My Editing Process

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.

‘Till later,

Your Dearest Nicolette

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2 thoughts on “My Editing Process

  1. Hi Nicolette,
    Thanks for mentioning my blog! You know, I can see the wisdom in doing the nitpicky edits first. That gives you time to really feel, taste, and digest your story in a deeper part of your mind while you’re dealing with the little things. For some people, that’s a great way to work. If you talk to bestselling authors, they all have their own unique ways of editing. We each just have to try on the different ways until we find one that fits. At least that’s what I think.

  2. Hi TeacherWriter,
    No problem! I love to spread good words and promote people who know their stuff; the internet is full of dust and bugs, and we’ve got to share the gems out there. You’re right, everyone does a have a different way of working, and to me that is a good thing. All the better when we decide to share our procedures, because that works like one giant brainstorming session. I love diversity in all things.
    I’m glad that you dropped me a note!
    Nicolette.

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