It’s Time to Edit, Let’s Run for the Hills

It is getting to that time of the writing process when I once again need to start changing the hat from writer to reader. That;s right, I am preparing to edit. As with many writers I know, the mere word, edit, is enough to make us cringe, suck our thumbs and crawl under the desks. Or to coin a British image, to put underpants on our head, pencils up our nose and cry Wibble. (Please enjoy the video at the end of this post.)

I have read a lot of articles on editing, and the main thing I notice is this…. they are all the same. Strip away the filling, and they all boil down to a few basic points.

– Remove the grammar errors

– Round out any plot holes

– either add or remove descriptions (depending on how flowery you were in the first draft)

– ensure correct pacing

I know, this is nothing new, but then again, when it comes to finalizing the written word, what is new?

The reason for this post is not to outline the editing process, or to give a list of do’s and dont’s. Nor, is it just a good excuse to share one of my favorite Blackadder moments. (honest… really.)

The reason for the post is to ask a question.

How do you edit? Do you go through your manuscript once for each bullet point you have listed? Do you just go through and tackle it all in one go? Do you read the whole manuscript through without so much as looking at a red pen?

Me, I tend to go through twice, once to iron out the plot holes, characters and pacing, in one go, as I find they often go hand in hand. Then I leave it to rest, only for a week or so. I then go through and check the grammar. Finally I cheat make use of the resources that are available and have the whole things checked for grammar one more time by a professional.

I understand that there is no secret formula to editing, there is no single simple answer to this stage of the writing process, and no do I hope to stumble across one. I am simply eager to hear how others approach this stage of the game.

For some reason I cannot directly upload the video I reference above, but here is the link to it. It cracks me up every time.


6 thoughts on “It’s Time to Edit, Let’s Run for the Hills

  1. So far, I wonder if my editing process is cheating. I basically just rewrite at this point! Every rewrite is a chance to polish the writing and the craft, and, eventually, I’ll have polished it to a perfect glean, do one last editing where everything’s where I want it so all I have to do is look for the technicalities, and there you have it, I may one day have a book.

    With short stories, I just reread and tweak, though, which is probably a bit more typical. So far, with most of my editing just being rewriting, I actually enjoy editing quite a bit.

    However you go about doing it, Alex, I hope your editing goes well.

    1. Re-writing is certainly an interesting approach. It gives you the chance to work out everything in one go. The only problem with me doing that is I am never happy, so I would permanently be re-writing, changing this or tweaking that.

      Thanks for dropping by.

  2. “Not to worry sir, I have a cunning plan!” Ha ha as if you referenced Blackadder, classic!

    Great post by the way. I do the same with my editing. I read through the MS, then reread my edit, and then usually go through it once more to check grammar. It depends on how much I add or subtract in terms of descriptive text.

    Oh, and your title made me think of an Iron Maiden song for some reason…!

    1. Blackadder is the best. I love that series. Too many great moments to choose from. You style does sound a lot like mine. What’s written is written, then its tidying up a few bits then grammar. I don’t want to get caught up in changing the storyline itself. I am never happy anyway, so if I went down that path I would never get it done. The plot of draft one is the plot. Editing is just tidying it up.

  3. ACK! EDITING!! Haha

    Okay, I do something I probably shouldn’t do, but I do my first edits as I write. I write a few chapters, then go back and edit. Repeating the process until I finish the book. Then I step away from the MS for about a week. Read the whole thing from start to finish and examine everything – grammar, plot holes, etc. Then I send it to my CP. He rips it up and sends back his comments. I either agree or disagree with him and make any additional changes. Then I step away from it for a week again. When I come back to it, I read the entire MS out loud. And I am always amazed at how much more I find when I “hear” the story.

    Then I cheat and run the MS through software programs for any additional typos, etc. Then it’s off to Betas and then done. Which is the phase I’m at now. So I’m in the puking and “Oh my God, I’m really going to do this” stage. ha. Which is the stage, for me, that comes after editing.

    GREAT post, as always!

    1. Thank you Lisa. While I don’t do that at the moment, I do think I will start. I like the idea of editing as you go. Write in the morning edit in the afternoon or something of that ilk. Granted I have no crit partner or beta’s but the concept remains that same. Cartinaly something for me to think about for my future work.
      Thank you so much for stopping by.

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