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This blog is my diary of works in progress. The only way a writer can improve upon her skill is to practice, practice and practice some more. Here, in this place of quiet peace, I pen to paper my thoughts and creativity. Welcome to my world.

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Editing... the hardest part of writing!

 I love to write. Sometimes the words just flow out of me like water out of a fountain when my muse is tickled. But the hardest part of the writing process, which happens to be the most important part of the writing process, is the editing.

When it comes to editing my work, I absolutely hate it. I can manage somewhat with spell check and the occasional grammar check but the nitty gritty of checking for flow and consistency, point of view, voice and word choice, I mean really, what makes a word unnecessary?

One of my picture book manuscript is driving me nuts! For one, I am having a hard time deciding what is essential to the story and what needs to be cut out to make it meet its word count without losing my story. To me, all of the words are important or at least I think they are. When can I use modifiers, adjectives, adverbs, and descriptive nouns; how do I use dialogue that is not disguised as info dumps or conversation fillers.

One of the best things in the world is to have a second (third or fourth) pair of eyes to go over a manuscript. They are so important! They catch all of the little things (the really important things that a publisher would cringe at) that my eyes have become familiar to and therefore do not see.

If I am ever going to get anywhere with my manuscripts, I will need to step up my editing game. I foresee some editing classes, even if they are online, in my future!

How do you feel about editing your own work? What tips can you share with us that you have tried and really worked for you?


Unknown said...

I have to have a written copy of my work before I can make any changes. Sleeping on it often helps too, so I feel like I'm looking with fresh eyes.

Another pair of educated eyes is the best thing too. But I'm a scientific writer, so most of the time I don't have anyone else in my field to help me edit. The eyes have to know what they are looking for!

Patricia Lynne said...

I'm with on you editing. It can be tricky and I often procrastinate when it's time to edit a story. Eventually, I suck it up and get to work and the story is always better for it.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Don't hate me, but that's my favorite part. I struggle to get the first draft on paper. Once there, I can see it better.
I begin with a list of things that need more description, focus, or emphasis. Often my subplots need more work. I'll start going through the manuscript, adding these elements, and correcting bad wording and grammar. (Can't help it - that stuff bugs me.) I also do a search and destroy on my pet words, and too much passive or words with ly or ing.
After that it's a test reader who excels at dialog, another round of edits, and then to my critique partners.
Hey, I think that is the longest comment I have ever written!

Ms Saba (aka Teacher007.5) said...

Oh Alex, I'm so jealous! I wish editing would come easier for me!

Patricia, procastination is my middle name! I think it stems from my fear of editing! But fears are meant to overcome right?!?

Wow, Rose, that must really be hard not having someone who can be your second pair of educated of eyes! I do feel like sleeping on my story does help a bit, just a bit though. :)

Thanks guys! I really needed this!

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

I feel your editing pain. It IS hard! I agree with Rose - it's helpful to print it out. And I also like to step away for a while. When the story is done, I try not to look at it for a at least a few days, preferably a couple weeks, before going back to it. A little distance seems to help. But having a critique partner or group can really be great here. They will see things you miss. And since the story didn't start in their head like it did in yours, they will find places where you haven't been clear, or where you may have assumed too much.

Craig Wiesner said...

I always find it helpful to set a word count goal after I've done a first full draft. That makes me go through with an eye towards shortening and in that process I find lots of other things to make better. Then, I have to have someone else go over things. I can NOT be the only editor of my own work. I have a few friends who love editing so I don't always have to pay!

Juliana L. Brandt said...

I've always had a hard time with editing, except with this most recent MS. Every time I go in for another round, I can feel how much better it's getting. It makes it rewarding. I absolutely know I couldn't do it without my CPs though.

Nicole said...

Editing and managing word counts are sooo tricky! Good luck.

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