Here we are, another month, another theme. This month, we’re talking about a writing topic you either love or hate. It’s editing. Like I said…
I really enjoy editing. It gives m a chance to combine some of my favorite things, organization, creativity, and anal retentiveness. It can also be terrifyingly intimidating if you don’t have too much practice, and when you’re looking at a huge project like a novel.
There’s a lot that goes into editing. You write your first draft all by yourself, with no external input. Editing is when you start letting other people in. You do the research, get other people to read your work. You run through red pens and coffee. You think over, and re-think every word you wrote. I often think of editing as taking my rough draft, which is a giant lump of wood, and using a chainsaw to cut it into shape. I’ll use smaller tools to get it closer and closer to what I want, until finally I’m going over the whole damn thing with sandpaper.
This month we’ll break down step by step how to edit your novel, what you’ll need, and go over some of the trickiest parts of editing fiction. Stick with us this month as we take our work and rip it down so that we can build it back up again, better than it ever was.
By the way, I don’t think I’ll mention this anywhere else, so let me say it here. One of the best tips I ever learned about editing is from Steven King’s On Writing. Don’t start editing your work right away. Give yourself some time, at least six weeks. Work on something entirely different, so when you come back to it, your manuscript feels like someone else’s work. This makes it easier to edit clinically, not emotionally.
So buy some red pens, print out your manuscript, and get ready to make it better than it’s ever been.