl‘s website (yes, I know I am finally discovering other writer’s sites) and TeacherWriter mentioned using AutoCrit to find redundant words and phrases. Hats off to you, TeacherWriter!
Anyhow, I thought I would describe how I edit. It isn’t the smartest strategy, but it is for me. I copy-edit on my first run-through, meaning I nitpick on commas, misspelled words, improper use of punctuation, and whatever other nits there are to sort out. This is not industry (or other writer) recommended, because then I go through and decide what to keep and what not to keep, which means I throw a good hunk of the work I just did out the window.
See, for me it is worth the cost, because I have this lovely tendency to only see “teh” the first time, and all other times I see it as “the”. When it goes on its merry way to wherever, I think I have solved all the nits, but in reality I have sent off a glimmering piece of writing with the occasional web-speak inserted in all the wrong places. Maybe I don’t do it with “teh”, that one is pretty obvious, but what about all those words who are nearly alike but for one letter, such as though and through?
I do have a small circle of critiquers, but I have this horrible tendency to do exactly as I just did yesterday. I took the last chapter, and set it aside. I took my chapter four, and set it aside. I took the two second-to-last (of the new last) chapters, and stuck them in the slots Chapters 7 and 8 used to be in. I have every confidence this new arrangement will work out better. It was the original placement before I decided against it. So, the one person I was having critique chapters 1-7 will now have to re-read some of them. Because I can’t stand to leave a project alone when I see a better way to do it.
Now, I have a plan ahead of me: I will go through my printed novel one more time, this time to take out what I feel needs it. I will also logic-edit the rearranged chapters for continuity in the new timeline. As well, I have a 3-step idea for emphasizing my style and making the story pop. I have yet another plan, this one is organizational and not skill-based.
I am going to make a folder on my desktop, and in that folder each one of my chapters shall have their own, separate file. This is so I can work faster. Ever scroll through a 200-page document looking for that one line in Chapter 13 that needs fixing? Yeah, it is amazing how fast one can become lost and disoriented in a sea of words. Be sure to read NovelGirl’s 10 Commandments of Editing, they are so true.
Writing is a journey, and if you are reading this, congratulations on being on this fine adventure with me.
Your Dearest Nicolette