After almost a month of editing during all my free time I must say it is b-r-u-t-a-l! Absolutely, BRUTAL and nearly not as fun as writing. Tabs, post-its, red pens and blue pens have all been my friend and even with all that I still took extra notes on the side.
I feel like I am back in University working on my thesis or something, literally sitting for hours, re-reading and re-reading sections a number of times. I love it still (on some level) don’t get me wrong, but it is nothing like the writing process which consisted of late nights at Starbucks and giddy typing.
I would advise you to set aside the time and dedicate that time to editing, not only because it helps to be organized but because you’ll need it to be distraction free. The first read through was somewhat easy because I was mostly watching for grammar and spelling during this time however I also earmarked pages for plot issues, weak flow of story and overall consistency which I went back to after inputting the grammar/spelling corrections. It was when I had to go back to make these major corrections that it became exhausting. Grammar and spelling (I also did some formatting according to Amazons’ Create space instructions) is difficult in itself more so because it’s simply tiring to stare at a screen and go back and forth from hard-copy to the screen for hours. The other issues were difficult because they took major thought and some flipping back and forth through the book. I would start at 10 a.m. and turn around to see it was now 4 p.m.
I also applied a few fiction writing tips I’ve picked up during my research in the past year – for instance, don’t mention a character or major plot occurrence without addressing it again further along. That’s just irritating for readers and a waste of space.
A few other tips for editing:
- Know when it’s time to walk away – don’t push yourself while editing to keep going on if you’re tired – you’ll just start second guessing yourself
- See what works for you, tabs, post-its etc. try it all! I also used Google Keep to make lists of edits.
- Make sure you created a master list of characters including their names and how they are related (you should have created this when you were writing in the first place)
- Print it out to edit. Old-school as it is, it’s easier to edit something that is not on the screen – I printed mine for about 55 bucks at Staples (I’m sure you could get this done for cheaper somewhere else)
- Try not to edit during a short commute or randomly on your tablet – unless you have a suburb memory and OCD type tendencies. If you don’t have at least 30 to 45 minutes, there’s no use really. Like I mentioned before I would read on my Samsung and make short notes on the Google Keep but I honestly think if it weren’t for my OCD this would be extremely challenging – you forget stuff easily or can get mixed up. It’s better to just set aside time and find a place to sit and be quiet with your book.
It scares me to think I’ll have to do this all over again once my editor is done with it! I’m hoping by then though that I will have a long enough break from it. I hope.
Photos: Image courtesy of digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net