My Love/Hate Relationship with Editing

Do you find writing difficult? For me, I can’t write until I’m in the mood and can remove any resistance to sitting down in front of the computer. When inspiration has left the room or my vision isn’t coming along as I envisioned, I just need to step away and focus on something else. Only then can I open my creative mind; only then do the words flow.

Jump ahead. . .

You’ve crafted the tale. What’s next?

The Editing Process – Round One

While a “Must Do” process, I admit that I have always been somewhat intimidated, but the four-letter word – EDIT. However, all writers must come to terms with both the creation and editing process.

For me, editing is far longer than storytelling. Just as I can’t write until I’m in the mood, I can’t edit a manuscript until I remove all the obstacles – a much more arduous task to achieve. That was until I realized that I needed to simply break it down into chunks.

My first step in editing is to look at plot structure.

Do I have a strong beginning? Have I adequately developed the characters? Does the conflict rise throughout and peak with a dynamite climax? Does it have a solid resolution? I don’t worry about grammatical errors or even if I have the “right word” at this point. My first editing is strictly checking for “good solid structure.”

Next, I go back through my manuscript, looking at each “scene.” Are they necessary and effective? Are they powerful, and do they flow together?

Now it is time to look for those overused words (when in creative mode, I focus more on getting words on the page than the “right adjective”). What words can I delete, such as “very,” or what word can be replaced with a synonym, such as “important.” This is a tedious process, but I find it more manageable by using the “find” feature on the computer to search for the most common words I know I tend to overuse.

Next, I check for grammatical and punctuation errors, even though I admittedly rely heavily on my editor.

Finally, I give it one more review before sending it off to my editor.

Editing Process – Round Two

The second round of editing consists of going over my editor’s comments and making any necessary changes.

Lastly, I give the manuscript one final pass for anything I might have missed – typically this is minor tweaking and a few grammar or punctuation errors.

I will never love the editing process, but I remind myself how much I appreciate the benefits when my vision is transformed into a well-edited novel with an appealing cover, ready for publication.

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