Friday, April 8, 2011

The Joys of Editing

I'm not really a fan of editing. I guess it's sort of a letdown after the rush of finishing something. HOWEVER I am a "fan" of editing in the sense that I think it makes everything way way way better. So it's good and necessary. But it SUCKS.

Right now I'm editing The Curse Girl, my first indie project. I'm feeling especially pressured to catch all the typos and problems that normally I wouldn't be as worried about, since I'm not going to have an actual editor to help me some day before it goes out to the reading public. I'm in the thick of things right now, and as usual, I feel the tiniest bit overwhelmed because there's a sea of words and only one me.

So I wanted to ask you guys ... how do you edit? Do you read through first and then go back and change stuff? Do you break it into chunks or try to do it in one Red Bull-fueled, fell swoop? I've been all over the board with editing through the last year years, and I'm trying to come up with a solid strategy for myself.



  1. I go one chapter at a time. When I edit, I pay most of my attention to the characters -- would they actually do that, would they actually say that. I've never worried about typos, although if I see them I fix them.

    Also, and I probably shouldn't do this... I keep an eye out for "interest factor." Are things lagging, are there any lingering questions in the narrative (a good thing, for suspense). But the reason I say I shouldn't do that is it's hard to be impartial about that if you're moving so slowly through the manuscript. But I can't really HELP paying attention to this.

  2. @Jaimie About the interest factor ... I try to do that too, but by the time I'm editing I have no objectivity anymore.

  3. i go scene by sceneas. but i'll read the scene all the way through without stopping. then i'll fill out a notecard, write the significance of the chapt on the notecard, which storyline is dealt with, how much action is involved (everything is color coded) then i put all the notecards together in order and check out the composition of the novel as a whole. are different storylines spread out throughout the whole thing, is the romance evenly distributed, do i have a huge chunk or more bland scenes. does every scene have a purpose? is pacing kept up to speed? etc. then i'll make necessary adjustments. then i'll go through and do more line edits. then i send it out to a critter. then i apply their advice. then i line edit some more.. and more and crit and again and again... and i never finish! but! if you're going to go indie- i TOTALLY suggest hiring a professional editor. the number one complaint about indie books that i have seen is that they are poorly edited. it's extremely difficult to catch all of your own mistakes. and find a good editor. i remember reading one indie book the author claimed was edited- but man alive! there were so many mistakes it drove me nuts! and those kinds of things don't bother me all that much. i know that it costs money to hire an editor- but as far as investments go, i believe it will be worth it. anyway, do what's best for you! i'm rooting for you kate!

  4. Hmm...I do it on a chapter by chapter basis. First I read over the chapter, make any changes I notice or glaring revisions, then I put it into reading software (or read it aloud myself) and catch the last of the mistakes that way.

    Really, the reading aloud rule works in catching little things like if it flows well or not. Best thing I can recommend is running it by a few trusted people so you're not the only pair of eyes critically examining it and get a second opinion on whether it's done or not.

  5. @Vic The note cards idea is great! I'll have to try that!

  6. @BET I have a handful of betas that I always use. I definitely need extra sets of eyes giving me feedback!


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