Author Topic: Editing is soooooo different than writing...  (Read 550 times)  

Offline Mip7

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Editing is soooooo different than writing...
« on: October 15, 2020, 11:23:46 am »
First draft: 79,250 words.

First edit: Hey I did pretty good job (after all, I give each chapter an edit upon completion). This is pretty much just polish and I can send to the proofreader soon. Word count after first edit: 79,100 words.

Second edit: Hmm. Missed a lot of issues. Overused phrases and words outta here. Was way to elaborate saying a lot of simple things. Chop it, rewrite, chop some more. I gotta stop drinking when editing. Word count down to 78,300.

Third edit: This is looking pretty good now. How did I miss these typos the last two times? Mostly polish and almost ready for the proofreader. Word count down to 78,100.

Fourth edit: Wow, I am the worst writer on the planet. This is terrible! How did all this crap get by me three or four times? Massive rewriting and cutting. Word count down to 77,400.

Fifth edit: Sigh. More polishing than hoping was still required, but I just can't go through it again. Off to the proofreader with a final word count of 77,100.

So my published author's voice is something found on the fourth edit, it seems. Changing from a writer's eyes to an editor's is a gradual process for me. In my opinion you cannot hire this process out without giving your voice to another, and if you aren't doing this you are not producing the quality works you are capable of. (Not that there's anything wrong with that -- sacrificing quality for fast production is necessary for income and a viable business plan. I make my primary income elsewhere, and want my full potential sitting on the table in the church courtyard at my funeral.)
« Last Edit: October 15, 2020, 01:39:38 pm by Mip7 »
Romans 10:13

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    Online Decon

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    Re: Editing is soooooo different than writing...
    « Reply #1 on: October 15, 2020, 01:16:20 pm »
    I know the feeling. These days I'm more obsessive since I started writing again after a 2 year break.

    I edit as I go daily, with spell check and grammar on to pick up mistakes as I type. I also use text to speach multiple times during the day.

    Text to speach picked out a good one today. I had dingy instead of dinghy for a boat which passed spell test obviously. It also highlights often used words within a chapter, making them more glaring when listening

    The real editing starts with a sort of development edit when I'm finished, to make sure what I've written say elicits suspense in chapter scenes and is not simply mundane, plot progression is paced right, have I got the inciting incident in the right place, is my mid-point on target, character development and arcs over the story, is there backstory I can cut out, etc, etc.

    Then it's back to spelling and grammar check, especially capitlsation which I'm crap at however many times I research the subject. Then multiple reads through with text to speach. And finally a hononym check for the usual suspects through word search.

    I reckon if I had to add it all up, it would amount to 20 passes or more before I'm satisfied, but then I have plenty of time to devote to both editing and writing with no distractions.
    « Last Edit: October 15, 2020, 01:53:27 pm by Decon »


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    Offline Usedtoposthere

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    Re: Editing is soooooo different than writing...
    « Reply #2 on: October 15, 2020, 03:56:54 pm »
    I edit as I go, spending at least half the day editing.The final version is pretty much final other than proofreading. I've always been this way, and 30+ long books in, I have even less to do at the end. Everybody has their own process, though.

    Offline Bite the Dusty

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    Re: Editing is soooooo different than writing...
    « Reply #3 on: October 15, 2020, 08:21:10 pm »
    I edit as I go, spending at least half the day editing.The final version is pretty much final other than proofreading. I've always been this way, and 30+ long books in, I have even less to do at the end. Everybody has their own process, though.

    Quick question: do you write your words for half the day, then edit them during the other half, or really as you go? I wrote for a while where every couple paragraphs I'd go back and reread the whole thing, tweaking and adding and deleting as I went. I was in school, so this was a very slow process.

    Offline Usedtoposthere

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    Re: Editing is soooooo different than writing...
    « Reply #4 on: October 15, 2020, 08:36:07 pm »
    Quick question: do you write your words for half the day, then edit them during the other half, or really as you go? I wrote for a while where every couple paragraphs I'd go back and reread the whole thing, tweaking and adding and deleting as I went. I was in school, so this was a very slow process.
    Both. I write rather slowly, rewording a lot, and then I go through and edit what I wrote. The next day, I edit the last two or three days' work again, especially the previous day's. And then I write the new chapter.

    It's not that slow. I produce 2,000 fully edited words a day, or thereabouts, during the earlier parts of the book, and 4,000-7,500 towards the end. Yesterday was 4,000+. But this is my job. Normally, I write 500,000-600,000 words per year. (Four or five books.)

    I write character-driven books, so I have to get the characters right to proceed. An action scene goes faster, and the end goes faster because I know the people so well. 

    Like I said--different processes for different authors. No one right way.

    Offline jb1111

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    Re: Editing is soooooo different than writing...
    « Reply #5 on: October 16, 2020, 01:46:50 am »
    Hey, it's better for you to catch those glitches and typos than the reader.... That's my philosophy on it, anyway.

    Editing is a chore, but it gives you an idea of how the reader is going to see your book. In my own case, if the story is plodding along somewhere to the point it is boring me, then it's definitely going to bore the reader, and it's time to cut, cut, cut.

    Offline Louise Bates

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    Re: Editing is soooooo different than writing...
    « Reply #6 on: October 16, 2020, 06:15:09 am »
    I remember reading an interview with a traditionally-published author who has published about a dozen books saying that her books usually have about 15 drafts each. Then you have authors on the other end of the spectrum who have the story unfold so clearly in their head before they begin to write that they need only two drafts--one to get it down, one to proofread and polish. I think most of us tend to fall between those two extremes!

    I like your point about your published author voice being distinguished from your writer voice--a good thought to keep in mind when the editing feels grim and discouraging. It's not picking apart your writing so much as it is pruning to find your author voice.
    Louise Bates, author of the Pauline Gray mysteries
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    Online MorrowWriter

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    Re: Editing is soooooo different than writing...
    « Reply #7 on: October 16, 2020, 11:34:38 am »
    Second draft is just horrible for me, a real grind. I rewrite almost every line of prose. It's a huge relief to come to a heavy dialogue section, as these are a relative breeze to edit.

    Third draft is actually a fairly enjoyable process. And by the time I'm done, the manuscript is usually good enough to go to a copy editor.

    Francis Morrow

    Offline Mip7

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    Re: Editing is soooooo different than writing...
    « Reply #8 on: October 16, 2020, 12:38:18 pm »
    I like your point about your published author voice being distinguished from your writer voice--a good thought to keep in mind when the editing feels grim and discouraging. It's not picking apart your writing so much as it is pruning to find your author voice.

    The problem is the way my brain thinks is not the same way everyone else's does. Too many Seinfeldisms and Dennis Miller style abstract references, and some new words are always getting overused, etc. I understand my own incredibly talented and artsy way I communicate, yes -- but parts of the prose can be confusing to others. It takes me several go-thrus to actually break out of the viewpoint of my own brain and look at it like a true editor. My published voice is a compromise, and the truth is I am proud of my editing skills every bit as much as my writing. It works.
    Romans 10:13

    Offline Bite the Dusty

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    Re: Editing is soooooo different than writing...
    « Reply #9 on: October 17, 2020, 08:43:17 am »
    Both. I write rather slowly, rewording a lot, and then I go through and edit what I wrote. The next day, I edit the last two or three days' work again, especially the previous day's. And then I write the new chapter.

    It's not that slow. I produce 2,000 fully edited words a day, or thereabouts, during the earlier parts of the book, and 4,000-7,500 towards the end. Yesterday was 4,000+. But this is my job. Normally, I write 500,000-600,000 words per year. (Four or five books.)

    I write character-driven books, so I have to get the characters right to proceed. An action scene goes faster, and the end goes faster because I know the people so well. 

    Like I said--different processes for different authors. No one right way.

    I'm pushing myself right now, but that sounds like a my natural rhythm, so it's nice to know it can work well. Thanks for that!

    Offline zeedaye

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    Re: Editing is soooooo different than writing...
    « Reply #10 on: Yesterday at 07:13:17 pm »
    My third draft hurt the worst, because that was a deep plot comb-through. 1 sentence at the end, would need a paragraph added in the middle and a mention at the top... It was like fixing a spiderweb strand by strand. Most OCD thing I've ever done in my life. It hurt.


    Online alhawke

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    Re: Editing is soooooo different than writing...
    « Reply #11 on: Yesterday at 09:16:04 pm »
    I used to hate editing, but now I find my revised works can sometimes be more fun to work with than my rough drafts. For one thing, it's less work than a blank page. For another, going back to prior chapters can help when I'm stuck with writer's block.

    I always have at least two major revisions done a month apart before I send a book out to editors. Taking a little time between rewrites can help too.
    « Last Edit: Yesterday at 09:18:15 pm by alhawke »


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