I’m in the middle of editing. I seem to spend a great deal of time worrying about the right tone, getting rid of my crutch words (very, must, actually, glimpsed) and figuring out what’s missing in my story.
For me there are multiple layers of editing. I do get caught up in line editing before it’s really necessary. I’ve been trying to figure out if that’s avoidance of the bigger picture or if that’s just (crutch word) where my head goes.
I’d like to start a discussion on how you edit. Mine goes like this.
I write on the computer. I have friends who don’t. They use pens and paper and then input their material onto the computer for transmission to agents and editors. I get that. The feel of the pencil or pen in hand creates a communication with the mind and the paper. I love to do that with notes I keep. Yet, when it comes to really putting the prose on the paper, so to speak, I need the computer.
But, it’s not done there. I have trouble correcting and editing on the computer. I print out everything. I should donate to the Preservation Society to replace the forests I have decimated with my need to create hard copy.
I edit on paper. I edit in colors. Red for needed tension. Blue for corrections of grammar or punctuation. Plain old pencil for comments to the author. After the stack of paper looks tattered and slightly dog-eared, I’m ready to go back to the computer and start the unpleasant task of inputting my comments. Of course they end up changing yet again as I hit the keys.
A new print out follows. A new hard copy read, many times out loud to my Golden Retrievers who listen with rapt attention. Rhythm, cadence, pacing. I try and hear all of that. Sometimes I even get it right.
Then, the changes begin all over. Yesterday I realized I had the same scene written in two tones, in the first quarter of the book and then again much later. Over writing! And, over editing.
I am a huge believer in trying to get it right. There is nothing worse than reading something with errors of detail, errors of grammar, and errors of plotting. Did she really jump out of the window when she was sitting across the room? Yup, I’ve done that before and thankfully caught it.
Having said that, maybe getting the writing on the page (or screen) is really what we are about. Changing it and making it perfect is absolutely important. Not to be compromised. Yet, as it has been said many times, “It’s difficult to fix a blank page.”
Jump in. How do you edit? What is your process?